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Holly - My Story


So appreciate everyone sharing their story on this Forum as only two weeks ago I was in the middle of a high intensity spin class when my headache came on. I immediately knew something was very wrong since I do not regularly have headaches. I clipped out and ran to my car to call my husband and drive home as it was about 6am. His father is a radiologist and his mother has had an aneurysm which she also described as the worst headache in her life so I knew something was really wrong. I am a very fit and healthy 43 year old, non smoker with no problems in regards to blood pressure.


Upon arriving to hospital we did a CT scan which showed I had a small amount of bleeding in my brain. My mother-in-laws neuro surgeon strongly suggested an angiogram which showed no aneurysm. An MRI was also done which was normal. Morphine and Hydrocodone helped tremendously and I stayed in ICU for 3 days being closely monitored. I wasn't ever sick or dizzy or did I ever experience anything other than neck and head pain which I was able to control with pain medicine.


My neurosurgeon discharged me on day 3 as he felt I would be better off recovering from home than in hospital. Everything everyone says is that there will be no chance for a re-bleed as these do not happen twice in one life. I'm emotionally having a very difficult time believing this. I just (at two weeks) had a repeat MRI and an MRA and both were normal and healthy. I just still can't believe this won't happen again.


I got off pain medication on that third day and because my body was incredibly sore the following week I started taking 4 advil every 6 hours which helped and now at week two my body is not aching but slight headaches are coming back daily. I'm planning to take another week or two off completely from business and I'm having 2-3 massages a week to relax which do seem to help.


One thing that is bothering me is that I have a dull pain on the top right of my head when you touch it and the doctors say it is not related to this at all and likely stress. It has been going on for 3 months which is why its most concerning and hard for me to believe that it isn't related. It feels similar to how you feel when you bump your head on a cabinet and then for several days its tender --not a headache, just tender spot on head.


Would love hearing from anyone that is further out than I am in recovery and suffered from a similar experience. Again, thank you for sharing your stories --super appreciated!

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Hi Holly :)

A very warm welcome to BTG!

Thank you for sharing your story.


I know in the early stages and for quite some time, I was very scared it would happen again. Nearly 8 years on I am still here, it does get better :)

I was a very healthy 45 year old. Never ill. A complete shock, that turned my whole life upside down.

I remember having a tender spot on the top of my head, but that was from an EVD drain I had there from surgery. Yours could well be from stress, but If you are still worried go back to see your Consultant.


When you have a life changing event, it makes you question things and look at life differently. Its very early days for you and it is a good thing you are taking a week or two off completely from business. Maybe you need to consider taking even more time off ?

You have had a bleed in your brain, a huge trauma, you will need to rest up, drink plenty of water and take it easy to allow your brain to recover.


Wishing you well with your recovery and look forward to hearing more from you.

Take care

Tina xx

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Holly your story is similar to mine. I was working from home (alone) when the worst headache I've ever had (and I've had plenty) but this one was so different. Sounds were different- almost muttled, colors were not the same. Then within minutes of the headache I started to violently throw up and could not stop.

Long story short I was found to have a Non Aneurysm Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. Spent the next 2 weeks in ICU (no memory of any of it at all), then to rehab for a few days. Stayed home for 3 months.

Tried to return to work- after a few months of that I realized I could not remember anything that I could before- asked my neurosurgeion about it and THEN he ordered a neuro-physc evaluation.

I pretty much failed it terribly. I was told that I was not capable of working and should be on full term disabiltiy.  So my life has drasically changed. 
I do wish you the best.

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Hi Holly,


I can only tell you what surgeon said to me, after a SaH.

I saw him a year after shunt had been put in and he said do not Stress and if you are anxious about anything go to Docs and he'll refer me to hospital.

I had my last  MRI in 2011 and apart from walking I feel fine but it all takes time.  Good luck in your recovery and if you feel ill do not hesitate to see Doc, as my Surgeon said Stress isn't good for us.


Good luck

VVin xx

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Holly, Hi and welcome to BTG. I had a very similar SAH to you. I spent 6 days in ICU but have no lingering motor, speech nor mental (as far as I know) impact. However, I have experienced bouts of anxiety that were never there before.


My Non-aneurysm SAH was in March of this year and I am back to full physical exercise as before - but there is an emotional component to my recovery that is still in process. I was given all clear by my neurosurgeon after 30 days. The anxiety attacks came later and have begun to diminish over time.


This forum gave me support and info that I never found anywhere else. Good luck on your recovery. John

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I am so glad I found this group.  I had an SAH April 2014.  No explanation no reason.  I also had a subsequent seizure that followed. I went to the ER with the first headache, spent 3 days in ICU.  They did a CTScan, and saw nothing, I think they missed it.  Went away to Summer cottage 250 miles from home, bam.....byfar the worse headache, yeah that thunderclap one.  Went to local community hospital, upon entering, I had a Grand Mal Seizure, they did CTScan and saw the bleed.


I was transferred to larger hospital, spent 3 days there, I wanted to get home, was put on nimodipine for 21 days and some pain meds, drove home, and went to neurologist.  He sent me directly to hospital.  Did CTScan, and MRI/MRA.  Signed consent forms for surgery, I was so happy when the neurosurgeon came in and did an angiogram first, phew, dodged the bullet on that one, there wasn't an aneurysm.  They have no clue what caused the SAH.  I still believe that it was from coughing, I had a horrible sinus infection and was coughing so bad when the first headache occurred.  


I have since had many headaches, not as bad, had a repeat MRI and Angiogram just a few months ago.  Everything neurological looks good, however, I am now having major Tinnitus and can not get any relief.  


Anyone know of a connection between a SAH and Tinnitus?  I sometimes also have a hard time getting my words out.  Seems my thoughts are there, but I can not get them out as fast as I used to.

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I just passed my one year anniversary for my SAH and I have had ringing in my ears since the bleed. I have good days and bad days with it. I have spoken to my doctors about it and I can't seem to get a direct answer. I think it is safe to assume it is related to my bleed because it wasn't there before. 

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