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Fit and active people who've had a NASAH - how did your recovery prgress ?


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I had a NASAH on 14th August 2011. I was out on my road bicycle, thinking how well I was going that afternoon, when WHAM !! Suddenly I had the most intense headache, I'd ever had. My first thought was de-hydration - so I stopped, drank some water, poured some over my head but it made absolutely no difference. In fact I was feeling worse. So I got back on my bike and started cycling back home. After 10 minutes or so, I thought, I really can't do this and got off and sat by the side of the road. I phoned my hubby who came and picked me up and took me home.

It was pretty clear that something was very wrong, my head hurt like heck and my neck was so painful. That was enough for the old man. Six years ago he had meningitus - which some of you will know is often characterised by painful and stiff neck. With some effort, I got changed out of the lycra (in hind sight that was quite some blessing !) into a t shirt and shorts and almost before I was aware I was in the car being driven by my hubby to our local A&E Department. The care there was great and within a couple of hours I was having my first ride in an ambulance to the Wessex Neurological Centre at Southampton General Hospital. This was where my hubby was six years earlier with meningitus. They looked after him so well that I knew I was in really safe hands.

Throughout the whole episode I never lost consciousness, and was always aware of my surroundings. It was just my head and neck were so painful and lying flat was the only thing I felt capable of doing. (I'm sure some of you also have bed pan stories but am I the only one who can't "go" lying down ?)

Another CT and angiogram scan followed and the Doctor pronounced there to be no abnormality and that what ever had caused the bleed had destroyed itself at the same time. Now it was all down to pain killers and time.

On 19th August 2011 they discharged me from Wessex to go home and continue my recovery ....... which is where I am now. And no need for a follow up, they said. Whilst that's really good news, I do have that slight sense of having been "cut adrift" despite having access to Wessex Neurological's Support group.

Most of my questions to those previously active people out there who have also had NASAH is regarding the pace and nature of recovery.

I am keen to get better but don't want to push too much, too soon. I know that's what we active types are in real danger of doing. I already found I have to be careful not to do too much concentrating because it tires me and then the headache gets worse. I'm doing a short walk each day, although I still walk with a sense of being a bit "remote" from others I may pass - oddly like a sense of being wrapped in cotton wool and not quite in the world. I assume this is quite normal at this early stage, but hope at some point that goes ?

Any words of wisdom that any of you can offer are very welcome !

Mags

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Hi Mags

Warm welcome to the site.

I had a full blown SAH so cant really say how long it will take you to get back to doing what you did, you are very early days so take things easy listen when your body want to rest, rest dont fight it.

hope you find the site useful

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Hi Mags & welcome to BTG, you are just down the road from me & i was treated at Wessex too (as were utSarah Lou & Karen). I'm a bit of an oddity cos I had an anni but by some miracle no bleed & was clipped. Most of my tiredness is as a result o I was the damage done during the op although the anni did damage some of my optic nerve.

I hate to say it but it really is a case of starting off slowly & building up as you feel comfy. When I was allowed out of bed a shower finished me off for the day & the first day home its 2 flights of stairs to our bedroom & I had to sit for about 15 mins for my heart to return to normal!!! Now I hardly notice the stairs or having a shower every day it's almost back to normal but sit me for 3 hours on the beach with lots of noise/heat/ligh & I can feel my brain starting to shut down around 3 hours. Do what you can but don't push your body beyond that as it really makes you feel worse at the end of the day.

Will you be attending the Wessex group next month? if so might see you there xx

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Hi Mags and welcome!

I had a bleed due to an aneurysm, but recovery experiences especially during the early weeks and months are pretty much the same with a brain haem. I was also treated at Wessex Neuro in Southampton.

Your level of fitness pre-SAH will probably help you with your recovery and there have been quite a few active people on here, that have experienced a SAH whilst exercising, on a bike, in the gym etc ..

I know what you mean about feeling a bit adrift when you leave hospital .... think that the majority of us felt that way and a bit abandoned as to what to expect. I don't think that the medics can tell you what you can expect, as everyone is so different and even though we all experience pretty similar physical problems, it's often the mental health side, such as anxiety and worrying whether it's going to happen again etc are the things that are perhaps brushed to the side and not dealt with.

However, knowing that you've been treated at Southampton and that they have specialist nurses there, never be worried about contacting them with a problem. I would imagine that you've seen your GP since the bleed, if not, then you need to make contact and go see them.

