The Recovery Process

I thought I would write about my experience in the hopes that it might help others.

I am 3 months post clipping and doing amazingly well. It did take a while for me to get back on my feet. I did a lot of walking at first, really learned what my neighborhood looked like!! As time progressed I started feeling better but still had headaches on a daily basis. After about 2 months I was back to hitting golf balls at the range which was great for my spirits. I then started back to work, just 2 days a week for a couple of hours a day. I work at a small golf course and just work the front desk so its low stress and good therapy. After I saw the doctor a little after 2 months he gave me the go ahead to start being more active. I have since started playing golf regularly and my strength and stamina have improved. I feel very fortunate that I am able to do most of what I did prior to the operation. My hair has almost grown back to where it is not noticeable anymore that my head was shaved in the front. Casual friends commented that I had changed the way I combed my hair not knowing why. It will be nice to finally get it back to where it was pre-op.

There are a number of things that still cause me concern or are different than how I felt before the operation. I continue to have headaches on and off. I was told that could last 6 months to a year. They are getting less bothersome but are still there. I am to the point where I rarely take Advil for them. I am grateful that they are lessening in intensity.
I also still feel anxious at times. I have been told this is normal too but when you have had an event like this you feel very vulnerable at times. I have talked with a therapist about my feelings and I am working through them. I suspect this will go on for some time too. I have also noticed that I am more emotional at times, especially when it comes to family and friends or stories about close relationships. I guess this is also part of my anxiety.

After reading some of the other threads on this forum I feel very lucky to be where I am in such a relatively short time. I know others have a much tougher road to recovery and would like to tell them to be patient and time will do wonders.

Thank you Bob for sharing your experience. I for one am now waiting to see a Neurosurgeon so I suspect my road is still a long one. I like to read how others have gone through the surgery and have had some time pass, to where they are today. I know that the recovery process can be different for everyone but I appreciate you taking the time to write.
Today, I received my MRI results. The CT scan that was done on Sept 16th showed a 7mm aneurysm and my MRI results said 8mm. I had the MRI done Oct. 11th. My GP has already submitted the request to see a surgeon so now I just have to wait for the appointment to arrive in the mail. The waiting is soooo difficult for me.
Thanks again Bob and continued health and recovery.


Hi Tina, I am almost 4 months post op-7mm aneurysm clipped. I had a great surgeon so had very little side effects. I work from home so I started working a little after 3 weeks, maybe a little sooner. The first month was the hardest-a lot of headaches and sleeping. It gradually got better. After 3 months I got my energy back. I will not say it was easy but it was bearable. Everyone recovers at their own pace so just be patient. I know the waiting is terrible but hang in there. I wish you all the best of luck sometimes we are stronger than we think.


Tina, it must be difficult waiting, I know that would be very hard on me. I was the opposite, I didn’t know I had a problem until one day setting at my computer at home my head felt like a hot poker was pushed into it (the aneurysm had burst). I got up to walk and could barely make it into the other room. I called 911 and was taken to a local hospital. Somehow they got my scan to Stanford hospital and the doctor there said he could fix me! The next morning they did the surgery. I didn’t have any time to work myself up about it.

It sounds like they are keeping a close watch on you, that is good. Be patient and do what the doctors say. That is how I have tried to deal with all of this. I had never been in the hospital since I was 3 years old and now I am 63 so it was quite an experience. I am lucky, I was only in the hospital for 7 days, which from what I have read here is pretty short. The other good news is that I don’t remember the first few days after the surgery very well (ha ha!). I think that is a good thing! As JoAnn said in an earlier post, it is not something I would want to repeat but looking back it was not as bad as I would have thought if I had time to think about it. Hang in there and know that modern medicine is a wonderful thing. They know so much about the condition and how to treat it. One of the things that got me through was the confidence and care that all of the doctors, nurses, friends and caregivers exhibited toward me and my family.

Stay positive and know that there are lots of people who are thinking of you and wishing all the best for you.

