Ruptured aneurysm at 40 - returning to work?

Hello. I had a burst aneurysm 5 months ago, September 20, 2022. I have stents and coils, and also a Shunt.

Physically I (almost) feel back to normal. My left eye is still lagging, and I do have some fatigue. I usually take a nap once a day.

I am not back to work yet, I am a CPA (tax season here in the United States). I want to go back to work, but I am worried that I will not succeed.

I am seeing a speech therapist, she thinks I am ready to try to work again, she says i won’t know until I try. All my doctors have okayed me to return to work.

I am worried if I do not go back to work my brain will atrophy. I feel like the best way to get my brain back is to exercise it working.

I should also note that I am a mom to two kids 7 and 10. My husband works full time outside of the home, therefore I am the at home parent. I take care of the meals, and managing the school items.

Prior to the rupture I worked part time about 15-20 hours a week off season, and managed the household full time. I also volunteered in the school as the PTA treasurer.

I would love advice on returning to work. I would return part time 15 hours a week during season, I work from home. I am only working when kids are in school. Am I rushing back? even if it is part time from home? Thanks everyone!

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How exciting and a bit scary too, I imagine to return to work. I envy people who can go back to work as I could not. My math is not what it once was, I lost simple arithmetic skills with my rupture. Will you be working three hours a day, five days a week? If that’s your plan, I think it’s really doable. If you start feeling too tired, are you able to rest a bit within the time period you’ve decided on? Remember to follow the 20/20/20 rule when you’re on the computer to help with eye strain and the headaches that can be a result. I’m rooting for you!

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Thank you! I also lost simple arithmetic skills after my rupture. When I was in acute rehab working with speech therapy I was frustrated because I couldn’t do simple math. It’s taken some time for me to get close to where I was math wise. At first I worked on a lot of simple math with my second grader to work on the skills. I am much better now than before.

yes I think 3 hours a day 5-6 days a week. My job is flexible and understanding of my condition, so I think I will be able to rest. Luckily I haven’t had any headaches from working on the computer, however I do feel fatigued after several hours.


I had a rupture in June of 2018. I am an attorney. I returned to work far sooner than I should have in that I was really only good for a few hours of intense focus. By the time I was six months out, I would say that I could do focused work for a few hours and then some less focused work for a little while as well. I am now 4.5 years out. I still am only good for a few hours a day. If I have a busy day, I am very tired. I tend to push way harder than I should. All that said, I don’t think that my analytic skills have weakened. I can still do my job, just on a more limited schedule.


Hi Jenica,

Thanks for sharing your story… and congrats on doing as well as you are! :slight_smile:

I met Annie in late January 2022 when I fell ill at home and was airlifted to a hospital for emergency neurosurgery. It was touch and go during my first week in the ICU and after undergoing a couple of procedures that included coils, brain glue, and a temporary shunt. One Annie burst, with a second one close to bursting and 2 others looking suspect. I was in the ICU for almost a month and received a permanent shunt. I spent another 2 weeks in the hospital, to include 1 week of inpatient PT at a hospital in Northern VA. Long story short, it is a miracle that I am alive with no significant damage to my sight, mobility, speech, or cognitive skills. My PCP told me that one of my clinicians wrote “miracle” in my medical record.

I will share with you the advice given by my neurosurgery team following my release from the hospital: Take things slowly and give yourself time to heal. Whether it’s your exercise program, sports, or work … start off slowly and gradually build up to your previous schedule of working hours. Before Annie, I worked 40 - 60 hours a week as a C-Suite leader overseeing regulatory and policy matters. My neurosurgeon advised me to start off with 3 - 4 hours per day for 2 or 3 days the first week of returning to work after my first medical checkup about 3 weeks after being released from the hospital and getting the OK to resume working. Then, if that pace was tolerable, increase your time to 4 hours per day for 3 - 5 days per week. Try that routine for 2 weeks. The next week, try 5 hours per day. Take breaks and take a nap when you feel tired. If at any point the daily schedule becomes too much, back off and decrease your daily work hours to a lower amount. Don’t push yourself too hard and be kind to yourself.

I was fortunate to have a very supportive boss at the time who told me to focus on my health first, and not push myself too hard. It was about 8 weeks before I returned to a 6 hour/day routine. I worked 40 hours one week (with some hours worked on a Sat). Unfortunately, a new leader arrived, and I was part of the layoff of 80% of the senior team. Was I let go because of my previous illness? Maybe. However, there is no way to prove that, and my attorney advised me to move on with my life.

Over one year later, I am working full-time with a new job. I still feel tired at times and tend to feel wiped by 9 PM at night after working a full day and cooking dinner, though I’m stronger than I was a year ago. A short nap every afternoon while convalescing at home and working remotely helped a lot. I realize I was fortunate to work remotely and thereby have a little flexibility in my schedule. I still work remotely 80 - 90% of the time, thankfully.

Every day is a blessing, no matter what. Again, be kind to yourself and give yourself time to heal.


I especially like this part :wink:. If the new leadership let you go because of your illness, it is nice to see how short-sighted a decision that was!

Great input! Well done.

(And I completely agree with the take-it-steady approach and step back if it’s too much. Being honest with yourself about what you can do is really important.)

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