Brain Aneurysm Support Community

Here is a positive experience with having my aneurysm clipped. Questions welcomed

Hi everyone,

For 3 months waiting for my aneurysm clipping I anxiously peered through each and every single blog post trying to find things that didn't scare me to pieces. Thank you to some of you who answered positively to my questions. I promised myself and all those coming behind me to this blog that I would walk through the process step by step in the hopes that I can provide some comfort to those of you who are waiting for your procedures. I know a lot of you have had additional problems but I have not and I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy the procedure was. Here it is, step by step, day by day.

Day 1 - go to the hospital very early, talk to my doctor, the nurses, the anesthesiologist - visit with my family. They give me a mild sedative and wheeled me into the surgery suite. Nothing scary in there at all, just lots of smiling faces asking how I was. Absolutely no pain and no fear. I awoke in the ICU about 4 hours later, again no pain at all. I'm hooked up to a machine that is squeezing my legs every few minutes to make sure I don't get a blood clot. I'm hooked up to a couple of IV's and a blood pressure monitor - standard things for being in the hospital. My doctor said I would feel a slight feeling of fullness around the area they went in but I don't really feel anything. For the past few days I have really been stretching my neck because they have your head clamped down for so long that a lot of people get neck aches but mine is fine. They give me Hydrocodine for the pain along with a muscle relaxer every 4 hours and it works great - no pain. I have a headache for about 1/2 hour at the very end of the medicine before I can take my next dose. The headache would not even send me home from work to lie down. Just a nagging headache. My aneurysm was in the right temple area. I will post pictures at the end of the blog. My family was allowed in to the ICU room for as long as I wanted them there. I actually had my husband go sleep at our daughters - he was more exhausted than I was. No problems throughout the day or the night.

Day 2 - still no problems. Slight headache but that's it. I have about 30 or so staples in my head - still unbelievable to me that yesterday I had brain surgery and today I'm fine. I get up and wash my hair very gently with baby shampoo to start getting some of the ick washed away from it. They tell me it will take 2 - 3 shampoos to get it all clean. I can rub the area with the pads of my fingers, not my fingernails. Gosh, not sure when a shower felt that good. They release me from ICU to a regular room and I walk to my new room. The nurses are very pleased. Oh, before I forget, one of the things my nurse told me is that if I stay upright as much as possible, the swelling won't be bad and she's right. I slept upright in the bed last night - have used ice packs and I don't have much swelling. Since the aneurysm was in the right temporal lobe there is a muscle there that is very sore because they had to move it out of the way. Put your fingers at your temple and act like you are chewing - that is the muscle - they moved it out of the way and sure enough, it's very sore but I can still eat just fine. They tell me to open and close my mouth wide several times a day to stretch it back into position. Day 2, I have a few more visitors and I make a few laps around the nurses station just to get in some exercise and keep my muscles moving.

Day 3, no problems at all - the doctor is talking about releasing me tomorrow and I'm good with that. I am not having any problems at all. They tell me to get up and shower and wash my hair daily so I take another shower. Walk downstairs with my husband and sit in the sun for a bit. Feels great. Get to have my grandkids come visit and I don't even scare them which is great!!! My jaw is still store and again still a slight headache when the medicine reaches the time for me to take my next dose. I have a little bluring in my right eye because of the swelling - that's the only other symptom. No sharp piercing pains, no problems standing, nothing. Even I can't believe I've just had brain surgery.

Day 4 - get to go home. I live 3 1/2 hours away from the hospital and have no problems riding in the car. I don't like the heat, makes me a bit nauseated. My headache is back but goes away when I take my medicine. We make it home with no problems. My parents came to stay with me for a week or so and they are very happy with my progress as well. I'm going to try to attach pictures for day 1, 2 and 3 so you can see for yourself what it looks like. My head still doesn't hurt where they cut the bone out - that was one of my fears. When I feel the top of my head I know where they cut a piece out only because it feels asleep kind of. I can feel the staples with my fingers but amazingly they do not hurt! That's the main thing I was scared of was how much pain and whether I would have memory loss. Not much pain and no memory loss. I have been very blessed. Had a lot of people praying for me and I did a lot of praying as well.

