To work or not to work

I was recently diagnosed with a 7mm unruptured aneurysm 'in the front between the hemispheres just below the communication center' - whatever that means - I had a severe high blood pressure attack that rushed me to hospital and two CT scans that discovered it. I am seeing a coiling specialist in August.

In the meantime, my doctor has reluctantly signed me off from work. I was blunt with him and said that I would rather be around my family, who know what is going on with me, than to collapse be found somewhere on campus by people who don't know anything about me. I am dealing with headaches, blurry vision, coming and going numbness on the right side of my face and such bouts of exhaustion that the only thing I can envision doing at work is sleeping.

Is anyone out there able to work with an unruptured annie - how do you cope?

Cheers,

Madds

Hi Madds,

With your symptoms, I think being off work right now is the right way to go (your doctor reluctantly signed you off work? Geez..., One wonders how the doc would fare if he were in your shoes! )

Glad you'll be getting the annie dealt with soon...Relax with your family in the meantime and enjoy them, and try not to stress too much. Perhaps have the doc write you an RX for anxiety as well, I know it sure helped me get thru 'it'. Take care, Janet

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I wish I could help you out...I didn't work outside of the house...very blessed...I think you did the right thing and glad Doctor complied...if your anxiety continues, you may want to ask for some Xanax until the procedure...relax and try to get some extra exercise ... and some good funny movies....Colleen

Madds...I'd be mad, too...

Did the doc qualify it as the frontal lobe? And, left and/or right? If yes, search: frontal lobe anatomy

Was the artery/segment named / explained to you? W/those names, you can also search the anatomy...

You are so right to be close to home...Besides seeing a coiling specialist, will you be seeing a neurosurgeon for you to make your decision on which you would prefer...of course, based on their explanations and recommendations... for your decision...

I had three ER over 29 days..much between the first two...When finally diagnosed, the size was 6mm... confirmed by the discharge record...

Wishes and prayers that you will follow your inclination/decision to be at home with your family ...

Can you consider some yoga deep breathing to help relax? Some very mild body, not head, massage?

Ask your docs about those potentials for relaxing...do not jump into them w/o the docs opinion/approval...

Hey, for a tiny smile(?)...you may be protecting your work associates from shock, first-aid and 911...prayers they all thank you for that...my personal opinion is that you should not be commuting...especially driving...

again ask your doc about driving...

Pat


I was struggling to work with double vision, tiredness and headaches, but not thinking I had a good enough reason to go off sick (I could still walk and talk!). Then, when I had the MRA and a giant aneurysm was found I felt I had a good reason for my symptoms and it was quite reasonable to go off sick. In fact,my symptoms were progressive and I was near the point of being unable to drive or cope with reading at work so I wouldn't have lasted much longer even without the diagnosis. The first week day after the scan I saw a solicitor to write my will and I spent time getting my affairs sorted, seeing family and friends and getting info together for my partner and family, just in case it all went horribly wrong. Praise God, none of that was required! There was definitely an anxiety element, knowing the diagnosis, but most of my symptoms were related to the aneurysm position and size. I had angios and coiling within a month from diagnosis and because of some cognitive difficulties I have not managed to get back to work. I am glad I went off sick when I did and I'm also glad that I tried really hard to get back into work a few months later. Health is more important than work!

Thanks so much to everyone that took the time to reply. I was back at the doc today as he finally received the radiologist's detailed report and he extended my sick note to Aug 19 - by then he will have the neurosurgeon's report and will know how much longer to extend it.

The one thing the doc did with me, and which I truly appreciated, is he got me to self-identify the source of my personal physical stress at the moment. He encouraged me to say what was really on my mind - I had been saying that I was worried about my family and also possibly being a burden to them. Turns out that what I am really worried about and not saying to anyone is that I am scared that this thing is going to explode in my head and no one will know what to do for me. He validated my concerns and then pointed out that I am always with a family member and that all of them know exactly what to do if the time bomb does go off.

Anyway, I feel so much better emotionally - crikey, those emotions sure can be a roller coaster! I think I will try comedy to calm them down before adding another pill to my regime.

Sure glad you are all at the other end . . .

Blessings,

Madds

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Ah Thanks for the update Madds...this is so true...so much of this is an emotional roller coaster...

I am a new member… don’t know quite what to do with the news of an unruptured 6mm Annie by my primary care physician on an MRI due to vertigo… Maybe I am still in shock? So I scheduled an appointment with neurosurgeon for Jan 5th. I have continued working half days but am scared and nervous. Not sure if I should take off work all together until January. I work fixing computer problems in a support environment. What have others done. I joined this board to learn from all your wisdom and experiences. I thank you for sharing and your responses.

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Welcome @Beiba1965 to our group! If you don’t get a lot of replies, try starting a new topic as this one was created in 2013. Most of our members continue working with an unruptured aneurysm. Sometimes it’s a matter of financial need, or not having enough vacation time. Or perhaps they find work helps to release stress, it’s depended t upon each individual and their situation.

Having fear and being nervous are quite common with the unknown, remember to breathe.

In my experience, sometimes the Radiologists get it wrong. I always wait for my Neurosurgeon to tell me what the images say. I would suggest you enjoy the holiday season best you can and wait for the Neurosurgeon’s advice. Have a lot of questions written down, I began with hand written questions, then to using my smart phone and learned to just hand it to my Neurosurgeon as it’s faster for her to read and answer then for me to ask. With her wonderful NP she has now, I typically use my patient portal so they both know what I’m going to ask before the appointment. For me, this is working out the best. I hope she keeps the NP!

