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Hello all - NASAH June 3rd


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Hello everyone. My name is James. This is a great site. Just looking at the stats for submissions on the various forums it’s easy to see that non-aneurysm SAH’s are a minority so I thought it a good idea to join up and chip in. I hope my experience of NASAH can help others in some way.

My SAH was Friday June 3rd. Two weeks earlier I had completed Ironman Lanzarote for the fifth time and that day was my first time back in the pool after two weeks of complete rest. We swim early mornings and at 06:00 I was feeling great. Perfect actually. I had never felt so good after an Ironman. But 15 minutes later at 06:15 I suffered an instantaneous super severe headache. This was unexpected to say the least. I couldn’t understand it. We were only warming up and swimming easy drills. I got out of the pool and vomited a couple of times in the changing rooms. Now feeling very bad. Unstable. Still, I toughed it out cause I’m stupid. Eventually getting myself to the car and crashed out on the back seat. After a lifetime in sport I can tell you that I have known pain. But that day I didn’t recognise the danger. It was just more pain … and I can deal with that can’t I? My wife drove me home.

Of course I couldn’t work that day. But being a remote worker I could log in and, so far as the world knew, I was working. No problem as it would all be over in the morning, wouldn’t it? I’d catch up on the work later. Despite my wife’s insistence I refused to call the docs. It would be OK soon, wouldn’t it?

Monday came and the headache had subsided enough for me to Google my symptoms. And that’s when I realised it could be big trouble. So off to hospital via the GP and a CT and LP later I was heading over to the Wessex Neurological Unit in Southampton by ambulance to join the other inmates at what I can only say is the most fantastic place ever. I am so impressed by the people there. NASAH was confirmed via angiogram. Two weeks later this was reconfirmed by a second angiogram.

So, I am lucky. I am now 12 weeks post SAH. Still with headaches but they are resolving slowly. Again, I am lucky. It’s been good for me. Now I see the world differently. I don’t take things for granted anymore. Not that I ever did but sometimes it can be so easy to get side tracked by our own daily problems, pressures and distractions.

I have struggled with work. Concentration has been a problem. And it’s finally cost me a contract renewal. Bang goes the job. But things will work out. They always do. Although I completely understand now that sometimes for some people they don’t. I have learnt a lot about life and priorities these past 12 weeks.

I remain truly shocked at how I could ignore such a potentially devastating condition. The realisation that sport has taught me somehow to mask, ignore and control pain is worrying because on that day I ignored the danger signs. But I was lucky. I’ve never considered sport as painful but yet perhaps, for all the things it’s given me, I need to be more careful in the future. Being at the minor end of the scale for SAH has thankfully meant a good outlook for a full recovery.

The doctors say this couldn’t have been predicted and the fact it happened in the pool was completely coincidental. Many I know blame it on Ironman and yet the doctors say no. Some people wonder why I would carry on with it now (I will by the way - but no rush) and to them I simply say it’s for the emotion. It’s about swimming in the ocean at dawn. It’s the morning dew against your skin. It’s being at one with the elements. For some of us it’s been a channel into yoga, meditation and into just being. Zen if you like. We call it living. And some of us use sport as a vehicle for that.

No longer do I get stressed. And I have more consideration for others than perhaps I did before. I understand now that although people might look OK from the outside, it’s entirely possible that inside they are not.

But here we are - alive and kicking. And that’s the most we ever can ask for.

Bye for now.

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Hey JellyB, great contribution! Thank you and welcome to BTG.

I had a NASAH too. I agree with you that it's an opportunity for us to look at our priorities a little differently and value the important things that much more. Now I'm learning patience - with recovery.

Keep doing what you are doing.

Sandi K. Xo

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Hi James & welcome to BTG, another Wessex inmate (we've had 3 in as many weeks!).

You were very lucky to google the symptoms & recognise the danger as you say you usually 'ignore pain' because of the intense traininbrg you do for Iron Man. It is a realisation that life is very different post SAH & you do change priorities somewhat. At 12 weeks you are still early days & there will be more improvements but more so if you take things easy & at your brains pace. I found when I tried to push myself too far it set me back a week or so & made me upset & frustrated.

Are you attending the Wessex support group in a couple of weeks, if so you will see me & Sarah lou there, would be fab to meet you xxx

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Hi James,

Welcome to BTG.

Your 'story' made such an interesting read, you certainly seem to have a great attitude towards life.

Yes, as Gill has said I'm someone else who's been fixed by the Wessex Neuro. It's just over a year since my SAH and the journey to recovery has at times been very dark and lonely but the support I've received from this site has been a massive strength to me.

Take your recovery slowly, listen to your body and brain. Oh, and drink plenty of water, and then some more water, oh and then a bit more water!

I wish you well in your recovery and hope to hear more from you soon.

SarahLou Xx

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Hi James and welcome to BTG. A well written account of your experience of sah and I sense a determination to get back to what you enjoy doing. Drinking plenty of water is probably better at this stage of recovery than swimming in it! Last month I was watching some competitors taking part in a triathlon- from my lounge window;-) Despite thinking how gruelling it must be, I now realise that at 420m swim, 20K bike and a 7KM run round the Derbyshire peak district, must seem like a mere walk in the park to you!

All the best for your continued recovery,


Edited by kempse
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Good for you James......was you happy when you came round?.......I was so happy to be alive and see my daughter ,hubby and family again.....

I was so elated that I had made it...They said I was singing in hospital...so I still sing now, ..poor family .

Learning to walk again.slow but sure ......today I walked pushing my wheelchair ....Keep Happy James

and never give up ......oh yes I forgot to say I had anni

All the..Best

WinB143 x...

Edited by Winb143
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Hi James,

Another PM-NASAH here. I live in Canada where I am increasingly sure that we have abysmal follow up care, compared to what is available to you folks across the pond.

I'm glad that you seem to be doing so very well. I hope that you continue to do so.

I had my POP exactly 2 weeks after you did. I am fair to midlin and getting better everyday.

I hope your healing journey continues well.

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