I also got really lucky with a quick recovery. I was just 5mm and my aneurysm burst. It closed after on it’s own the doctor said. I had surgery the next morning. I did not know what I know about this whole condition and what the after affects can be. Ignorance is bliss sometimes. I had the coiling done. I am amazed they went through the groin and repaired this. There was some blood on the brain. walking hurt like hell for a week - slow walking but i moved around the best i could. I was in ICU for like 3 days, then in the neurological floor for the remaining days so the total hospital time was 10 days. came home just before this thanksgiving weekend. so the journey began September 28, 2010.

I still have headaches, but they seem to just the last few days start to lessen in intensity. I am anxious to not have headaches as i was a chronic headache person due to medication induced headaches for like 23 years!!! yeah, daily headaches. Not related to this situation at all. I had been headache free for 3 years. grateful everyday too. Just not pleased that i could end up having to take meds for headaches that the meds create once again. That is something i will not focus on for now. right now i need to get that first check up done. I read that many have other aneurysyms. i hope this is the only one and I don’t end up with other ones !!! Ugh.
I have been working a bit. I am tired and need a nap here and there. I see that could end up passing since i am reading everyone’s experiences. I am writing about the aneurysm and things in my life leading up to that date on september 28th. I kept thinking as i was going through, all the blood tests, needles, pain killers, drinking water and having it pushed interveniously through my body as well, that i needed to write , i never had that chance to write - I was always doing something for someone else that i was taking care of . I was now going to finally get the whole story on paper. what better way to start with the a ruptured aneurysm. I mean that will surely get someone’s attention.
glad to be part of this community. I think this is something that is important for all of us.
I have anxiety that I could have died in this process, and the feeling of will I die from all this anyway??? will another form? will it be operable…etc. when i see how lucky i am with the after affects, i wonder if it could be the calm before the storm type of situation. At that point, i make myself think of how i am here to write that book that i have wanted to write since i was a teenager, being encouraged by my teachers to do this…by the way, I am 47 years old. I am a Mother of a 19 year old daughter and a 14 year old son. I am self employed - I own 50% of a successful heating and air conditioning company. i am able to not be there daily although i do enjoy what i do, and I love the staff that are around me. we have fun. I am a big distraction…LOL
glad to hear that you are doing well Rob. I am encouraged that you are not having the same headaches that you did as well. Here is hoping for me for sure.

JoAnn I’m so glad to hear that you are doing well. The waiting is terrible and sometimes I just want to scream. I want to say, hellooooo, I’m living with this ticking time bomb in my brain every single day…could we please hurry this up and do something about it!!! Anxiety is really kicking in.
I have found so many amazing people on this site and for that I am very grateful. Thank you for sharing your story JoAnn and like Bob and everyone else, I wish you a very uneventful and smooth recovery.


Bob you sound like a very upbeat and positive man. I thought I was too until I ran up against the health care system that seemingly takes their merry old time in getting appointments made and something done! I’m probably just over anxious and I try and tell myself that there are more problems out there and I’m just one of them; my turn will come. It’s hard though. It’s hard to watch my family go through their worries and torment, it’s so hard to see my 21 yr old son cry and worry, my 20 yr old daughter do the same. I have a very loving family, husband, parents and so on but I find I’m worrying about them right now as well as myself. For the first time since finding out about this, today I"m angry. Just so many emotions all over the map!
Bob if you know, or perhaps someone else might know, when the CT said 7mm and 2.5 weeks later had MRI and it came back showing 8mm, does that mean it’s grown? As in, are the CT results accurate in it’s measurements as well as the MRI?
Oh and to add to my stress, my GP told me yesterday that I would have to go out of town for this surgery. Closest 2.5 hrs away, and possibly 6 hrs away. UGH!