The cotton wool head and feeling remote is pretty typical for most of us in the early months ... I was told that it can take up to 3 months for the blood to fully dissipate down the spinal cord.

Do what you can and just be sensible for a while in order that the healing process can take place. In the coming weeks, you'll probably start to know how much you can or can't do, as your body will let you know if you're overdoing it and it's a sign to rest up.

Wishing you the very best...xx

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Hi Karen and Louise,

Thanks for your encouraging words. Its great to have some folks to compare notes with and feel I am not alone. Its pretty lonely this recovery, isn't it ? :-D

It is early days but I am pretty encouraged that each day I can see there is some improvement - and I haven't needed an afternoon nap for the last 2 days, although a lay down on the couch after my daily afternoon walk still feels like a wise thing to do.

If I can get a lift, or I feel able to drive the hour journey there and back, then I will try to be at the Wessex meeting on 17th Sept.

I've also got to have a gynae procedure soon for which I think they want to give me a general anaesthetic so that's a bit worrying. The proc isn't serious and the Doc & Specialist Nurse at Wessex said it would be fine, but you can't help but be nervous about being "knocked out", can you ? (Especially since I got through this NASAH without loosing consciousness.)

Go well and thanks again,

Mags

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Hi Mags,

Welcome to BTG.

I had my SAH a yr ago and was treated at Wessex Neuro.

I remember feeling totally exhausted even after simple tasks. Taking a shower would really tire me out, especially lifting my arms to wash my hair.

I learnt the hard way to take things very slowly and listen to your brain and body when it tells you it's had enough and its time to rest.

I remember feeling very nervous about going out anywhere alone, it took me a long time to build confidence up, I still struggle now and again, especially crossing roads, in busy shops, crowds etc. I started off with walks down the garden, then to the end of my road, then a bit further. Built it up like that really. I've always made sure I go out everyday.

The neuro nurse specialist at the Wessex has been totally brilliant, I've had to call her quite a few times and she'salways helped me and calmed me down.

This site has been a godsend to me, your'll gain lots of advice and support from here.

I'll be at the Wessex meeting so hopefully see you there.

I wish you well with your recovery.

SarahLou Xx

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Welcome Mags!

I had a PM-NASAH too, same thing where we think the offending vessel was obliterated so there was nothing to 'fix'. I'm amazed at how articulate and informed you are so soon after discharge. I spent about the same amount of time in hospital but it took me months to piece together what really happened to me. I didn't lose conscientiousness but I just really wasn't aware of how seriously ill I was and what it meant and how long it would take to get better.

We all seem to differ in recovery time. Some people with NASAH bounce back pretty quick. It's tough to say by 1 month you should be able to do this or that because we are all different. I was being lazy when I had my bleed and hadn't been on the treadmill for a couple of months bu my norm was running 21 to 28kms per week. I tried getting back on the treadmill a couple of weeks after my bleed and 10 minutes of slow walking wore me out.

Your brain will tell you how much you can do. When it begins to feel tight like there is an elastic band being wound around it it's time to stop. Other symptoms I watch for are blurry vision, sinus pain, and sore temples. Drink lots of water, it helps with the headaches.

I'm at 9 months post-NASAH and I'm still not running. I'm walking on the treadmill twice a week 4kms each time, I'm on a stationary bike twice a week 8 or 9 miles each time, and I'm putting yoga back into my week after a month off. Yoga really helps with balance, I find I get dizzy a lot.

Good luck with your recovery, I hope it goes quickly for you.

Sandi K.

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Hi Mags,

Welcome to the site and the SAH club! (dubious honour though it may be!)

I had my PM-NASAH on June 17th of this year. There was no offending vessel/artery found, they have deduced that my offending vessel also killed itself off during the event.

I just had a follow up CT scan a couple of weeks ago. I had to push to get it booked. I would suggest that you look into getting a follow up CT at 3 weeks post SAH. That just assures that there was no aneurysm hiding out during a vaso-spasm as they were taking pictures of your brain (unlikely, but possible).

I was very socially and physically active before my SAH. I am a dancer, walker and had a lot of community involvement.

Since my SAH I got back to walking at about 3 weeks, I walk for an hour a day, up hill for some of my route, on the beach for some and quiet forest for some. I have learned to take my earplugs along for the road portion of my walk since my ears are still very, very sensitive.

