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gemma

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About gemma

  • Rank
    New Member
  • Birthday 16/05/1979

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  • Biography
    Married, full time working and mum of one
  • Location
    Southend, Essex
  • Interests
    Gym
  • Occupation
    HR manager

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  1. gemma

    Hi - Sharon - new member

    Hi Sharon I didn't have a bleed or stroke either (just 1 anni clipped in December), and like yourself found the forum really useful and have been made to feel very welcome. Any kind of surgery is daunting, let alone to the brain and everyone on here understands that. I can totally appreciate why you're worried and why you would want to fight for annual MRIs, so I hope your consultant listens to your fears and can set them at ease. It seems you've been very brave having undergone 2 very scary planned procedures, so keep that strength going to help you get to, and way beyond, 'that age' xx
  2. gemma

    Hello, I'm Gemma

    I've popped a little (well quite long actually) update in the Untreated anni section for anyone who wants to see how I'm doing xx
  3. Hi everyone I have copied and pasted my original intro story in here, along with a little update at 7 weeks post op. I hope it helps someone xx I'm Gemma. I'm 34 and live near southend in essex with my husband and our three year old son. I work full time as a HR manager and have never had any serious medical conditions. In October 2013 I was diagnosed, by chance, with a brain aneurysm. I'm underwent coil embolisation in early December 2013 and recovered well. I was so surprised to have found an active forum like this one, i felt quite isolated, but there seems to be a great spirit of community, support, help, advice and lots of hope. I feel humbled by reading the (so far only few) posts of lots of incredibly serious and frightening stories and I admire each of you who's stories I've managed to read so far. And to be honest, I feel that mine has been so straight forward and relatively low impact compared to many others. But in any case, I would still like to share my experience and hope that I'm able to join the community as i still have lots of unanswered questions (like most!) and offer any support I can. In late August 2013, I was at work as normal, and well, feeling normal! Having just had a conversation with one of my staff, I suddenly felt like I was having a head rush. Seconds later this was followed by a sharpe pain in my head just above my right eye, with the pain 'exiting' behind my right ear. I then felt dizzy and disorientated, and my eyes began to 'sparkle'. Fortunately I remained upright and didn't pass out (I was on our manufacturing shop floor near machinery so that could have been quite a messy accident). I was taken outside and escorted back to my office. The sharpe pain subsided after about 20minutes, but the sparkling in my sight remained and another, band like, headache formed. I came home and slept for a while. The next day the band headache was still persisting and my sight still not right so I went to see my GP. Migraine, she said! So sent me off with a script for sumatriptan. I refused to take them as I suspected I might be pregnant (turns out fortunately I wasn't) and suffered the headache for a further three days. I felt like I'd been kicked repeatedly in the head, but after the few days it eased. However, my sight in my right eye didn't recover so well. After about two weeks of blurred vision I went back to my GP, who promptly told me off for not returning sooner! In any case, I was referred that same day to an eye specialist who performed numerous tests and checks on my sight. My vision was excellent so he suggested further neurological investigations, though it took him two weeks to inform my gp and a further week for my gp to act on this information! Being on the good will of the NHS at this point, and finding myself now in October, I decided to utilise my medical insurance and went private. So I guess this is where my story may differ to a lot of other people's. A referral was made to a headache specialist, who saw me on a Thursday. And after performing, again, numerous tests, decided that it was likely just a migraine and that it was just 'one of those things' that my sight still wasn't normal. However, and this was my godsend, he said he'd like to have an MRI done just to rule out anything else, which he suspected there wasn't! This was done the following Thursday morning with my results scheduled to be discussed the following week. That evening I received a phone call to return to see my specialist 'as a matter of urgency'! Well I guess you can imagine what was going through my mind, as I'm sure many of you have thought or been told the same. So off we go to see him and there he tells me about the aneurysm. He says they quite common and easily treated, so at the time I didn't really realise, or appreciate, the seriousness of the condition. I decided at the time not to google or research it too much in case I found something too scary, so just went with the flow in terms of my next referral. I was put in touch with an excellent consultant in a private hospital in London (st johns wood) called the wellington. The