Hi Jamie,
Just read your story and am glad you are doing so well. I am so pleased to hear that you are going to write. That is one of my passions as well. I would love to write, just can’t seem to coordinate my thoughts enough to sit down and do it. Something struck me in your story. The part about being anxious about the feeling that you will die from this type of problem. I did not realize until I read your story, that I also am anxious about that. My ruptured aneurysm happened about three years ago and I almost did not make it. I called 911 myself because I heard my husband’s voice telling me to call. I had not idea why I was calling. It turned out it was an angel (using my husband’s voice) telling me to call for help. My husband, Jim, found his mother dead on the kitchen floor when he was 20 years old. I don’t ever want him to be in that position of finding me. The doctor told him that if I had waited to call for help, he would have found me dead when he got home from work. Of course, that makes me anxious. All I can do is take care of myself and hope for the best. All the blood surrounding my brain after the rupture was devastating. I tried to return to work, but ultimately, after a few months of struggling, had to give it up. Good luck to you and thank you for sharing.


Sharon after reading your response, I’m left speechless. Jamie I too think that is quite an undertaking and good for you for marching forward. There really is inspiration on this site and I’m very thankful for finding it. Tina

Wow Sharon, thanks for writing this back to me and for you too Tina. I am finding that the most incredible people have had the same experience. Either you were incredible to start with or you are made that much more incredible after facing such a life altering situation. However, I find that I am very comforted by this site due to people who are kind enough to write back to me. To take that time, to give a shit to make that time basically…

I went to the doctor today. he does not give medications out easily. He reassured me that this is not the same chronic pain i had before. I mean I know this as the pain is on the right side of my head, where it was mainly when I was first coming out of this in the hospital. I am only on day 24, but it seems like it has been longer than less than a month. I was reassured that I am allowed the time to repair myself and that I am so damn lucky that even if i have to take pain meds, i am taking the least amount that i can and i am doing so awesome!!! I can walk, talk, remember things better than before the surgery…my joke is that the surgeons must have put ram in my brain as the damn thing is working better than it did before this happened! So, i have some sense of pain that I my brain is still healing - what a miracle that I look and act better actually than I did before. I smile a ton more…it is like we have a secret…we were there and we are here…look at the stories about this condition…we are here. Many die. they don’t get a chance to be here and maybe do somethings they had wanted to do. see some people they don’t want to miss out on seeing. do some chores for the people we love meaning we are here to do them…they are here with us to make the messes we are cleaning up after…that being said, do not forget to remind them you had brain surgery and that they can certainly pitch in - I mean we are here to remind them to do their share!!! We are alive and here…

I also find that when I get afraid, ( like watching any tv program where someone dies on it and you see them lying there in the morgue…ugh) is not good for me. It reminds me I could be " that guy". I tell myself that I am grateful the aneurysm happened now. why? why the hell would i say that?
Well, it could have happened on a trip somewhere , somewhere that would not have been able to get emergency treatment as I did - I mean this aneurysm was only 5mm…if they see 5mm in the unruptured examinations they will not typically operate to coil it!!! Here I was ruptured, not even once suspecting I could have something like that… It happened here at home rather than in a car , me driving and me thinking differently and not seeking help, i got help right away. it happened now , I am grateful while i am in really good shape,( i work out regularly, a treadmill and some good reading is an incredible body strengthener and i was training to take this nasty aneurysm on and beat it and come back) I could have had this happen when i was much older and perhaps not as strong to beat this and left with serious damage…