I tried dancing for the first time the other day but found it too hard on my neck and right shoulder (which are both still "stuck" since my SAH, tho' it is getting noticeably better). I just have to give myself more time to recover since i dont' want to end up compounding injury. I have no community involvement these days, but see one or two friends at a time a couple of times a week.

Currently, I can't handle crowds of people because of my new post-SAH anxiety and because when they see me people start to ask questions. When they do I don't feel confident enough to say "Please, answering questions tires me", so I answer their questions and get depleted.

I find my key words at 2 months post SAH are ENERGY MANAGEMENT. I am still learning what that means, so sorry I can't offer a definition :lol: I'm finding out pretty clearly what happens when I push my brain...it goes on strike and everything but life support and other basic functions shuts down. Not a pleasant feeling. I had the dubious joy of experiencing an "ocular migraine" the other day - a first for me and makes me wonder what other surprises are in store on this brain journey.

Two things to read if you haven't already are a letter from your brain and the spoon theory. Of course there is all the great Recovery Advice and other information on SAH available at the Southampton site.

One site that I found very useful for getting to know the new version of my brain is the Traumatic Brain Injury Guide. While I don't technically have a traumatic brain injury, I do have an acquired brain injury.

My GP and I don't see eye to eye on this (and other things), but I have come to realize that while he knows quite a bit about a lot of things, he is not an expert on SAH. However, I am slowly becoming one. It behooves me to educate myself and push for the treatment I need...of course this is difficult since I find my self-confidence has suffered greatly in this experience (another common SAH effect), but perhaps it will prove useful in the long run!?

Good luck in your journey. Drink 3 litres of water a day. Rest lots. Give yourself a few months to ease back in to life...then give yourself more if you still need more.

All the best,

Riane

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Thanks to everyone who has replied.

Its a great comfort to know how others have faired - and I am coming to the conclusion that I've been a very lucky person. It's now just 2.5 weeks since it happened and I'm really astounded by what I can do, but realise that my biggest risk is trying to do too much, too soon. It's quite a struggle, trying to stop myself doing too much, because most of the time I'm feeling remarkably good despite the constant background headache. I do think that not being permitted to drive is having a positively restraining effect on me. Without that I would be tempted to take myself out and about far more, then get over tired.

On Sunday my hubby and I took a walk up Butser Hill (you know, the big one on the left as you drive up to Petersfield on the A3 ?). I had been worried about what my head would feel like when I pushed my heart rate up a bit - walking along the seafront at Hayling is too flat to do that easily !). All went well, my headache didn't increase while I was walking up the hill and my efforts were rewarded by carrot cake and mint tea after we walked down again ! Later on, when we got home, I did need a little afternoon snooze, and I was certainly tired later on in the day, but otherwise much better than I could have hoped. The main thing is that I did it, I felt OK and that in itself has helped my confidence.

I'm lucky in that I work for a big company. I had the Occupational Health nurse on the phone yesterday. It was really helpful. I can see that she is going to protect me from myself, and make sure that I don't start back to work, and take on too much, too soon !

Does anyone else have experience of working with Occupational Health ?

TTFN,

Mags

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Hi Riane,

I looked at those articles you mention in your post. They really are very helpful and made me stop and think, which as you'll have gathered is excellent - especially for people like me who are tempted to try to jump right back on where the SAH forced us to fall off !

Take Care,

Mags

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Mags, it sounds like you are doing fantastically well!

I have experience with Occupational Health. I had an 'angel' looking after me. I went back to work too soon and avoided Occ Health and pretended to be doing fine. I wasn't doing myself any favors and it wasn't long before I was making mistakes and using bad judgement at work. I'm an IT manager in a Healthcare environment. My Occ Health angel sought me out and very patiently and persistently helped me realize what was happening and that I needed some time off to heal.

I'm forever grateful to her. She spent hours on the phone with me, supporting me, helping me with forms, helping me understand my symptoms, helping me to be aware of my symptoms.

It's good that you are talking to Occ Health early on. If you are fine you wont need them. If you find you are overdoing it they will support you before your symptoms take over.

Sandi K.

