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Hello - I'm Kathryn


KathrynB
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I feel like I've gotten to know some of you over the past number of months and have found this forum to be most helpful in dealing with the struggles of recovering from a SAH so I thought it might be helpful to others if I added my voice to the unique choir that we all are a part of!

I had just started my winter holidays with some Christmas shopping, relaxing and singing in a choir concert the night before my aneurism decided to bleed. The next morning, I woke up early to have some breakfast before going for a yoga class. I had just finished my cereal and went to the kitchen to put the bowl on the counter and suddenly I felt something strange in my head, and looked up at the clock on the oven and noticed that I was seeing double. It was 7:35 in the morning and I immediately thought "this is not good" and turned to go talk to my husband who was sleeping at the time. I fell to the ground unconscious, but strangely, I could still hear everything that went on. I heard my husband calling me from the bedroom, him running over to me and checking my vitals before calling 911. Thankfully the ambulance arrived in 5 minutes, and by the time they got to our house, I was starting to wake up. I remember they asked me a number of questions, and to move my arms and legs - I couldn't move my legs and immediately I thought "I've had a stroke!" I didn't panic - for some strange reason I knew that it may not be a good thing to do that the moment. When I fell, I had hit my head on the kitchen table or chair, so they strapped me to a board to make sure that I couldn't move my head. I don't remember having a bad headache, but became quite nauseous once the ambulance started moving and any bright light hurt my eyes. I kept them shut the whole day! I also started experiencing altered consciousness - felt more like I just couldn't stay awake.

It took a CT scan at the hospital to verify that I had a basilar tip aneurism with SAH and had a shunt installed to help with the building pressure on my brain. I wasn't told any of this until much later so I didn't know what was going on, but didn't really care as I was really out of it at the time! It was 5:30 pm by the time they got me into the operating room to install the stent and coiling. It went really well, and I spent the next 2 weeks in hospital (no fun being in hospital during Christmas!) with relatively no complications. Like most people here, I was sent home with very little information other than resume normal activities as can be tolerated and a number for a nurse in case I had questions.

I too was in a bit of denial at the beginning, especially when friends and co-workers saw me and thought, well she looks just like before - there's nothing wrong here! Even the doctor suggested I go back to work by the beginning of February! I thought that was a bit crazy, but tried it by the middle of March. By then I was getting headaches only once every 2 weeks and thought that I could handle it. Boy, was I wrong!!! My office was insistent that I work 4 hours a day, 5 days a week and it was just too much. Lots of dizziness and the headaches returned, plus the fatigue was constant. I did go to my GP to check my iron levels to find out that I was very anemic so I assumed that was why I was dizzy all the time. My insurance company has been great and they were okay with my going back on disability so I've been home ever since April. My doctor didn't like the news that my headaches were back, so he moved up the 6 month review to 5 months and added an angiogram to the MRI. It was exhausting, but everything looked good. Went off the Plavix and one week later I had a strange episode - almost fell over and lost strength in my right leg - I thought I was having a mini-stroke as it lasted only a minute - another evening in the ER only to be dismissed as possibly having an ear infection! Fortunately, my doctor suggested that I get another MRI just to be safe - and it was clear.

June came and went - started to increase my activities, and by July I was walking and biking every day - started to really feel like myself - iron pills had done their job and I was getting my energy back. In the middle of July, all of a sudden I started getting episodes like the one in May - I feel like my body is being pulled to the right (sometimes it is pulled to the left) and I can't walk straight and it was happening 3 to 4 times a day, and then I had some episodes of double vision - these really scared me. It never seems to last more than a minute or 2 and then things go back to normal. I've been to see my GP as well as the surgeon who operated on me. I'm now waiting to see another neurologist to try and figure out what the problem is.

Today is my 8 month anniversary and I am so thankful that I survived. After reading some of your stories, I have learned that I need to listen to my body and pull back when I'm pushing it too much, but somedays I wonder if I'm pulling back too much - hard to find that balance. Has anyone else experienced similar symptoms after months of feeling better?

Thanks!

Kathryn

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Hi Kathryn and welcome to the site - the fact that you feel you know some on here by visiting regularly is rather nice.

It is rather like a large, friendly family who help one another.

You appear to have been doing well. Getting that 'activity' balance right is really quite tricky.

Mine was a Basilar tip aneurysm too. Whilst I haven't experienced any of the symptoms you describe I did have one scary experience of double vision, it was approximately 18 months after the rupture and lasted at least 12 hours. I was sent to hospital for a ct scan but nothing untoward was found and it was put down to being an acephalgic migraine. Touch wood, I have never experienced double vision since. It is disconcerting when these things happen, so I do hope you get some answers when you see the neurologist.

Good luck with everything,

Sarah

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Hi Kathryn. I also had a basilar artery aneurism, i understand its right where the communicating arteries split up and like you had pressure build up and now have a shunt.

Glad you said hello and that you've found this great place to come. I still get huge comfort from knowing that others can get what I feel and reassure for some of the odder symptoms.

I have had all kinds of strange effects since last March and ended up having an LP and MRI only a few months back as I think they thought my coiling might be leaking based on the symptoms but thankfully all was good and so I go on taking each day.