consultant is amazing. He also practices out of London and the barts hospitals and if anyone wants his name please pm me (not sure if I would be allowed to name and praise on the main forum?). He requested a slicing MRI which was squeezed in on the day of my first consultation (31 oct). My case was reviewed on 4 nov. on 5 nov I was back to see him with their views on my case and surgery etc. It was there that he explained that my aneurysm was unusual, and quite rare. It was a daughter aneurysm. My berry shape had further stretched and formed a bubble, so instead of looking like a berry, it was more like a Russian doll /hour glass. Whilst the width was only 6.7mm, the overall length was well over 10mm. It appears my initial headache was no migraine, it was my aneurysm expanding and stretching! i was so lucky it hadn't ruptured. So coiling was recommended. I met my neuroradiologist on 7 nov and was scheduled for my op on 4 dec. Again he's a fantastic specialist, and lead consultant at barts. .... Apologies here, I didn't realise I was writing war and peace, sorry its become such a long post! I will try to shorten the rest .... One week prior to surgery, went on a course of asprin, and will remain on that for three months post op. Ok. So op day, and recovery.... My op was at midday. I was able to walk to the theatre where I was presented a heck of a lot of advance medical equipment! 4 tv screens, a ct scanner, the actual robotic arms he'd be using (instead of actually physically feeding in the lines, coils, etc) and lots of other typical stuff, I would assume! Anyway, I digress... I woke at 4.30pm in IC as planned. I had to remaine lying flat for six hours, as planned. I was able to sit up, albeit groggily and with nausea, at 10pm. I slept from midnight until 7.30am, which my IC nurse joked was unusually good! At 1pm I was taken to my ward/room and was up on my feet by 2pm, and showered shortly afterwards! I spent a further two night in, again as planned, and was discharged. I have mild occasional head pain, right where I think the aneurysm might be. It's a bit like something in there is twisting,, but I've been told to expect this. I've also had a couple of minor side effects of being operated on, but nothing severe or linked to the Anni. I will have MRIs at three and six months post op, just to be sure the coils have settled etc. form there we will be able to relax a bit I should think ... And hope! I'm now looking forward to being able to pick up my little boy again, and have his on my lap for cuddles (something I took for granted before) and to getting back to what I hope will be normal family life for us. As I said above, my experience has been extremely mild compared to so many others, and whilst I'm grateful for that, I'm also in awe of how strong you must all be to still be here today, sharing your experiences and giving so much advice to others like myself. Oh, I'm not sure where to add this, but I will have to have further surgery in a couple of years time. Unfortunately for me, the neck of the aneurysm is quite wide and requires a stent. However, because of my age (childbearing) and our desire for more children, my surgeon suggested not doing that time time around. I am lucky in that I am not in any of the risk factors so he was content to leave me be for now. [/u]I'm now at 7 weeks post op:[/u] In the weeks after my intro post above, I continued to recover well. I was able to start driving again at two weeks post-op without problem (although I am under investigation with the DVLA which I understand is procedural). I began lifting my little boy at around 4/5 weeks post op and whilst my leg was sore to start, it has healed about 90%, and I just get the occasional twinge or ache when I've stood/walked too long. I've not had many headaches, and those that have come have been righted with paracetamol. I returned back to work (a desk job) on my normal full time (35) hours last week (so just under 6 weeks post op). I have a little tiredness and have found my immune system is being tested with a recent dose of toncilitis and a head cold, but other than that I've been fine. And to be honest, January isn't normally a great month for me with lots of germs floating around! I am looking at getting back to the gym for some light excercise early Feb. I will make sure I start with low impact sessions (& probably only go once a week to begin with anyway) before steadily increasing the sessions, in line with my strength. I've got to say that this experience and condition does shed new light on life. I've found that I'm a tad more selfish, but no longer sweat the small stuff. It also gives me the drive for more happiness with the little things that I found my self to be too busy for. Anyway, I've probably rambled on far too long again. But hope, as I said at the very begining, that my story helps someone out there xx
  4. gemma

    Hello, I'm Gemma

    Thank you winb143, that's great advice. Sounds like you had a terrible time, but have come through it all a positive and strong person. Gill, are you a similar ish age? I must admit I was anxious to get home, knowing how much hard work my little boy is, but its worth every second of tiredness for those lovely cuddles isn't it? Thank you and best wishes for 2014 to you too x
  5. gemma

    Hi, I'm Chloé...