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Mags, I had a NASAH at the beginning of May, I was in Hospital for 3 weeks then off work for another week. I was ok to return to work and was back at the Gym soon after. I do still get a 'fuzzy' head from time to time but 3 month on things are definately getting back to normal. Probably not a day goes by without thinking about what happened to me and my time in hospital, hoping this will fade with time. This site has been a great help to me as information from the Doctors was limited. Hope you find it of help too.

take care,

Jon

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Hey Mags

Welcome to the site and to the family. As others have said, everyones recovery is different. I was fit and active before my SAH (Step aerobics twice a week, jogging twice a week and swimming on other days), now however, I find that I can't cope with the intense work outs or jogging any more as it makes my brain feel like its shaking around in my head.

I went back to work 3 weeks after my brain hem (me and Hubby run our own company) but I was sleeping a lot during the day on a bed in my office. Recovery is an individual thing and some take longer than others - the main thing is to listen to your body, drink plenty of fluids and look after yourself. I found pushing myself that little bit further each day has stood me in good stead and I feel 100% recovered apart from the occasional blip which are very few and far between.

This site has a wealth of wonderful people and an array of experience - there will always (usually) be someone who experienced at least part of what you're going through.

Look forward to chatting more.

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Hi Mags - sounds like you will be fine soon. I had a NASAH June 3 and now I am 13 weeks and feeling much better. Though still with a background headache. Its early days for you though. I found suddenly at 12 weeks I felt a noticeable improvement. I would definitely fit the active category. Like you I do alot of road cycling. So I will tell you what I have been able to do.

Zero for 4 weeks. Weeks 4 to 8 was 2 or 3 short sessions of yoga a week (25 mins a go). Week 9 tried a 15 min run - bad idea. Swam in the sea anyway just to see the sun and the clouds. Week 10 - 4 sessions of Yoga and 3 swims (very easy). Week 11 - 3 swims easy and, wait for it, a 60 min easy bike road which was great. Just nice to be out. Now I am doing the yoga (srtetching really), and am still swimming and feeling much better. And 90 mins road bike easy yesterday. I'm a long way off what I was doing but thats OK. You need to take it easy for a while.

Note the word easy. Listen to your body. It will tell you whats right. If anything feels worse stop.

I have some way to go but I am getting back. By the sounds of things so will you. But its probably too early right now based on my experience anyway.

For some reason I had alot of trouble, first10 weeks, with wind on my head really giving me a headache. If I did too much my headache would get worse and I would feel a bit sick. So I could tell quite easily when to rest up.

I was NASAH at the Wessex just like you. My first angiogram was negative for aneurism - same as you. They did a second angiogram 2 weeks later that again was negative. They told me they always do 2 when the first is negative just to be certain they didn't miss anything that might need fixing. If you only had one angiogram maybe you should call Lesley the neurovascular specialist nurse at the Wessex and just double check with her.

I think we both got away lightly. I'm guessing no burst aneurism means less blood means less damage. And no surgery means no extra trauma to recover from. We are the lucky ones. I think you will fix soon. But Lesley told me recovery is from 3 months outwards. I've found she gave extremely good advice. Its almost like shes seen it all before .............

Good luck. Bye

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to reply to the string I started. It's been very encouraging and just reminded me that I really do need to be patient !

I saw quite rapid improvements over the first couple of weeks back at home but although still improving (and finding out just how easy it is to "overdo" things etc !) things have slowed down. A friend's Mum popped round this morning (she's an retired physio) and put it all into perspective. She said when you're only at 50% then a 5 or 10% improvement is quite a lot but when you're further up the recovery scale then that percentage improvement just doesn't seem as dramatic. And she is right !

JellyB - I am so encouraged by what you have told me. I have not yet got on my bike - this damn wind would make that a miserable experience even if I was a 100%, let alone now. However, if we get a quiet day, I might get the mountain bike out and have a sedate amble along the seafront here at Hayling and see how I go. I'm getting out for a good long walk every day (yes, even in this strong wind) and am up to about 1.5 hours now. I can honestly say that it is quite hard to do it every day but I feel so much better for getting out there in the fresh air and feeling like at least some of my muscles are getting worked. I tried a short run last week when I got caught in the rain - I decided BAD idea and decided to get wet instead, so that's still a little challeneg out there and maybe I'll try it again in another week or two's time. I'd love to try the gym (only gentle stuff) but I haven't heard from DVLA yet so driving is still out for me, and my gym is too distant to walk or bus it.