One thought on your symptom is I believe this artery is sited very close to where the optic nerves meet , i had lots of eye tests pre discharge to check my vision and if i am tired my balance and vision is the first thing i notice ...maybe there was some pressure pre rupture which is adjusting but its only a guess...hope the docs can work it out for you

Edited by Daffodil
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Everyone - and thanks for the warm welcome!

I saw a Stroke Neurologist yesterday and he ran me through a battery of tests as well as questions. He cannot necessarily say for sure what is causing my symptoms, but did indicate that some people can develop problems after coming off of Plavix. Also thought it could be spasms of the small arteries in the area where the coiling and stent are located which in turn can be like a migraine - I believe he called them hemiplegic migraines. The spasms could be a result of my arteries trying to adjust to something foreign in the arteries - he indicated that there was documentation of people developing migraines after coiling. He wasn't too concerned about it, and I've noticed that the symptoms are reducing in frequency and intensity. Will continue to monitor it and make sure I eat properly, get enough sleep, exercise, etc.

My only concern now is trying to go back to work as stress can bring these symptoms on! I'm thinking that at least another month off might be in order. My boss said he didn't want me back until I was completely healed, but based on others' experiences as well as my own failed attempts back in March, I'm not sure when that would be or just how long before I can go back at it full tilt!

Cheers, Kathryn :-D

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Hi Kathryn,

Just wanted to welcome you and say Hello! I would take as much time off as work as possible only because it is hard to commit and make a mistake by doing so. You seem to have a great handle on things and have doctors willing to listen to you. Good for you on that one!

I committed early back to work and as I wrote in" Back to Work" page today at almost 2 years I am now just trying to add my life back. It took/takes all my energy to work and I was left with nothing for anything in my life. Lucky kids are grown etc. But it has left a hole where I do not enjoy much of my old life. SO my advice is take it as slow as possible and add work to your life instead of life to your work.

It took all this time to get meds sorted out and a channel blocker was added maybe 6 months ago so I was not having a headache everyday but it has taken awhile to get it just right. I sitll have occular migraines, with stiff neck and fatigue but it is not as often now. Maybe twice a week if I over do it.

Good luck, maryb

Edited by MaryB
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Hi Kathryn,

I had same also, we are a common lot ( joke.)

I have decided that I will only do what I can as we get so many setbacks and we have been through hell and also our

Families, Bless them. xx

Do it at your own pace and get through it, we have BTG to turn to when on a downer.

I wish you well and take it slower xx sing also xx

Love

WinB143 xx xx

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Hello Kathryn,

A warm welcome to BTG.

It's great that you're managing to get some answers from your specialists.

It's such a roller coaster journey of recovery, for me it's often one step forward and two back.

I've had to learn to have patience and understanding with myself and accept that my brain will give me a lil kick when I've done too much to remind me it has been injured and I need to rest.

Be kind to yourself, take slow baby steps and you will get there.

Drink plenty of water and rest when you need to.

As for returning to work... You will know when you're feeling strong enough and able to give it another try.

It took me 15 months to get back to work and I was very lucky to be able to do a really slow phased return.

I think the best thing is to be honest with your employer about how your recovery is going.

For your boss to say he doesn't want you back until you're completely healed is totally un realistic.

I wish you well with your recovery.

Take care,

SarahLou Xx

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Thanks for all the warm wishes and welcomes! It has definitely been a comfort to be able to "talk" to others who have gone through similar experiences - the most challenging has been trying to tame the Type A personality within - you know - the voice that says - "hey, why are you spending the afternoon on the couch when there are dishes to do, and a house that needs cleaning." :lol:

Kathryn

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Hello Kathryne, glad you have found BHG, I find it is the one place one can talk about ones fears and frustrations with out being a bore to other people. At first every one is sympathetic, but having no outward sign of health problems, people and family cannot understand why after a year one is not back to normal!

I have found to my cost, that trying to do what I used to do ie a full day looking after Granchildren gardening or even going to a class, where I have had to use my brain concentrating I eaves me exhausted, for the next couple of days, and having to say no, I just can't do it, surprises friends. Some how this seems the hardest thing, it makes me unhappy and feeling useless. We have to. accept especially for very active people that we have to learn to change our lives, our brain gives us no choice, it appears to me having read many posts, that SAH seem to affect very active people, that probably makes it harder for us to accept. Love Jill

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Wheyyyyy heyyyyy another squinty walker hehehe I get it to, noticed it in a car park, thought it strange so decided to walk one of the white line markings an low and behold off I went, it really does feel like a magnetic force is pulling me and the more I try to straighten up the more conscious I become of it which in turn makes it worse, I do have problems with pressure in my ears, some people's pop on an aeroplane mine pop after a few stairs lol and sometimes when I chew.

It's not often it happens and does not really concern me if anything I just put it down to just another one of the weird and wonderful things that happens pre SAH

I do have a few eye sight problems which seem to be getting worse so I will monitor it and when I can't see the pint of beer in front of me I will do something about it :)

Oh nearly forget as I tend to go of on one, welcome to the site little flutterfly!

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