I am grateful that I am now actually taking time for me and writing. ( sharon, even record things in a diary format…there are not many books on this sort of situation and look how we flock to this and we are actually writing here all the time…record the date and record what you are doing that day…what happened to lead up to that day…I am recording my childhood and young adulthood as it was traumatic to say the least…the aneurysm makes a good attention grabber to start the book off!!! LOL) You will be surprised that as you write even a bit each day or a few times a day, how fast it adds to a full journal!!! You cannot eat an elephant in one sitting, but you can eat one , one bite at a time. The same with this situation. Write a bit at a time. There are many who would like to find comfort from someone in the same situation, that they are not alone. that they are not afraid alone either. LIke me, thanks for sharing, I really feel better knowing that I am not silly that i sometimes get shaky about these past events, what can happen, and what could have been, and of course what did not happen…
I am also glad it was discovered, treated and i am doing so well, as I am even more of a grateful, kinder person than i was before this happened as i was already reading a ton of positive books, talking the talk, walking the walk no matter what i was going through with my own company, my kids, my relationship struggles,etc…)
since, i cannot change what I am looking at…I had a ruptured aneursym and I had to have brain surgery to coil it…I cannot change that…I can however, change the way I look at it…I can use it to make me the best me I can be for me mostly, but then for my family, my co workers who are my family as well actually, and my friends and the new friends i am making on this site.

I am not working full time. I get tired. I may not ever work full time again. Owning your own company, you actually work more than full time hours. You eat, breath, sleep and crap the company…LOL I do have some flexibility that with that responsibility I can delegate and take some needed time, now that my brain got my attention. So, I have always wanted to write. I remember thinking that i did not get that writing done. I don’t care if i actually get it published ( don’t get me wrong that would be the ultimate in amazing!! Right beside, I did not die from the aneurysm rupturing…) but I did not complete the one thing I have really wanted to do since I was a kid. I don’t want to let myself down!!! so here I am and i am writing a bit each sitting. The overall task is huge. It would overwhelm me of where to start , where to inject each part of the story, when to add certain parts of my life…however, screw it…just doing it…I will edit and fix and change and do all as I record things. One step at a time. just like what we went through. One step at a time.

sharon, you tried working and could not. That is okay. listen to your inner self. It knows the right things and the wrong. we just don’t pay attention to ourselves because we think we know better…LOL

is your story of how this happened to you on this site? if so where is it???

I thank you again for taking the time to write to me. Thanks to you too Tina. is your story on here as well??

I have follow up MRI on November the 11th.

not back to work. just doing a bit here and there. some from computer as well. the internet is a great thing for sure.

but we will see when they think i can start back at work. not really rushing. taking time to heal. I have been through lots even before the aneurysm. alot of tough life stuff over the years. time to be good to me!!!
thanks again.

Squeezy wheel gets the oil. I think you have to keep pushing. tell them you are not trying to be a pain in the ass but you are very afraid. Are you in the states? are you in canada? in canada we have to wait and wait for everything. so i get it. It was because i had a ruptured one that i had the go ahead for right away., However, who the hell wants to wait for a rupture???

I would if I were you make a sort of joke saying to the doc, listen i don’t want to be a pain in the ass where i am so in your face that you are locking the door if you see me coming, however, i really want to move with this and make it part of my past. I guess my favourite is to ask them, this…if it was your family member, your wife, mother, sister, girlfriend ( make sure the doc likes these people first…LOL) what would you do? would you want them in the hospital addressing this right away???

I don’t know about growing or not, but i would think that it is growing. it needs to be addressed. I know it sucks to be out of town. I was out of town too. However, if out of town is the best care as this is brain surgery…then go for it. The upside is if you are going to correct before the thing bleeds, then the surgery is less risky of course, and you get to come home sooner. so out of town is not that bad. Bring a lap top to talk to those who cannot be with you. not sure if all or any of this helps. That is just my opinion. Opinions are like assholes…everyone has one…LOL sorry for the " a hole word’ i found humour and or a smile has been my saving grace through all of this whole ordeal. Hope this helps somewhat. Best of luck with the whole situation

LOL Jamie! You certainly brought a smile to my face! Since my last post, I received a phone call from a neurosurgeons office. I was soooo relieved to know that it was less than 24 hrs later when I got a call. My appt is Nov 18 to see him. The lady told me that there are people waiting 3-4 months to get in so I feel very lucky right now! I suppose they dont have office hours such as your family dr’s office. As in, they dont have office calls every day of the week so yes, I would think I’m finally in the hands of someone that knows and understands the situation.
I am from Canada, Kingston, Ontario. So apparently I have to travel to either Toronto or London is where they do this sort of surgery and yes you’re right, doesnt matter as long as I’m in the best possible hands.
I was thinking that it was growing also because how in the world could there be such a discrepency between both scans?? I’ve even thought if I could fast track this thing and go to emerg when I have a weird episode (my vision has gone wonky twice now) and see if that speeds anything up. Pretty bad if you have to think that way.
Where are you from and where did you have the surgery done Jamie?

