Hi, I’m new here. I’m 4 days post-procedure on a basilar tip aneurysm. In January, I had a web device put in. Followup angio showed too much residual, so just had second procedure with coils and stent. Docs told me it was challenging and will still have to be monitored. After the first time, I was so grateful and feeling fortunate. While I still am eternally grateful , I’m having a lot of anxiety replaying the procedure in my head. Wondering if opening my eyes made it more difficult for them, and worried about whatever is left and its’ potential. Don’t have follow-up appt. for a few weeks. Would appreciate tips on getting through this. Thank you.
hey there! i’m also new here and will probably post later on about my own experiences + my experiences to come, but i wanted to reply to you real quick, bcuz i understand completely and do have a few tips.
mostly, recognize that it is completely normal to feel anxiety. anxiety is fear of the unknown, and your body is in recovery from, quite frankly, a violation of its sacred space. what i mean by sacred space, is that your body is your body. obvs, surgery is not something you or your body wants, deep down. you and your body want to be left alone, to feel good. but we often forget that our mind and our spirit is sacred too. and these these things also need to heal.
my best tip, which has helped for myself, is to remember this. you also received information that ofc, you likely didn’t want to hear: that is, the residual. but! the good thing is that they caught it, and it was taken care of. so it seems like maybe some of the anxiety might be a leftover from having had to have an unexpected ADDITIONAL procedure.
after any kind of surgery, be it aneurysm surgery or even just the angiograms, all sorts of mental health challenges arise, bcuz it brings things up in our instincts for peace and survival. what you are feeling is completely normal, and i just wanted to assure you of that.
Thank you for responding. I appreciate it. It’s hard when you’re actually awake for brain surgery and you hear all that’s going on and feel things in your head. It’s a bit unnerving. Thank you again.
i have been awake for angiograms + will be awake for my flow diverter placement. what i mean by awake, is that i do not get the ‘twilight’ anesthesia, or any anesthesia, aside from the local to numb the arterial area.
i can speak on the angiogram - it was all fine for me until the last injection of dye. bcuz my aneurysm is behind my eye, the injection essentially replaced all bloodflow for some seconds. the whole side of my face burned + my eye went dark. they’d ofc said ‘you might feel a little warmth’ and … that was not a little anything. it was hot af. i was like that comicbook character ghost rider, except only half my skull was on fire.
anyhow, i’ll be wide awake again for the diverter treatment. which is essentially the same as the angiograms. i choose not be asleep, bcuz of general anesthesia side effects and tbh, i’m more afraid of being put to sleep than having to hear what goes on around me, if that makes sense? but i know exactly what you mean!
Wow! Good for you and good luck to you. Even with the twilight anesthesia, I’m still feeling and hearing things. But you are way braver than me. Praying for you.
@JeanneM and @cerrillos Welcome again and thanks for posting! Only my rupture and the stent was I knocked out. For the coils and coils with ballon I was awake and for all the other angiograms I’ve been awake. I’ve never been told opening my eyes is an issue and she’s never told me not to. It’s just when to breathe or hold it. For anesthesia, she uses as little as possible
Interesting perspective @cerrillos, I’ve never thought of it in that way! To honor ourselves on all planes is extremely important.
@JeanneM whilst I’ve always thought the dye enters our bloodstream and mixes in with it, I’ve never thought of it being capable of replacing all the blood in one area. That’s interesting as well…food for thought. You may want to speak to your surgeon prior to the next angiogram about premedication for allergic reaction to dye.
Some practices I do is relaxation breathing (look up mindfulness) allowing myself a set amount of time on the what if’s, then I give myself time to do those things I love to do - taking walks, playing with the dogs, working in the yard or hobbies and cuddle time, a ritual evening practice with BH and the dogs in the evenings. Some times it takes a bit of effort, but eventually it becomes second nature.
I have a similar experience with angiograms. The doctor described it as “warm and a little uncomfortable”… more like burning hot and my head feels like it will explode. Awful.
Hello all. My carotid artery dissected, ended up with two stents. We have different circumstances but a lot of same residual obstacles to endure. Anxiety oh boy. Mine is still a thing since Sept 2019. It gets better. I feel as my body is still in shock and it’s fight or flight. Wake up at night having to tinkle and it 2 hours of getting myself right with nerves and anxiety. Too uncomfortable to sleep. My point I’m here I’m getting better SLOWLY allow yourself time to be a mess. I think being awake was good. You can kinda understand what’s going on to be able to handle the situation. I was in shock for months. So I’m very glad to talk to you. I am also learning-to be humble. Thanks for being here
I have a brain arteriovenous malformation rather than an aneurysm but it gives very similar risks and worries: in my case the artery is connected directly to the vein (no capillary bed to slow the flow) and a risk that the arterial pressure will burst the vein (veins are low pressure vessels, not designed for arterial pressure).
Anyway, I had to wait for my operation to embolise the connection from artery to vein for about 4 or 5 months while I got to the front of the neurosurgery queue. That was quite an anxious time and I think very much the same as you’re going through just now.
The way I approached it positively was twofold:
Keep busy. An empty mind fills with the most unhelpful thoughts. So I found keeping busy and doing things that needed me to actively think was a help against the void. I undertook a hobby project while I was waiting that required quite a bit of thought.
Put in place information that will help in case you have a stroke. For me, this meant I bought a medical wristband and wrote the normal things on it but also (for the less initiated) “in case of stroke, dial emergency”. I also talked to the people around me – people at work – that I had an increased stroke risk and if they should find me confused or unintelligible or inspecting the ground very closely to dial emergency.
These are the things we can control. I think it is the being out of control that is most disturbing, so to think about the small things within our grasp that we can do, and do them, is a good thing to do.
If you’re still perturbed by the need for monitoring, maybe a wristband might help.
Thank you Richard. Those are great suggestions. You’re right about staying busy. I’m only a week out and had too much time to think while home. Once I go back to work, I’m sure this will get easier. And I love the wristband suggestion. Take care.
Agreed. Thanks for responding. Getting in my own head sometimes gets overwhelming and causes me more anxiety. Have to push through this so I don’t feel paralyzed. Thank you for responding. I appreciate it.
The other thing you can do is put your medical details into the emergency info section of your mobile phone.
Any small steps you can do to feel that you’ll get better looked after may help as positive things you can do.
I am sure you’ll relax a bit more as you prove to yourself that nothing bad happened today or yesterday or last week etc. Immediately post op is just as scary as beforehand to be honest.
All the best,
To add to that, keep your stent card with your insurance card and driver’s license so if and when they go looking, it’s all there.