I've been off the paracetamol during the day for the last few days and although the headache does come and go abit, it is copable with. But I have been taking it when I go to bed. Last night I decided to find out what would happen if I didn't take it - would I be OK. Another BAD idea. I woke this morning feeling heady and a bit nauseous. I took paracetamol when I woke up, and I will definately be taking some when I go to bed tonight. I think I leave it a little while before I try "cold turkey" again !

Occupational Health really are forcing me to take it slowly, so that is really a great help. I just know I'd be pushing much harder to get back and then like Sandi K I'd end up over doing it. Its a fine balance isn't it, between getting a bit bored being at home (although I really don't know where the days are going) and jumping back into the fray a bit too soon and watching your wheels wobble off.

Warmest wishes to you all, and keep posting your experiences - they really help.

Mags

xx

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Hi, Yes lots of water is so helpful with headaches in the beginning. I still find that the more water I drink the less I find a headache. Patience and being kind to yourself as you recover are key. I am doing much better. I still find that I will have maybe three days that are more normal energy, and then I'll have a very low energy day. Those days I am more pron to headache. Or if I have a very busy day without much down time or quiet, the next can be a real challenge. On the whole I have learned to look to my own body to see how we are and take it one day at a time. My brain bleed caused vomitting and I lost about five or six days. No reason was found for it and I received very little information to take home with me about recovery. Headaches had me in and out for scans for several months. I believe that fear on my part contributed alot to my discomfort in the early days. Sites like this where you can get information from those who have lived it are the best way to nuture yourself, at least that is what I have found. I wish you all the best and offer you the suggestion of taking it all very easily on your self.

Blessings!

:-P

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  • 3 months later...

Hi Everyone

I am new to this site and I had a subarachoid haemorrage (non anyreusm) in October 2010. Whilst I do feel fully recovered and feel lucky that I felt well so soon after you can never totally get the fear from your mind that it might happen again! I was a jogger before my haemorrage and enjoyed going out for a run with my two running friends. It has taken me over 12 months to have the courage to go out running again to try and get back in shape as I do think exercise makes you feel better. I have now realised that going for a run will not be detrimental to my health although even after all this time I realise I can't do too much. I ran I think too much last week and have this weekend been suffering with mild headache which I am sure from all the threads I read that this is my body telling me I may have overdone it. Sometimes don't you wish you could just have access to a consultant at the end of the phone line to ask if what you are feeling is normal! It's hard to remember that we may have had that feeling of being unwell even if we had not had our SAH. I am sure all of us would like to turn the clock back and wish it had never happened as I feel that it will be with me for life - it's a case of trying to be rationale and not letting my imagination run wild!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all,

This is so reassuring! I had a non-aneurism SAH on Jan 5 2012 and was in Wessex Neuro unit for 8 days. I had a CT and two angiograms to make sure that there was nothing untoward before they discharged me.

Don't know about anyone else who has had a SAH with no known cause, but I don't feel like I should be struggling with tiredness etc! I don't feel as if I have been as unwell as other people who has had operations on aneurisms etc. So I get frustrated when I lack energy to do anything!

I am back at work (two days this week) who have been understanding and supportive. I'm scared that I present as ok because I want to be ok, but that in reality I'm really tired and a bit emotional a lot of the time! I worry that I will get up to full time in a month or so and then manage for a few weeks and then crash and burn and be back to square one! Like other people I was fit and healthy before the SAH - I actually had mine while doing a sit up while circuit training in my lunch break. Seems that this happens to a few people. I think that not being able to exercise like I did before is contributing to my lethargy and is probably making me put on weight. I worry it will take me ages to get back my levels of fitness!

To put it bluntly, I seem to spend a lot of time worrying about the future and how long it will take to get back to 'normal'. Does anyone else do this? Was anyone with a non-aneurism SAH back at work full time within 3 months or am I being completely ridiculous and putting undue pressure on myself?

Thanks all

Annie X

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Hi Annie

I am expert at doing everything and anything either back to front or upside down. My SAH sounds quite similar to yours and bizarely I never really stopped working, so yes I was working within 3 months of SAH. But only because I was a remote worker able to distribute workload over some strange hours. It was tough and I did a bad job. Unfortunately I had no help or support from the company and just struggled on with it. I stuck at it because I am a contractor and I needed to reach the end of the contract while it was there. If they'd known about my problems I think they would have let me go and just hired someone else. I recommend taking as much time as you can to recover. It's lucky if you have an understanding employer that will help you.