A W E S O M E! :slight_smile:

I also couldn’t agree more with you on sooooo many things Jamie. First and foremost, yes I come here to talk to others that take the time to write back, help you understand whats going on and even help you work out something such as 'has my annie grown"??? We all are experiencing anxiety over what has either happened, or is happening. We all have questions, fears all of it. So if you care enough to write me and try to help then I’m there 100% for any of you that want me.

I’m glad I tripped across you, I like you and your attitude and your way of telling it the way it is.

Your friend, Tina

After reading the last few posts I thought I would add some further thoughts.

I thought I did not have anything wrong with me until the headache hit (hadn’t had any problems prior to that first massive headache). After my aneurysm ruptured it was a blur of activity that day and the next. I still am amazed that I called 911 myself, I am generally not one to go to the doctor let alone call 911. Something told me it was not a simple headache. Sitting, waiting for the paramedics to get there I was able to get up and open the front door so they could come into the house, this was not a trivial act. I was in a lot of pain at the time but my brain kept working. The human body is amazing.

Luckily I did not fully understand what was going on with me. The first doctor at the emergency room told my wife to call the family, he was not really positive about the outcome. I was so fortunate that the doctor at Stanford saw the scan and said to ship me up there. Stanford University Hospital is only about 1/2 hour away so it wasn’t a long trip. The doctor that treated me was “the Man” when it comes to aneurysms. He helped develop the techniques now used to treat the condition. Once again I was fortunate to be in the right place at that time. My aneurysm closed by itself but I guess it opened again during the surgery, that’s why I have two clips in my head now (along with some other metal to help reattach the part of my skull they had to cut to get to the aneurysm).

As I said initially, it’s been 3 months since the operation. The headaches were unpleasant for the first few weeks but I was on pain medication that helped. I do not like taking any more meds than I have to so I started tapering off the Vicodan as soon as I could. After 2 months I still was having headaches but they would come and go and I would just take Advil. It still really bothered me and I called the advice nurse a couple of times and kept getting reassured that they would get better with time. I am now to the point where I rarely take anything. The headaches still happen with less frequency and have gotten much less intense.

Anxiety! Still have some at times when I feel a strange pain anywhere. Is this going to happen again? Is there something different going on that will be bad? I finally talked with a counselor about these feelings and was reassured that after an event like this my feelings were very normal. It’s post traumatic stress and time should help me deal with it. He suggested exercise, journaling, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, the normal stress releasing activities. I have tried a few of these and they do help.

I have to say this again. Based on what I know now (and luckily didn’t know before hand) the surgery and recovery have not been nearly as uncomfortable as I would have thought. Yes, there is discomfort, lack of energy, lots of time on the couch, but it was very bearable. I still do not think that I fully understand or have internalized what all happened to me. I do appreciate life more, especially family and friends. I also have more of a feeling that you can’t sweat the small stuff, it’s not worth it, and the follow on is that most things are small stuff!!! Enjoy life, look at the birds, watch the squirrels in the trees, the beautiful clouds in the sky, and a lazy walk around the block. The first time I played golf after the surgery I played better than I did before!! My brother, playing with me, said I should have the other side of my head done!!!

