January 5, 2012. I was recovering from cancer surgery when my NASAH hit. I was resting in bed one morning with a cup of tea when I thought I might venture out to the kitchen for another cup. When I walked into the kitchen I remember feeling a sensation on the right side of my neck and head accompanied by a moderate amount of pain. I thought perhaps I had slept funny and had a crick in my neck, but the pain was worsening by the minute.I attempted to pour the tea to take some pain medication and noticed I was shaking.
I went to find my husband, who was packing and storing away the Christmas decorations in the downstairs crawl. I told him something was wrong and I needed him to call an ambulance. The ambulance took 10 minutes to arrive and in that time I was sweating profusely, vomiting and was blinded by pain unlike anything I had ever experienced.
A 30 minute trip to the Emergency at the nearest hospital, then the CT scan that diagnosed a large bleed in the right parietal lobe of my brain. I waited for transportation by ambulance to the nearest large centre with a neurology department.
10 days in critical care ward and numerous tests. Low stimulation, plenty of morphine, anti-seizure meds, and constant monitoring before a transfer back to the stroke recovery ward of the first hospital. Luckily, no surgery was necessary as the source of the bleed couldn't be located, but it had stopped on it's own.
After a total of three weeks in hospital, I was released. The highlight of my hospital stay was my cancer surgeon giving me the good news that my cancer had not spread beyond the tumor site. Although good news, I still had to become strong enough to attend treatment within the timeframe that was necessary to treat cancer after the surgery.
Recovery areas focused on my sensory part of my brain function - basics like learning to balance to walk; my vision, hearing and sense of touch were all affected. Mainly I was in a weakened state and had lost a lot of weight (I am a small person to start with). My brain, besides being in a state of 10/10 on the pain scale, was like a computer in power down mode.
I could recall basics, but not much more. I liken it to a filing cabinet that was tipped over - all of the files and their contents spilled out. I had to right the cabinet, then start the process of picking up the files and sorting all the papers out. Once something was back in it's rightful place, it remained there. Luckily, I had no lasting effects.
At about the 5 week mark, the pain suddenly subsided - it just stopped, although I had three incidents of 10 hour headaches the following couple of weeks, likely the result of the blood breaking down in the spinal fluid. The doctor called these headaches a chemical meningitis. No medication touched them, but I found sitting up to change my posture helpful.
The remaining issues resolved shortly after and I regained my physical strength back gradually. I was cleared to drive as I had no seizures. I returned to most my sports and activities by June (hiking, biking and golf), then returned to work part time. I was back to skiing and curling by that winter and weight training soon after. The only limitation I had was no heavy weight lifting for one year.
Oh, that cancer of mine - I took 5 weeks of radiation in April and May of 2012 and kicked it's butt!! I'm all clear, but on checkups every six months for the next few years.
Happy New Year to all for 2015!