Question about going back to work

I had my aneurysm August 23, 2019 at work. It was coiled on the next day. I need to go back to work (CMA at a pediatric office). I applied for social security but it’s been pending for 4 months now. Money is pretty short. My husband is not pressuring me to go back to work, but I feel useless. Dr told that I’m a new normal. How would I know if I can do my job fully if I don’t try? Can someone let me know how soon is soon to go back to work? The nurse suggested part time 4 to 5 hours a day. My job part time hours are 3 days 10 hours a week. I don’t know what to do. We need the money

Your surgeon has to release you and can do so with stipulations such as weight limit, etc. Give the surgeon a call. They should be able to release you with hour limits as well.

As for SS, I had to hire an attorney, it took a little over two years after I exhausted all other things like short term disability, FMLA, comp and vacation time. I eventually had to call my Senator’s health aide for help when the attorney said it would be another 21 months for my case to be heard. Someone at the surgeons office had me returning to work, full time, in 2 days. I was still in ICU. Good luck!

Thank you. Wow how did they made that mistake? I spoke with the nurse at the surgeon office. She advised that I should try doing 4-5 hours, I think she is right. What I don’t is if the job would allow me to do that? I’m going to get in contact with the supervisor.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a rule of when you can go back to work. It is wholly dependent on how you feel. I had a rupture and thought that I would be fine to resume regular activities while I was in ICU. I am an attorney and have my own practice. A month out of the hospital and I was doing some functions of my job. That said, I didn’t start going into the office until about four months out and even then I was only able to work a few hours a day and not every day. I would have hoped that I would have been able to return to work full time by now, but sadly that is not the case. I am 18 months from my rupture. My energy level varies but generally I have six - seven hours a day that I can be productive. Looking back, I maybe tried to do things too soon. I don’t think that it had a negative effect on me, but I do think it set my expectations that now I have not met. Listen to your body and you brain. I am a believer that you have to try and see where you land and then you know what you are capable of. Start slow and build up, but give your self time. Good luck.


Thank you

I had my surgery 3 years ago unruptured aneurysm 3.5mm and I am still not back at work. Let your body heal. Take your time listen to your doctors. Let your family help. I wanted to do too much to fast and had setbacks so that’s why I am telling you that. I did have a mini-stroke which they did not know about for months. But thanks to my family and praying to God for the strength I am still here. Just hang on.

Listening to our bodies is so important. There is more than physical healing for me. My aneurysm was coiled March of 2011. Fatigue. Anxiety and PTSD play a big role in my recovery.
I’m self employed so was able to take 6 weeks away from my desk and return part time.
It took a full 18 months before I felt ‘normal’ I had anxiety when in big box stores. Needed to wear sun glasses when near fluorescent lights, constant vigilance re how my head ‘felt’. Anxiety and related symptoms are hard to sort. I have always erred on the side of caution and go for an MRI and CT Scan if I feel lots of symptoms. (3 times in past 71/2 years).
I hope this helps. It does get better.!!

I give thanks every day for my husband diagnosing my symptoms!

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I had 3 clipped in Oct. and went back to work January 1. This was 7 years ago. 40 hour work week.

Hi Cary,

From what I understand about how my SSA disability went, it takes at least 6 months for a response from them. I got it on the 1st try, and I filled out all the paperwork myself via electronic submission. I’ve also found out that I’m in the minority.
I had my 1st aneurysm coiled as well. It ruptured and then coiling 1st. I was really lucky. I went back to work after 3 weeks from the rupture…I think it was. I had very little residual complications from the rupture and/or coiling. (All my trouble began 5 years later when it had to finally be clipped…hence disability)
Having said all that…this is always such a personal “journey”. We all have SO much in common with each other and we are all SO different.
So, listen to your body and head. If your at home now and you feel like your on an extended vacation and you’re chomping to go back to work…yeeehaaa!! If, you have to rest after folding a load of clothes or after talking on the phone with a friend…hhhhhhmmm. It’s really tough to know exactly what to do.
I’m assuming your out of FMLA time? If not, let me know. I had “intermittent” FMLA for a long time towards the end of my working days! It was a god send.
Take care of you. Rest is the best medicine for a traumatized brain.
Good luck!!!

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Cary … everyone recovers differently - I can tell you I have made it 20 months now and I am still not close to before - mine was not any motor skills, but my balance is really not good. As you were told above, it is how YOU recover - your spouse needs to get a grip - do the research - and accept who you are now (the “new norm”) … while we may be the recovering party and adjusting so is the spouse - mine has had a rough time of it also … I can imagine that some relationships fail not because of us but the spouse not accepting who we are!!! Please enjoy your holiday!