Please feel free to send me any questions you have. Remember to remain positive and upbeat. I believe that a person's attitude has a lot to do with how fast they heal. Do what the doctors tell you to do - sleep upright, exercise your jaw, walk a bit to build up your strength. I know a lot of you have had complications and I do not mean to make light of those at all. I just want to let everyone know that there are people that have no problems at all and that not all aneurysm clippings are difficult or bad. Mine was fine and I am fine!!

If the pictures post, the one with the "feathers" in my hair is day one - the "feathers" were to soak up any seepage (but there wasn't any) Day 2, I'm in yellow (because I'm considered a fall risk) Day 3 you can see the swelling - never got any worse than that.

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Where did u go for surgery?

UT Southwestern Zale Lipshy in Dallas TX. My Surgeon is Dr. Jonathan White - excellent surgeon.

Thank you for posting this, and the pics as well. Makes me feel less afraid and more positive for my husband's future surgery. Also, I always assumed they would have to shave that whole area of his head.

How large was your aneurysm?

Thank you Jo.

Hi Jan. Congratulations on your successful surgery. Today was a hard day for me nervewise. I was so upset about the upcoming surgery that I just sat and shook and cried. Yesterday I looked at posted pictures on this site. They just freaked me out. There are some positive people on this website however there are many horror stories too. I think that when I read a horror story it sticks with me. It frightens me and makes me wonder if I am making the right decision going for the surgery. Your story is very uplifting and makes me feel that I am making the right decision getting this surgery done so I can move forward in my recovery. Thank you, thank you, thank you. for your positive story with pictures. I will concentrate on your story, pray, and deep breathe. Also I will seek out positive stories like your. God Bless.

Gwen

Hi Gwen,

I'm so glad this had a positive for you to grab hold of. I'm assuming your surgery is tomorrow. You are definitely doing the right thing because the only other option is to have it rupture and that's not an option. Exactly one week ago today I was so scared and today all is well. Take a deep breath and relax. I have had a couple of headaches and that's it. As a matter of fact, I go tomorrow to get the staples out. Almost all of the swelling is gone. I will say a prayer for you tonight. Let me know how it goes for you. I'm sure you will be fine. You'll wake up and wonder what you were so worried about. :)

Thank you Jan for your positive response. No I don't have surgery tomorrow. However when I get the date I probably will be a lot more nervous than I am now. I know that the surgery is petrifying to me. Sometimes I'm possessed with this site because there is no one that I can turn to in my life that knows what I'm going through right now. I met with my surgeon and have no idea what we discussed and what he even looked like I was so overwhwelmed. I just got through a back surgery in March and now this? Iy too much for me to deal with right now. Thank you for your encouragement. I eill pray because that relaxes me. Just knowing that others are praying for me gives me a posiitive spin on this whole thing. Thank you for writing your letter and giving a positive outlook on a terrifiying subject.

Gwen

I had my annie clipped on May 7th. I am almost 3 months post op. I was very tired in the beginning, sleeping like 20 hours a day that first week and a half. I still get fatigued at times but it gets better each day, even though I notice more at each month "marker" post op. I had the entire left side of my head shaven, so I had the other side shaved once I got home and was able to shower. I am a tad envious that you didn't have you head shaved but I guess all surgeons have their own protocol and I am guessing it depends on where the annie actually was. I am glad your recovery is going as expected.

Gwen, this gave me MUCH comfort, it's from Jesus Calling...

"Do not worry about tomorrow! This is not a suggestion, but a command! I divided time into days and nights, so you would have manageable portions of life to handle. My grace is sufficient for you but it's sufficiency is for only one day at a time. When you worry about the future you heap day upon day of troubles onto your flimsy frame. You stagger under this heavy load, for which I never intended you to carry. Throw off this oppressive burden with one quick thrust of trust. Anxious thoughts meander about and crisscross your brain, but trusting Me brings you directly into My Presence. As you thus affirm your faith, shackles of worry fall off instantly. Enjoy My Presence continually by trusting Me at all times!