Post SAH I'm not good in busy meetings or working to deadlines and I'm sensitive to noise. Net result is that I'm having to reinvent myself a bit. To strangers I must seem completely normal but I'm not quite how I was. And for that reason I am looking for a new direction. Apart from that I'm doing great.

p.s. I got a break after completing the contract but could have done with it when I really needed it.

Good luck and take it easy

Bye

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I am new here too and also had my NA-SAH on Jan 5th, 2012. Funny thing, although I have mostly lived in Canada, our family is from the Essex area, I was born in Hammersmith, so I feel like maybe we're twins separated at birth?? Anyhow, I too was a very fit person prior to this event. I also feel I got off light, but did spend three weeks in two different hospitals. My bleed was large and I underwent multiple CT scans, angiograms and shuffling back and forth between hospitals. I have been home recovering for about four weeks now and have made amazing progress, albeit, I have a few sensory issues which I consider minor. I am hesitant to use the word "normal", but I do feel my old self most of the time except for the tiredness. I think this is going to be the main challenge.

I can walk up to 4.5 km, but most days I just do 2 or 3. I miss all my other activities and have cancelled my ski pass and found a replacement on my curling team. Gym membership on hold, as is driving, until I have my follow up appointment with the neurologist on Tuesday. I will ask him about increasing my level of activity. I want to start back golfing too. Only problem is my recent breast cancer surgery which included lymph node removal on my left arm (pit). Oh, yeah... I have to start cancer treatment soon, so I hope I can get on top of the fatigue.

As to work, I am working in a limited capacity from home, but only a few hours here and there. I am a Realtor, so I have assigned my clients to a colleague to look after. The most tiring part of my job pre-SAH would be to take buyers out looking at properties, so this will likely be the big challenge when I return. I am aiming to return in another 4 months, provided cancer treatment goes favourably.

Sue

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Hello Annie T,

You are very soon after your NASAH and although you feel quite well, be careful not to push yourself too far too soon. Its a real balancing act between pushing a little more to get back to fitness, and not over doing it when you get over fatigued.

When I opened this string, I was still off work - I had 2 months out as sick leave, followed by 4 weeks holiday. The holiday was really helpfull, because I was well enough (although far from fully recovered) to get the most out of it. I went back to work 3 months to the day after the NASAH. This was in the weeks before Christmas. The extra stuff to think of over Xmas really made me tired, on top of work, and by Christmas I progressed from part time to full contracted hours. Since the new year, I've been full time. The one thing I am being careful about is not working too much more than my contracted hours, and I've gotten a whole lot more relaxed about not being able to drive through and get EVERYTHING done, If some stuff doesn't happen, well that's fine now. I could never have done that before !

I also have to manage my work much more carefully. a couple of days "out and about" at meetings etc really can tire me out. So I plan for being tired and having really poor concentration for the day or two after these occassions. If by chance I'm not tired, that's great but in this way, it stops me putting too much strain on myself.

Its taken me ages to get back into the discipline of the gym and if its too crowed or noisy, then I find it a bit of a struggle to cope with. Like JellyB, too much noise is still problem to me, and combine it with lots of lights and movement and that's really unpleasant and quickly tiring.

Having said that, I'm about to ride my 9th Cape Argus Cycle Race in Cape Town in 2 weeks. I think because I've done it before, I'm not too worried about it, and I'm remarkably relaxed about having a rather slower time than usual (I'm pretty slow by cylists standards in the first place !), but equally its quite an important milestone for me, that just 7 months after the NASAH, I can do this. Its giving me the confidence that whilst I have to take things a bit easier than I used to, I do have enough mental energy to get through an endurance event. (You'll guess that its endurance sports that tend to make me tick.)

So Annie and Sue and JellyB, don't be too hard on yourselves - don't try to behave like you did before. Accept that you have to plan out and manage your life more than before. Everyone around you will pretty much see you as you were before - only you know that you're different. The first step is learning not to live up to your pre-SAH expectations of yourself, but adapting to where you are in your recovery. Like I said to a colleague, if I had a broken leg, you'd be able to see it, but with SAH you can't but it is like a broken leg in that whilst you can hobble around on the healed leg relatively quickly, it can take quite a long time before you go bouncing around on it, or ballet dancing again !!