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Thank you Kipkate. My problem is that I don’t have FMLA, sick time or vacation. I just move to VA in Feb and I just switched jobs. I was working for an agent for the first time in my life. Apparently they don’t offer that. My mistake. The office I was working at wants me back (only worked for them for 2 months). Only thing wrong with that is there part time hours are 3 days 10 hours shift. Lately I have been notice my heart races a lot and that makes me nervous. Thanks for the advise Kipkate

I cannot say this loud enough "LISTEN TO YOUR OWN BODY"
The dr’s may give you recovery times, ie 'In 2 weeks you’ll be fine…" The may give you a maximum time for working ie ‘You can work 6 hours a week, initially…’ These are all ‘guesstimates’ they can’t say for sure. I saw 4 differing neuros and got 4 differing opinions/guesstimates on recovery times and returning to work. We all recover at differing rates for differing procedures and recoveries, so giving an exact time is impossible. Pushing yourself to meet the guesstimates when your body is screaming NO, is a BAD idea.
I say this because this is exactly what I did, I pushed and pushed hard to get back to work post surgery, doing myself more harm than good. My idea was that I was building stamina by pushing my body’s limits. The reality was that by pushing myself I was doing myself more harm than good. Ahhh, don’t do that. I had to learn to read the signs, my body’s signs when enough was enough. It was telling me, I just didn’t listen. I pushed too hard too soon and did myself some major harm, requiring further surgery and I’ve now been told I’ll never be able to return to work. This whole recovery thing is a slowly, slowly process. Rush it and you run the risk of doing more harm.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team


I couldn’t wait to go back to work; I loved working. When I did return, about a month later, I found I could no longer work. I have a laundry list of problems that continue, over 3.5 years out from intervention surgery. I’m going to be brief: as mentioned above, listen to your body and rest your brain. Document your issues with your doctors. If you need the money ASAP, get a lawyer ASAP. There is a maximum % they can receive and SS pays them directly when your claim is decided. Denial= no money to lawyer. SS will jerk you around for months, even years. No exaggeration. By the time we were done, SS owed me about 20 months of benefits and I am clearly disabled with 3 doctors that certified me. If, like me, you have cognitive problems, you definitely should have a lawyer to manage everything.
I hope that you have an easier time of it than I did and hope that you’ll find yourself feeling better.


Hello carydavis! I am glad to hear that you are thinking to go back to work. My aneurysm was clipped and I went back to work after 6 months. It has been a year since I ruptured.I am a teacher. There are days when I feel tired but thank God everything has been going well. My heart races sometimes/ many times also. It feels better once I start being active such as walking or cleaning the house. I also take iron supplement since my iron is low and I read an article which mentioned that low levels of iron cause anxiety/ fast heart beat.
If you are feeling useless I think that it is time to go back to work. I was very happy, I felt being back to normal when I started to work. That was a big accomplishment for me and still is.
Good luck with everything! Stay well and keep us posted. :rainbow:

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Hi, I went back to work (In a bank) 6 weeks after my first clipping, 8 hrs per day 5 days a week, 1 of 2 unruptured Annie’s. Then 6 months later I was ready to breeze back into work 6 weeks after the 2nd craniotomy… didn’t happen as I had planned. My discharge from the hospital was ok but my GP felt I needed a bit more time, I have epilepsy as well and was struggling with the meds. I asked my boss if he would let me work anyway, but was told I had to have a medical certificate to return. My GP later changed my hours to part-time, the boss got peeved off, and I ended up with a redundancy battle and a lawyer. Because of my experience my boss wanted to put me in a branch where I could potentially be by myself during breaks, a health & safety issue for me so I took the payout and started a new business from home 6yrs ago, because I wasn’t allowed to drive with epilepsy. My New Normal is the Best Normal now. Good Luck.

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It will actually help your disability claim if you try to go back to work. If it succeeds, great. But if you find you can’t do it, the claim will be easier to make. I got SSD on my first try, but I did all the paperwork for them. Ordered copies of all the medical reports, the surgical records and the radiology reports. Then, I asked each doctor to document my problems in a letter. I wrote a bullet point list for each doctor about fatigue, interpersonal problems, concentration issues and anxiety at work. This helped them write a letter supporting my claim. I had my supervisor document the problems I was having at work in a letter. SSDwants to know you can’t do any job, so if you are having math problems, balance problems, commuting problems, headaches, sleep problems, anger issues etc you should keep a diary for a month to reveal all the attempts you are making and all the obstacles you face. I interviewed at several places for lower level jobs and kept a copy of the job descriptions and highlighted what I couldn’t do. Do not lie or exaggerate, that will seal your fate. It’s good to try to go back. You might surprise yourself! I went back to work a month after my first brain surgery and did fine. The second brain surgery was too much to overcome and I went on SSD. Good luck!

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I believe Kate is on to something…Remember that the surgeon is only looking at you from a surgical standpoint, is the aneurysm occluded or not, they don’t really look at life long neurological issues if any, that’s the neurologist’s job.

The reason I think Kate is on to something is a lady that I used to work with fell while running, she had a mild concussion. She went to work for a friend who wrote down why she couldn’t work. The lady I worked with received SSD within six months. It’s all about documentation. I must admit it made me very upset that the coworker could get SSD so quickly for something so common and yet I couldn’t.

Some things my lawyer told me was that the higher educated you are, the harder it is to get SSD as they believe you can still work doing something. He actually told me if I was still in construction or a factory, I would have already received it. The other thing about SSD is that each State governs their own. For me NC was behind on disputed cases about two years. SS will send you to their specialist. In my case it was a psychologist in another county. I couldn’t drive there. We walked in and a family was having a major squabble. By the time I got into the psychologist, I had lost all my words. He was very kind and turned the lights off which helped a great deal. He said he didn’t see me going back to work but I needed a lawyer. The first call to SS, those ladies said I needed a lawyer. They were all very kind. I found out from them that SS didn’t have a spot for a ruptured aneurysm, or SAH, they only had a spot for stroke. As we know, most folks think ischemic stroke and not hemmoraghic. The government likes documentation, so please follow Kate’s advice!