I would also suggest you review all of these https://www.bafsupport.org/c/patient-self-advocacy/how-to-self-advocate-and-be-heard/38. They are a wealth of information with a lot of common sense thrown in. Above all else when the Neurosurgeon says something, don’t shake your head in agreement if you truly don’t understand. Be honest if you don’t know. I was fortunate in having learned the brain in college so when she started talking about the Circle of Willis, I knew where and what it was. She is more than willing to teach if asked, after all she teaches med students and MDs trying to get through their Neurosurgeon classes. I also had to learn to suck it up and tell her when I was scared, frustrated, etc. She met my brain before we met is what I like to say, so there was a learning curve with both of us.

If you have any questions about navigating the site, let me or the Mod Squad know and we will help you out.

Hey Beiba,
That shock and that fear… that’s pretty normal. It takes time to process it all and if anybody ever tells you ‘That’s easy’ to do, they have never been here themselves.

Personally, I need to keep myself occupied. If I had time to sit and think about it all I’d drive myself (and everybody else around me) absolutely bonkers. I’ve required a few neurosurgeries. The first was an emergency, so it all sort of happened around me. But the 2nd was planned and I had a month of wait from the consult until surgery. That month was the longest month of my life and I got myself into such a state, stressed out to the max. I’m sure my wife was pleased when they finally knocked me out… …Ahh peace at last.

The next surgery was a few years later and I’d learnt from before and kept working right up to the day I was to be admitted (I actually called the hospital from work to confirm the appointment for the following day, only to be told I should have already been admitted, ready for surgery the following day. DOH). I didn’t have the time to overthink things as I was flat out working, then it was a mad rush to get to the hospital, so again no time to stop and think. For me, this was best.

I think everybody has their own way of processing it. Some can be very factual ‘It’s all up to the medicos from here’ some can be very questioning ‘What if ‘this’ happens or what if ‘that’ happens?’. I’ve done both and the ‘factual’ path is much less stressful for all involved, especially you. I think we all have some level of ‘What if…?’ prior, but if you can hand it all to the medicos and accept that it’s all outside of your control, the whole process can be a little less daunting. Well, that’s my experience anyway.

We are always here if you need a chat, just send us a message.
Best of luck with it all and please let us know how it all goes.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

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Hello @Beiba1965
Welcome to our group that no one would like to be a member of. But here we are, trying to hold each other up. I have no advice about if you should work or not. Maybe that will help you emotionally focusing on your job while you are waiting for the appointment.
I walked around with an aneurysm without knowing. I had no symptoms before the day it ruptured and I was alone at home. Thankfully I was talking to one of my sons on the phone when it happened so he was able to get hold of my husband and call for an ambulance. I didn’t have time to react, it hit me so quick. As you can understand , I survived. Fast forward, I was recommended a second procedure to take place six months later to try to completely close the aneurysm with a stent and more coils. I can tell you that I was very anxious about it even if I knew that this was the right thing for me to do. I couldn’t live with the knowledge that it could rupture again, and my neurosurgeon had told me that if it does, my chances of survival was almost zero.
I started to read many research papers, being a retired healthcare worker myself, but what helped me the most in processing my thoughts was what people in this group had gone through. If they can do it, so can I…… When I made my decision about the surgery, I came to some sort of peace.
The procedure was done, it was not as bad as I had imagined and for me, I stayed overnight and got home in the afternoon after the procedure. My neurosurgeon has told me that he doesn’t think I need to have another surgery in the future. If I do, I think I will be less anxious.
Everyone is different, depending on the location, shape and size of the aneurysm. Listen carefully to your doctor. If you can bring someone with you to the appointment, two sets of ears is usually better than one. It is sometimes hard to remember and process information being a patient and we are in shock.
If the aneurysm is treatable and you decide to have it done, I’m sure it will save you a lot of trouble and worries for the rest of your life. But that is a decision you have to make with your doctor.
In the meantime, read our stories in this forum. Get your papers and financial papers together and share it with a family member when the time is right.
We are thinking of you. Best of luck. We are here together.

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Hi @Beiba1965

Welcome to BAFsupport! I’m a stranger from a different support community because I’ve got something called an arteriovenous malformation which is where one of my arteries joins directly to a vein without going through a capillary bed. As such, it gave me a risk of a rupture in a similar way to an aneurysm because the blood flows too quickly into the vein and the vein isn’t as strong as the artery.

I had to wait from my initial diagnosis in August 2016 until April 2017 before I had an operation to glue up the join and I can honestly say that your world falls apart with a diagnosis like this. It does.

I carried on working. The weird blood flow was making me dizzy and I was struggling to sleep with the dizziness but I felt that being at work among other people was safer for me than being alone at home: if I suddenly started to inspect the carpet really closely or make less sense than usual, people would dial for an ambulance. I bought myself a medical bracelet and put my name, date of birth, hospital number, my condition and my wife’s phone number on the band and that helped me to relax and think that people would more quickly put two and two together.

I also told my work colleagues about my condition for the same reasons of wanting to be scraped off the floor that bit quicker.

I agree with Merl that keeping your mind busy rather than having nothing else to think about is very helpful.

I guess you’ve had your initial consult with the doc. Did that give you any more questions? Is there anything they talked to you about that we can help understand a bit better?

Hope you’re doing ok.

Best wishes,

Richard

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