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My Story - Charlotte-Anne


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On the 28th March 2010 I was at my boyfriends and I suddenly felt really strange. My hands had pins and needles in and I had a strange headache, like no headache I had felt before. Apparently I then had a fit. When I came round I remember sweating and then I was sick loads, so my boyfriend took me to the hospital.

There I continued to be sick and my head was still throbbing, I have never felt a headache like it. I remember thinking, 'I'm dying' but it felt so surreal. The last thing I remember is being taken into a consultation room and sitting on a bed. Apparently I had another fit, and when I was hooked up to the heart monitor, my heart rate had dropped to around 40.

The doctor tried to send me home saying I had a migraine! Personally I’ve never heard of having a fit when you just have a migraine. Luckily my boyfriend argued this point and they gave me a CT scan in which they discovered I had a SAH. So I was rushed to Oxford hospital where I was operated on in the early hours of the morning and was in intensive care on life support. The doctors told my parents if I was lucky to survive the night I would have an operation 2 days later to clip the artery.

On the Tuesday I had the operation to repair the damage, and remained in intensive care for a further 7 days. I went to HDU for a further 10 days where they made me walk and eat for the first time in 3 weeks as I had lost a stone and a half. I remember nothing.

I then got transferred to my local hospital on the stroke unit and was surrounded by 80 year olds which was difficult being 21. This is when my short term memory started to come back.

I was home within a week and my short time memory got better everyday but it took months before I realised how serious it had been. I had my good days and my bad days and slept an awful lot, between taking painkillers every 4 hours for headaches. I got a rush to the head every time I stood up. I suffered with bad anxiety and the sight in my left eye was impaired, I had a haemorrhage in my eye which was causing my vision to be blurred, I was partially blind but slowly over time it has corrected itself. Being so young my friends struggled to understand what i was going through, I looked ok so what was the problem.

In November, 8 months after my SAH, things started to look up. I got my driving licence back, and returned to work part time. It felt like I was finally putting everything behind me. Until one snowy day in late November when my legs started to feel heavy. I though it was the weather which had turned cold due to the snow. But a week later they seemed to be getting heavier and people were commenting on my walking. I couldn’t understand how this could possibly have anything to do with my SAH, but my mother insisted on taking me back to the John Radcliffe.

After hours in A&E I was seen by a doctor who examined me thoroughly. He stuck a needle into my stomach, legs & arms. The only time I could feel it was in my arms. Panic rose within the room and I was sent for a CT & MRI scan. After staying over night I was greeted at 8am by four surgeons who after examining my scans, explained that the bleeding from my SAH had scarred my spine, which had now reacted and was pressing on my spine, causing my walking to be effected. I would need a laminectomy to remove part of my spine to create more room for the scaring.

So on my 22nd birthday I had the laminectomy on my cervical spine. Sitting up the next day was agony, but within a week I was more than ready to come home. My walking was still a little slow but the doctors were happy for me to return home for Christmas. Nothing could have prepared me for what was to come.

I was put on steroids so Christmas was spent eating much more than usual! I was waking in the night just to eat. However, over the next few days my walking deteriorated and i returned to John Radcliffe once more for another MRI. The first operation had been successful, however more work was needed. So on January 4th 2011 I had another spinal operation.

It’s been 3 months now and I have to walk with a frame, I can't walk far and its hard work. I don’t know what the end result will be and right now everyday is a struggle. Fingers crossed this week I am going to stay at a rehabilitation centre for intense physio.

I'm sorry this is so long; my story is not a simple case of a SAH.

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Welcome and thank you for posting your story.You have been through a huge life change and am amzed you are so well grounded , well done you !

I really do hope you keep positive and strong and that things go really well for you.

Never give up Charlott-Anne always have hope and believe anything is possible!

Big Hugs x

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Welcome to the site Charlotte-Ann, I'm glad you found us. This site is a good place for support. It must be so deflating to have felt like you were getting better only to have two more surgeries to have to come back from. Physiotherapy is a good thing to get you moving again. I wonder if it helps that you are so young, is the body more resilient at 22? I really don't know the answer to that. It must take all your energy to stay motivated and enthusiastic about your recovery when you've had two major set backs. And thats no way to spend a 22nd birthday! It's necessary to try and keep your spirits up and keep moving though. You have to keep moving and keep trying.

Sandi K. Xo

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A Big welcome to BTG. Your story is astounding.

You have been very brave and at such a young age. Stay mentslly strong and stay in touch.

There are fantastic people on this site who can help you every step of the way

Much love and Regards

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Hi Charlotte-anne

Sorry to hear that you have been through so much at such a young age, I hope the physio helps, I am a great fan of physio so I am sure it will help you loads, even though it is quite hard work, it is worth it. :)

Vivien x

Edited by Vivien
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Hi Charlotte- Anne :) a very warm welcome to BTG.....wow you really have been through it and so young too. Never give up as the others have said ! I wish you well with your recovery and look forward to hearing more from you. Take care xx

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Hi, I can’t believe the registrars in casualty dismissing it as a migraine…heavens, what were they thinking??! Or not, as in this case!

What a series of traumatic events, but still you sound as though you’re in control. Thank god, you are being sent to rehab for intensive physio as this will be the ‘way to go’!

You are so young, my daughter’s nearly your age. I hope you have good and wise, supportive friends who understand and are there for you. It’s difficult at any age believe me, to be understood by your friends, but possibly more being so young…I just don’t know!

Once they’ve put right your walking, you will have to keep this up…perhaps take an interest in rambling; borrow a dog to take with you as this will keep up your motivation to keep physically active, and this way you’ll soon be back on form again!

Good Luck on a speedy recovery!


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Hi Charlotte-Anne

Wow, you really have been through it haven't you. I know it may sound blaise when we say that you are young and more resilient, but there is a lot of truth to it. I was 35 when I had my SAH and if wasn't for me being stubborn I don't think I would have recovered as well as I have done.

The physio is sure to help as it'll strengthen weakened muscles and hopefully help with the movement for your spine.

You've been to hell and back hun, but you've done the hardest part really. Just concentrate on getting your strength back and working hard in physio.

If you need to talk about anything or just let off some steam or vent some frustration, we're all here to listen.

Take care of you hun, look forward to getting to know you more.

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  • 1 month later...

hello everybody,

thankyou for your kind, encourging messages, Im very glad I found this site. i have been in rehab for a month now, and it took me a while to get settled but I now enjoy chatting to others who are in a similar situation.

there is no denying that everyday is a struggle, and i get fed up but I WILL walk again, because i won't give up until i do!!!

i visited my surgeon 3 weeks ago and he said there is no reason why i wont walk again, but i have a mountain to climb and nobody can say how long it will take, which is the most frustrating thing for me.

i miss the normal things we take for granted, but i will appreciate them when I can do them again!

keep strong everybody. a quote that helps me when i'm down: 'Pain is temporary, quitting last forever. Lance Armstrong xx

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Hi Charlotte-Anne

Its great to hear that you're upbeat, determined and positive. Hold on to it and keep going. It is a long road to recovery, but you can take as many pit-stops along the way as you need.

Good on you girl and I wish you all the best.

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Welcome to the site.Glad you were able to tell your story about your fight.

Keep positive, you will get. You sound as if you have a good family with you all the way.

Another family right here.

Take care,hugs.

Love Sonia xxxxxx Keep us posted when you can

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