I had just completed foot surgery in March - actually coded on the table. Surprised the surgeon so much he just turned and hit me directly in the chest - started the ticker right back up so I too was a bit more concerned than normal. I'm sure you will sail through this with no problems. Just got back from getting my staples out and that didn't hurt either! :)

Hi I'm so sorry you had to shave both sides but I bet it looks cool. I'm glad you are getting better each day.

Thank you so much for your story. I'm still scared silly & it was very helpful. Also comforting when I read that you were at UT Southwestern where I will be. I have Dr. Batjer instead of Dr White. I've heard the details of what has to be done but am still absorbing it all. No surgery date set yet. Thanks again

Let me know if you have more questions Susie, I'll be happy to answer what I can. Prayers your way!

How are you doing now Jan?

Hi Susie,

I'm doing great! My incision is healing very well and I feel good. I go back to the doctor on the 15th and anticipate him letting me go back to work very soon. I make sure I rest and don't stay out in the heat - it bothers me for some reason - probably because it's over 100 every day. :) I haven't had any problems at all. The only things that I really can't do yet that I want to do are work in my garden and exercise. They told me not to lift anything over 10 lbs and that included not using the vacuum so I'm not really sure when I can exercise again so I'm waiting to talk to the doctor about that. I hope you are doing well. Keep your spirits up, I have been thinking of you.

Good to hear you are doing well. I've heard the 10 lbs thing so I have been weighing things like the laundry basket, trash, etc. to get an idea what will be possible. I've gone from scared silly to 'I will be okay' mentally. As hot as it has been here, my garden has pretty much gone to burnt so maybe you are not missing anything there. I plan on cutting the dog's hair VERY short so that vacuuming as often isn't needed. Hanging in there. Last week when I saw the doctor I told him I needed a week of no medical people in my life and my week is up today. Will be finding out more soon.

Hi, sounds like you are on the right track. Will you have anyone at the hospital with you and then at home? I was thinking back - I could have done it alone but it sure was nice to have someone to help me. My parents stayed with me during the day and my husband at night once we got home. In the hospital I was alone at night but family there during the day. Let me know if I can help in anyway. Jan

My son will be at the hospital and is coming over to stay at night until I'm comfortable. Several friends have volunteered to help also. I've always been very independent so I'm just trying to figure out where my 'line' will be when I feel good so I don't do anything stupid. I truly appreciate the info and encouragement you are giving me through your example and friendship. What were your driving restrictions?

Hi

I go back to the surgeon on August 15th. They didn't say what the restrictions were so I called the nurse. She said technically they say not to drive until you have your follow up in a month or so because you will be on muscle relaxers. Not sure why but they gave me enough muscle relaxers for a month taking them 4 times a day. She said that if you were in an accident and it came out that you were on muscle relaxers AND have had brain surgery, your insurance company is going to give you a hard time - however,I live in Abilene and the traffic isn't bad at all and I was driving 2 weeks after surgery. I felt fine and still feel fine but I am very aware that my reflexes may not be what they normally are so I try to only drive when people are at work so there isn't that much traffic. I am glad your son will be there as are your friends. You will probably want them around for a few days. Where is your aneurysm? Mine was where they could simply separate the parts of the brain and go in and clip it. I think that when they have to actually cut into the actual brain that you might have more difficulties driving and things like that.

I know it is a basilar aneurysm but do not know any other descriptors. They will go in around my temple/ear. I will be calling Monday to set up the next steps. Finally got the problem with the insurance company saying my doctor is out of network when he is in network resolved today. I live in a neighborhood that has about all the stores I would want to go to nearby. Like you, when I do drive it will be during low traffic hours. I won't be pushing it. If I need to go further, I have a list of people who have volunteered to be my driver.