Hi all, I had a 4.7mm aneurysm treated with coils and a stent in late October. I am doing fine, and I hesitated to post especially after reading many of the stories here. But I still have these questions and anxiety following me around. My surgeon (who I think is great) says I can carry on with life as usual now since my 2-week follow up. After a 6-month healing period I’ll need a follow up angiogram. Ten days after surgery I had the worst headache of my life (I have lifelong severe migraines, and those are nothing compared to that one) and went to the ER. I sat there for hours until they did a CT with contrast, said the coils and stent were fine, and sent me on my way.
Present status is good, I feel good, often have a dull headache but haven’t had any bad ones. Early on I had some mixed up words and visual things, but nothing since the last few weeks, thank heavens. I tire very easily.
I wanted to ask about this “healing period” and what is okay to do and what not to do. Is bending and lifting heavy things okay? Sneezing with gusto (;-))? Drying my hair with my head bent over? Also, I feel, for the lack of a better word, fragile. Like my house of cards will collapse at any moment. I don’t actively think about any of this, but it’ll pop into my head. I know I am so fortunate the aneurysm was found and could be fixed.
Thanks for reading and any advice. Anita in CO
Sounds to me as things are travelling along OK. From my experience all of those post op symptoms sound fairly normal ie tiredness, the dull headache, word mix ups. You ask about ‘what to do and what not to do?’
Me, personally, Ive required a few neurosurgeries and none of my recoveries have been the same, so gauging/comparing one against another is near on impossible. The best advice I can give is: Listen to your own body. It will tell you when you’re reaching your limits. Those initial signs can be subtle, but if you ignore them, they can progress and progress. Not what you want. That ‘Healing Period’ is all theory. For some that healing can be miraculous. For some it can take a bit longer and then for others there can be lingering issues. The external wound can be all healed, but internally, that can take a while longer to settle.
I tried to ignore the ‘subtle signs’ and push on through… …Bad idea… BAD, BAD IDEA something went POP and I ended up back on the operating table. Don’t be doing that. Listen to your own body, it will tell you when enough is enough.
I too have had one of those OMG headaches, turned up to the hospital only for them to do a scan and send me on my way. BUT by the same accord, I’ve gone to hospital with an ‘OMG’ only for them to keep me in and operate the next day. When we get those ‘OMG’ headaches it can be shocking and exhausting and damn right punishing. In my humble opinion, if you feel the need to visit the ER, you do so, even if it’s just for your own peace of mind. Let’s face it, it really could be something serious. You will learn you own signs, your own limits, you just have to listen.
Merl from the Modsupport Team
Welcome again and thank you for starting a topic! Good questions, all of them! Whilst we can’t control sneezing, I laughed when my Neurosurgeon told me not to sneeze hard because of my abundance of allergies, she meant don’t t blow my nose hard. I also am not supposed to lift anything over 40 pounds. I break that rule quite frequently which upsets her. Can’t push when I’m having a bowel movement and avoid stress. Things that would dramatically raise my BP even though I’ve never had high BP with the exception of two times. Once when I did something really stupid and caused 3rd degree burns on my leg, the other time was when I ruptured and they put me on triple H therapy to keep my BP high in NSICU.
My rules for going to the ER was headache, stiff neck, nausea or vomiting. I also have to follow my Neurosurgeon’s mantra of hydration, protein, hydration, rest, more hydration. It’s served me well since I ruptured.
Please reach out and verify with your Neurosurgeon. It’s really easy if you use your portal. I imagine you’ll get a 40 pound weight limit but I don’t know. I do know that the Neurosurgeon who did my lower lumbar surgery gave me the same weight limit. I think they learn that in med school…
Please let us know what your Neurosurgeon says, it’s how we learn!
Welcome.I’m a 1 year survivor of two ruptured aneurysms. I have two titanium clips. I currently do yoga and started in 8 months after my rupture. Originally I started with chair yoga then moved into gentle yoga where of course you do a lot of bending and putting your head up and down and it went fine when I first started now I go 3 days per week.
I also started to dye my hair about 9 months after and under the hair dryer for the first time after a year,
I’m no sure if I answered some of your questions but hopefully what I remember as I was replying is good for you!
Thank you all for your responses. I already asked my surgeon these questions, and he said to go about life as normal. That just felt a bit scary. Thanks again.
Good for you! And yes it can feel scary, but for me, not living life as I want to is far more horrifying.
I had a ruptured blister annie in March of this year. They were able to coil and after 6 weeks in ICU and an internal drain/stent - I am still healing and “off work”. I am feeling good all things considered and I am very lucky to not have any lasting impacts. However, I can relate to being scared about my healing journey, headaches and more. This I think, is completely understandable and normal. I too, have had a trip to the ER after a very bad headache and vomiting only to be released two days later without any real, substantive answers.
I feel much more hyper aware of any small. hanges to my system… I think this will also start to calm down over time. I do agree that listening to your body is key, but there is a balance of getting back to normal and not concerning over every small change (which i absolutely do!)
The best advice I can give is to be patient with yourself. My hubby and close friends remind me of this - it’s easy to forget the “trauma” our bodies have endured and I am trying to be a little more patient with myself and my recovery.
Hey Anita, I have some experience. Pretty sure your on the mending path and doing fine. Usual worries and questions. JMHO - it will take a while and is not 100 percent possible but listen to the giant head Dr. and pretend ya never had nothing done. Pat yourself on the back for being proactive and getting it fixed before it ruptured assuming you didn’t rupture. I have no idea the statistics down there but i do remember in Canada 20 years ago. 1 out of 3 make it to the hospital alive and perhaps 1/3 of that make it out with no deficit. Those statistics are prolly old now. I wish you continued success. Relax. Don’t worry - be happy!
Hi Anita, I am 5+ years post pipeline stent in a 3.6cm, (36mm) unruptured aneurysm. If you really like and trust your neurosurgeon then listen to him. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you have them. Unfortunately the word mix up is still a problem with me but as for going on with my life as normal, I do it. The only thing that I was told I can’t do is go on carnival rides🙂
Forget about the What If’s,
Focus on the Positives!
Thanks so much, all of your advice is very appreciated!
I’m also in Colorado and had an unruptured aneurysm (about the same size as yours) repaired in April of this year at University of Colorado in Denver. Often I was feeling light headed - not room spinning dizzy - and a headache around one eye which had me concerned. But after I had my 6 month follow-up angiogram in October, everything looked good and I don’t have to go back for another 18 months. You’ll feel more relaxed after you get good news from the follow-up angiogram next spring. I’m still careful about yoga and low impact exercises and even bending over with my head lower than my heart, even though my team said there’s no limitations on what can do except lifting anything really heavy. My anxiety is slowly lessening and I’m starting to realize I just have to take things as they come. Good luck to you.