    Can understand where you're coming from on the staying at home front, you need to be in familiar surroundings and on your own timetable! I'm dreading going to family as they're quite an exhausting bunch, let alone when you're not feeling quite as energetic as usual. But they're promised me I can go and nap if I need to and to come and go when I'm ready. I take it your partners cooking is better than my husbands (he'd only be able to muster up scrambled egg haha). I hope you have a lovely time, but I'm quite sure we will be in touch before then, I'm feeling quite drawn to this forum already. X
  6. gemma

    Hi, I'm Chloé...

    Hey Chloe, Wow, I've just read your story. How frightening for you, particularly being so far away from home. Although I'm a few years older than you, I still feel quite young to have been diagnosed with a BA and the consultants tend to think the younger you are the quicker you recover. But it's not necessarily the case, everyone is different. That said I sympathise with your desire to get back to normal. I too think of myself as a fit and active person. I went to the gym regularly, worked full time and am a mum of a three year old. Being told I couldn't exercise or go to work prior to my op was baffling because there was nothing physically wrong with me!! However, it was precautionary and now understand the reasoning behind it. I guess what I'm trying to say is to listen to your body .... There will be no exact timescale to work to, just keep resting, follow your instinct and taking each day as it comes. Did you get anywhere with your query about sick pay and benefits? I'm a hr manager so if you want any further help about employment, feel free to pm me, I might be able to point you in the right direction. In the meantime I wish you a restful few days before you see your GP again. Take care X
  7. gemma

    Hello, I'm Gemma

    Thanks for your quick replies Sarah, yes it's definitely therapeutic jotting all this down .... I certainly could have written a lot more, but I thought it best to keep it tame until I've settled in lol. Daffodil, have to laugh, even at 34 i felt old! Mind you I'm grateful of the modern medicine and the younger generation driving the change, giving us less invasive surgeries and reducing risks Thank you Chloe, yes water is something i was great at whilst at work, but its lapsed somewhat these days .... Will skip off now to fill up my water bottle xx
  8. gemma