One final word. After I got home my wife took time off work to be with me. We had to go into her office a week or two later for her to pick something up. At that time I learned that there were a large number of people she works with that had been praying for me. They had never met me but when I was in their office they kept coming up to me and asking how I was doing and glad to hear I was recovering well. I was amazed at the number of people who where out there sending positive thoughts and prayers for me. You are not alone. There is a world of people behind you and cheering you on.

Wow…did you live my life!!! this is totally the very same as my story except i did not open my aneurysm again on the surgery table. Bob i feel even better because for the most part, i could change the golfing part, the re opening on the surgery table and you and I share the exact same story. I had a great guy to do the work, i am hugged and looked at with amazement too. i have had tons of people praying and sending messages. Thanks for this message too. you made me feel like all i am going through is normal. You are right too. for some odd reason i cannot get mad or overly stressed at things that seemed large before - I did not know it but I almost died!!! i too still am not sure i get it yet…totally. we are so damn lucky and i am lucky to be able to share this with people who did this walk too. I feel exactly the same as you do. I could have bascially responded with DITTO!!! thanks so very much…

Oh just thought of something…the difference in machines could very well explain the difference in sizes. they are different and the hospitals want their own measurements as well. that is what they did to me. I am in Hamilton Ontario for surgery. I live in St Catharines. Near Niagara Falls and there is nothing here for this type of thing. hamilton was the closest. Toronto or London you will be in fantastic hands.
I would say that the next time your vision goes wierd, yeah go to emergency and tell them you are waiting and the whole story. tell them about your vision.
you might just get in faster. at that point you will be the squeaky wheel not a squeezy one…LOL do you believe i wrote that???

I am one to call it like it is …has gotten me in trouble but I find it has gotten me out of more trouble than in trouble…so it is good to say how it is. There is Hamilton General Hospital and they have a whole team that does this work. my surgeon was Algird, alumunder…fantastic. he came by to see me lots, he made the residents make sure i stayed in the hospital until he said i could go - the whole thing. fantastic care.
So happy you are getting somewhere and have an appointment. you have to keep us all updated on what is happening and how things are going. you get your life back once they take care of the aneurysms.

Your story is such an inspiration. It gave me more hope for my brother who just went an emergency brain surgery for a raptured brain aneursym. He is currently in the ICU for further observation. I still do not know how long he will stay at the ICU/hospital, but we are hoping that he is now in the road to recovery.

thanks for that comment. I am just me, doing it every day. I am still recovering. everyone looks at me and cannot believe i am here, for the first part and that i had anything so serious done!! I have no " side effects" from my surgery…and my ruptured aneursym…almost. My blood pressure is too high. new meds for that. not usual for this to happen after the coiling, however it could be temporary, i will feel better when the blood pressure goes down. There is fear that I could still die somehow…there is anxiety i guess over that one., I think this might be normal from what others have said in this forum. I have to still be careful. I get tired…but I can talk, walk, write , all of that. My memory might be a wee bit better. I was really overloaded at work though. We are self employed and carrying the stress of a difficult situation at work.

Your brother needs to heal after. He much have just had the surgery then? keep up to date on how he is doing and show him this site as it really does help to read some of what the other survivors are doing. We are all surviving a very traumatic situation together. The brain is the “mother shit” and if you can win the " mother ship" having an issue , well that is pretty damn good stuff…lots of encouragement to your brother too and you guys. the family. The whole situation is difficult on everyone. Hang in there. Laugh a lot too. Laughing is the best medicine. it makes it better…I make the best brain aneurysm jokes around here…gets me out of chores!!! lOL

I love your little typo of “mother shit”! LOL I make pretty funny typos now-a-days too! But I totally understand what you are talking about!

Some humor I use with friends, family, kids, etc. is “I may have had brain surgery. but they didn’t take the b@tch part of me out!” LOL

Love it!!! I make all sort of jokes too. You have too…you cannot let this experience take away who you are and we need to make it an amazing part of it because to still be here after something so huge is reason to have some damn fun!!!

Oh, I see where I said Mother Shit!!! LOL that is funny