My story all began with the birth of my second son, August 18th 2009. I went in the Wednesday morning for a scheduled c-section, and received a spinal block. Everything went great. I had a happy, healthy baby boy and my recovery was going wonderfully. I was up and going and actually feeling great.
On Thursday afternoon, I was allowed to go home with my baby boy and I was so happy to finally be together with my 5 year old too. He was a bit jaundiced, so we had a follow up on Saturday with his pediatrician.
Friday came, and at lunch, I was totally spent. I took a nap, and when I woke up, my brother in law was there to visit. My head was killing me, and as time progressed with our visit, it increasingly got worse. I got in a hot shower, which helped some to relieve the pain in my neck. But the intensity only kept growing.
I tried to lay down, and it began to hurt worse, to the point to where I am now crying. I can remember lying there telling myself I was being a drama queen. It was just a headache.... why are you crying. Suck it up buttercup.
Finally, I got out of the bed and complained to my husband which saw the tears and new I was hurting bad. I have a very high tolerance for pain and he knows it. He tried his best to make me feel better. I took some pain meds that I had been given for the surgery. The only way I could get any relief at all, was to get on my knees and push my head as hard as I could, into the couch.
I honestly do not know if I fell asleep or if I passed out. The next morning I awoke still with the horrible pain in my head and neck. We took baby boy to the doctor and my husband was talking to the pediatrician about me. We checked my BP and it was through the roof. Mine is always on the low side.
He called my parents to come and get the kids, and we went to the ER. There I was admitted and the ran a CT scan, and gave me pain meds while we waited on results. They did nothing for the pain. The doctor came in, and told me that the CT scan showed a massive spot on my brain, that he thought could possibly be cancer, and he was calling in a neurosurgeon.He gave me another dose of pain meds which was 7 times more powerful than morphine. It did nothing for the pain.
My world stood still.Those are words, that as a mother, I never wanted to hear. BRAIN CANCER. Right then and there I decided to fight. They ran more test and admitted me over night, and the next morning a new doctor came in and told me that I had a SAH. He asked all about the birth of my child and was shocked that it went so easy. He did not understand what caused this, or why I was still at 100% neurologically.
Baffled, after 3 days and much begging from me wanting to be with my newborn, he let me go home. Once there, I spiked a high fever. So, less than 24 hours home, back we went. I was taken to the ER and my neurologist ordered a battery of test for the ER doc to do.
I was sent for an angiogram. I had no idea what it was. They explained it, asked me to get naked (Remember I just had a baby) and began the procedure. They told me I wouldn't feel it , that the worst part would be the numbing med . They lied. I felt every movement as that they snaked the tube through my body and into my brain. Every beep, struck fear as the pain of the dye ran through my veins. I still remember the sound, the smell, the taste, the pain.
I came back to my room lying on my side, crying uncontrollably. My husband said I looked like I had been to war . He could see the PTSD all over me and wondered what the hell they had done to me.
In enters the ER doc , telling me I have to have a spinal tap. Normally they are performed sitting up, but since I had just had the angiogram, I had to lay on my side curled up. Two big fat nurses came and layed on me, holding me down, while he began to DIG in my spine . I will never forget that searing pain as long as I live. I began to pray and beg and plead with him to please stop.
After 10 attempts, he finally did.
I was sent to radiology where they used imaging to find the right spot. I remember telling the guy, sobbing , in some not so nice words, that he had one shot. I didn't even feel it and before I knew it , I had fluid pouring from my spine.
The whole time, my OBGYN was in constant contact with the doctors, and he made the decision to send me to another hospital by ambulance 2 more hours away from my children. I thought I was going to die and never get to hold my sons again, or say goodbye.
They put me on meds that were high powered antibiotics, just incase I had menengitis , which I didn't. This hospital was a teaching hospital and they came in and out, everyone wanting to run more test and put me back through hell. I put my foot down and said , NO. Get my test from the other hospital.
After several days, I was discharged and sent home with BP meds. I was home again less than 24 hours and guess what...back to the ER. I was admitted again, and this time I stayed for 3 weeks.I also had to receive a blood patch to repair the puncture holes in my spine. I remember the gasp and the doctor who performed the bloodpatch actually cried as she looked at my spine.
By the time I got home and stayed home, I had been away from my newborn that I left only 3 days old, and he was a month and a half old.
My milk had dried up, I was so full of meds anyway, and I felt totally useless.
I did however jump back in there right away. Recovery was hard because my husband had to go back to work a week after we were back home. Here I had this tiny baby and a 5 year old who had just started school. There were days that I would fall asleep in the pickup line.
After the first year, things were getting better, but I still had a constant headache, which I was getting used to always being there. My energy was returning , but I still had horrible nightmares and sudden flashbacks. I was having panic attacks. My personality has changed . My tolerance for stress and noise has changed.
This is 4 years out, I still have these problems, and had no idea where they were coming from. I know nothing other than the technical side of what a SAH is. Finally, my husband listened when I said , I felt like something was broken. He somehow found this site and began reading and learning.
The next morning, he began to talk to me about this site. At first, I was angry, but then I listened to what he was saying. Story after story that sounded as if I had written them myself. He told me he was so sorry. That he had no idea what I had been dealing with and how strong I actually had been through it all. He knew we were blessed, but had no idea how bad it could have been. He told me how incredibly proud he is of me and actually used the word "My Hero", for showing such strength and holding our family together.
I about lost it. I began slowly digging into the site, and I will be flat honest, this has been a life saver for me. You can only be strong for so long before you feel alone, crazy and just plain want to give up. This gives me hope, and pride in myself, and it makes me want to reach out to those of you who are going through the same thing, and share my testimony. I want to hold your hand and help in anyway I can, so that you do not feel alone , lost or hopeless.
I never said my story was short. I have had 4 years for it to grow. I leave you with the hope and knowledge that one day, happy will return, and as long as you do not give up, and as long as you roll with both the good and the bad, everyday we get closer to being better.