    Hello, I'm Gemma

    Hi everyone I'm Gemma. I'm 34 and live near southend in essex with my husband and our three year old son. I work full time as a HR manager and have never had any serious medical conditions. In October this year I was diagnosed, by chance, with a brain aneurysm. I'm now two weeks post coil embolisation and recovering well. I was so surprised to have found an active forum like this one, i felt quite isolated, but there seems to be a great spirit of community, support, help, advice and lots of hope. I feel humbled by reading the (so far only few) posts of lots of incredibly serious and frightening stories and I admire each of you who's stories I've managed to read so far. And to be honest, I feel that mine has been so straight forward and relatively low impact compared to many others. But in any case, I would still like to share my experience and hope that I'm able to join the community as i still have lots of unanswered questions (like most!) and offer any support I can. In late August 2013, I was at work as normal, and well, feeling normal! Having just had a conversation with one of my staff, I suddenly felt like I was having a head rush. Seconds later this was followed by a sharpe pain in my head just above my right eye, with the pain 'exiting' behind my right ear. I then felt dizzy and disorientated, and my eyes began to 'sparkle'. Fortunately I remained upright and didn't pass out (I was on our manufacturing shop floor near machinery so that could have been quite a messy accident). I was taken outside and escorted back to my office. The sharpe pain subsided after about 20minutes, but the sparkling in my sight remained and another, band like, headache formed. I came home and slept for a while. The next day the band headache was still persisting and my sight still not right so I went to see my GP. Migraine, she said! So sent me off with a script for sumatriptan. I refused to take them as I suspected I might be pregnant (turns out fortunately I wasn't) and suffered the headache for a further three days. I felt like I'd been kicked repeatedly in the head, but after the few days it eased. However, my sight in my right eye didn't recover so well. After about two weeks of blurred vision I went back to my GP, who promptly told me off for not returning sooner! In any case, I was referred that same day to an eye specialist who performed numerous tests and checks on my sight. My vision was excellent so he suggested further neurological investigations, though i took him two weeks to inform my gp and a further week for my gp to act on this information! Being on the good will of the NHS at this point, and finding myself now in October, I decided to utilise my medical insurance and went private. So I guess this is where my story may differ to a lot of other people's. A referral was made to a headache specialist, who saw me on a Thursday. And after performing, again, numerous tests, decided that it was likely just a migraine and that it was just 'one of those things' that my sight still wasn't normal. However, and this was my godsend, he said he'd like to have an MRI done just to rule out anything else, which he suspected there wasn't! This was done the following Thursday morning with my results scheduled to be discussed the following week. That evening I received a phone call to return to see my specialist 'as a matter of urgency'! Well I guess you can imagine what was going through my mind, as I'm sure many of you have thought or been told the same. So off we go to see him and there he tells me about the aneurysm. He says they quite common and easily treated, so at the time I didn't really realise, or appreciate, the seriousness of the condition. I decided at the time not to google or research it too much in case I found something too scary, so just went with the flow in terms of my next referral. I was put in touch with an excellent consultant in a private hospital in London (st johns wood) called the wellington. The consultant is amazing. He also practices out of London and the barts hospitals and if anyone wants his name please pm me (not sure if I would be allowed to name and praise on the main forum?). He requested a slicing MRI which was squeezed in on the day of my first consultation (31 oct). My case was reviewed on 4 nov. on 5 nov I was back to see him with their views on my case and surgery etc. It was there that he explained that my aneurysm was unusual, and quite rare. It was a daughter aneurysm. My berry shape had further stretched and formed a bubble, so instead of looking like a berry, it was more like a Russian doll /hour glass. Whilst the width was only 6.7mm, the overall length was well over 10mm. It appears my initial headache was no migraine, it was my aneurysm expanding and stretching! i was so lucky it hadn't ruptured. So coiling was recommended. I met my neuroradiologist on 7 nov and was scheduled for my op on 4 dec. Again he's a fantastic specialist, and lead consultant at barts. .... Apologies here, I didn't realise I was writing war and peace, sorry its become such a long post! I will try to shorten the rest .... One week prior to surgery, went on a course of asprin, and will remain on that for three months post op. Ok. So op day, and recovery.... My op was at midday. I was able to walk to the theatre where I was presented a heck of a lot of advance medical equipment! 4 tv screens, a ct scanner, the actual robotic arms he'd be using (instead of actually physically feeding in the lines, coils, etc) and lots of other typical stuff, I would assume! Anyway, I digress... I woke at 4.30pm in IC as planned. I had to remaine lying flat for six hours, as planned. I was able to sit up, albeit groggily and with nausea, at 10pm. I slept from midnight until 7.30am, which my IC nurse joked was unusually good! At 1pm I was taken to my ward/room and was up on my feet by 2pm, and showered shortly afterwards! I spent a further two night in, again as planned, and was discharged ten days ago. I have mild occasional head pain, right where I think the aneurysm might be. It's a bit like something in there is twisting,, but I've been told to expect this. I've also had a couple of minor side effects of being operated on, but nothing severe or linked to the BA. I will have MRIs at three and six months post op, just to be sure the coils have settled etc. form there we will be able to relax a bit I should think ... And hope! I'm now looking forward to being able to pick up my little boy again, and have his on my lap for cuddles (something I took for granted before) and to getting back to what I hope will be normal family life for us. As I said above, my experience has been extremely mild compared to so many others, and whilst I'm grateful for that, I'm also in awe of how strong you must all be to still be here today, sharing your experiences and giving so much advice to others like myself. Oh, I'm not sure where to add this, but I will have to have further surgery in a couple of years time. Unfortunately for me, the neck of the aneurysm is quite wide and requires a stent. However, because of my age (childbearing) and our desire for more children, my surgeon suggested not doing that time time around. I am lucky in that I am not in any of the risk factors so he was content to leave me be for now So I will be asking lots of questions over the next few weeks, months and possibly years lol. Phew, again sorry for the mammoth post, but thank you for reading. It's done a lot for me just being able to get this all down in writing and to be able to share it with people that understand xx
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