Mags

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All,

Really useful advice and suggestions from people. It's kind of difficult coming to terms with the fact that stamina and energy levels might not be the same post-SAH as they were pre-SAH, especially if, like me, you're into that type of exercise (I like running long distances, but quite slowly rather than the other way round!)

I totally get what Mags says about not working past contracted hours - although I've started to go back to work, I am only really doing two days a week at the moment and inevitably that means stuff doesn't get done. Because I'm part of a senior management team with a heavy workload, pre-SAH I used to worry about getting things done. Since the SAH, I am much more relaxed about work - if it doesn't get done, it doesn't get done. That doesn't mean you lower your standards, but a SAH does make you evaluate what's important I guess (although I know that sounds a bit naff, you know what I mean!). Home life and doing fun things are really important now as they help me to manage stress levels.

On the plus side, I managed 30 minutes on my step machine today and cleaned the house and did the ironing and I don't feel too bad... I'm going to get my bike fixed too so I can get back into cycling. Because I had my SAH when I was in the gym - there's a bit of me that's nervous about returning to the gym (even though I know that's irrational). Oh well, slowly, slowly, catchy monkey (or whatever the saying is!).

Thanks all

Annie X

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Hello Annie,

Welcome to the SAH club! It's a pretty painful way to join a club, but the folks can be great! and, very very helpful as one adjusts to one's new reality.

I had my NASAH last June 17th. I returned to office work (as an unlicensed assistant in a Real Estate company just slightly north of you, Sue) two days a week just this past January. So far so good!

It's great to be back at work and I am able to fulfill 90% of my tasks just fine. There is still a 10% or so discrepancy and I just don't have the eye for detail that I used to. My ability to recall information has returned. But, my fingers still sometimes get mixed up on the keyboard when they used to fly along smoothly.

I first went back to work 3 weeks after my NASAH. I went on our family camping trip (as planned for months in advance) 5 weeks post-SAH. I crashed and burned at 6 weeks. I withdrew from office work and the world like a wounded animal. While I continued to do 8 hours of work a week - I did it from home on my schedule as my energy levels went up and down.

I put a lot of focus and willpower into letting go of expectations (my own and others) of what my recovery "should" look like - thanks to the guidance of folks here at BTG.

I set the intention of embarking on "my journey to health".

In retrospect I am so glad that I gave myself the time and space to recover. Taking 5 months off from the office seemed like such a long time at the start of it. Looking back, it takes on a new perspective. I can look back at the last months and chart the significant points that I moved through.

The recovery of brain function and abilities has gone in noticeable waves for me.

After the NASAH I felt like someone had come into my room, taken everything out of my drawers and closet, mixed everything up and stuffed it back in every which way. That's what my brain felt like.

In August I began to sort out the confusion in my brain and "straighten" things out.

In September I felt more "landed" in myself. A bit stronger.

In October I told my 11 year old daughter that I had a "broken leg in my head" so she might start to understand why I couldn't keep up with quick mental changes, or visual stimulation. My energy was still very inconsistent and I had to take a day off following any output of energy (like cleaning the house, working a few hours from home, visiting with a friend).

In November my energy became consistent. I could do tasks, rest for a bit, then do another task. I went out dancing for the first time. It was wonderful!

In December I could go to the store or spend time in crowds again, without dealing with extreme anxiety. This was a wonderful Christmas gift for me, as I am a very social person and was afraid that ability may not come back.

In January I started running for the first time in my life (a long time goal that I just never got around to before). I also had a big birthday party for myself.

In February I flew across Canada, navigating airports alone, to visit my sister in the hospital in Ontario.

Yesterday, I spent the day mothering my 2 year old. Being able to do an entire day is still rare, since the amount of brain energy required to keep up with her is simply insane!

I look at these milestones and am so happy for what has returned. None of it is due to myself, or my will power. My accomplishments are due to the fact that my brain has recovered. I have a deeper understanding of the fragility of this life, and how quickly it can all change.

I have a better understanding of the myriad of things my brain does simultaneously, that I previously took for granted.

I look forward to one day being able to go to a movie theatre where my brain will have to deal simultaneously with visual, aural and crowd stimulation. But, if that day never comes I will still be grateful for what has returned.

Peace to you in your recovery/journey to health.

Riane :-)

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