Final Diagnosis, Brain Aneurysm!

    

547603_10150851460156636_535653468_nI was so excited to call my mum who was on holiday in her caravan down in Dorset. I wanted to tell her that I had my interview and I had a place at University to get my degree in Early Years, but she was very quiet. I asked her if she was ok, I could tell it was a struggle for her to talk but she informed me that while she was washing up, she all of a sudden got hit with a severe headache and as she walked backed to the caravan, she was walking like she was drunk. She then went on to be sick and couldn’t get up. The Caravan site was fabulous and called for a doctor to come and see my mum. The doctor arrived an examined my mum to establish a possible cause of her illness and ruled out meningitis as a cause and suggested a migraine. The doctor gave my mum an injection to cure the feeling of sickness and prescribed 15mg of codeine-phosphorous for the pain.

 

My mum and dad were forced to abandon their holiday and my mum just didn’t leave her bed when she returned home. Four days after her sudden headache which she later described as someone hitting her over the head with a baseball bat, we called for a doctor again as her condition not only did not improve, but she was very distressed and her condition just deteriorated. It was a Sunday and we were all nervous about leaving her home alone. The doctor came to the house and my mum was able to tell him about her headache, vomiting and stiff neck. The doctor agreed she needed some tests and called for an ambulance to take her. The ambulance men came in and were asking her to do some little exercises like using her hands to push against theirs. They were also concerned that she may have had a mini stoke as her eye and mouth was slanted. We were told to pack an overnight bag for her as she may have tests that day or first thing in the morning.

 

Five hours later, my mum was home. I remember asking her about her tests and she told1174966_10151526266971636_16909335_n me that they didn’t perform any tests other than check behind her eyes to which a doctor said one eye was clear but she wasn’t sure about the other eye. She was sent home with a box of 30mg codeine-phosphorous tablets for her so called migraine.

 

Two days later Tuesday 15th May 2012 my mum blacks out in her bedroom and her head hits her bedside table causing her mouth to bleed and her front tooth was now wobbly. My dad called the hospital and they told him that they could do nothing to help as she was discharged more than 24 hours ago and that he would have to start again with our doctor. While my dad is calling them, I sit with my mum who is now talking very strangely, asking for people who were no longer with us. I put her strange behaviour down to the fact she hadn’t eaten or drunk anything … maybe she is dehydrated??

 

My dad manages to get through to a doctor at our surgery and explains to him what had happened over the last week. With my dad explaining her sudden severe headache and vomiting, the doctor said “It sounds like your wife may have a bleed on the brain”. The doctor explained it would be better to not waste time by having him come to the house and to get her straight up to the hospital.

 

My dad took my mum to the hospital while I tied up loose ends with work as fortunately I was finishing early that day. My friend stayed with me while I waited for news. My dad called me at lunch time and calmly told me that my mum had just had a CT Brain Scan which revealed she did have a Bleed on the brain. I didn’t know what to say and I asked my dad what would have caused this to which he told me that my mum had a ruptured brain aneurysm which was slowly bleeding. The plan was to move her to Southampton Nerological hospital where they will coil the bleed and stop it from causing any further damage. He sounded calm and just asked me to leave my sister a message at work but not to panic.

 

1012799_10151429380271636_1912016702_nMy dad came home to get some things for my mum to take to Southampton and said there is no point in going to Basingstoke hospital as she will be transferred to Southampton soon, but luckily for me, my gut feeling was to go and sit with my mum at the hospital until the ambulance arrived. I have never been very good with hospitals but my friend offered to come with me and sit with my mum. My mum was so pleased to see me, she had this massive red mark across her forehead where the pain was just so intense that she kept rubbing her head and repeatedly told me she had a bleed on the brain and that she knew she wasn’t suffering from a migraine like they all said. She looked so happy that she was now being taken seriously after a week of being in pain and distress. I could have gone in the ambulance with her but my mum insisted I wasn’t going in there with her. She smiled at me and waved as the ambulance doors closed. I smiled and waved back and said I would see her in Southampton.

 

That memory of waving goodbye to her will stay with me forever as I was about to discover that this brain aneurysm was more serious and devastating beyond my imagination …

 

In my next blog, I will share more of mine and my mum’s journey and although the outcome was not a good one for my mum, myself and my family, I am determined to highlight the signs and symptoms so that more lives can be saved. I can’t explain to you GetAttachment (2)just how much I miss my mum. All I can say is that a piece of me went with her and I will never get over it. My mum was a caring and bubbly person who would do anything for anyone and that is why I am sharing this with you all. My mum loved to help others and as hard as it is for me to write this, it just may help save a life and my mum would want that more than anything.

A ruptured Brain Aneurysm is a life threatening condition, never ignore a severe headache. Blood is an irritant to the brain and once blood touches the brain, it causes damage and time lost is Brain loss.

We also welcome other Brain Aneurysm Survivors and anyone who has been affected by this condition, to share their stories, so that more people know about the condition, recognise the symptoms and act quickly.

SUDDEN SEVERE HEADACHE? … IF IN DOUBT, GET CHECKED OUT!

#brainaneurysm #bleedonthebrain #migraine #migrainesymptoms #severeheadaches

 

 

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Brain Aneurysm Therapy Walk

Since suffering a Subarachnoid Brain Haemorrhage in January 2016, I have gained a lot of happiness and wellbeing from going out on short walks with my ‘Therapy Dog’ Daisy and some of my closest friends.

I feel very lucky to be able to go out on these walks, after suffering such a major, life-threatening health scare – and I  believe walking has really helped in my recovery.

Like many Brain Aneurysm Survivors, before I started walking I was feeling very low, suffering panic attacks and insomnia, but I have found that walking and getting out into the fresh air has really helped my overall recovery and sense of wellbeing.

Since suffering the Brain Haemorrhage,  my self-confidence and independence has taken a big knock and I now feel very vulnerable.  Unlike before, I no longer feel confident to go out walking alone, so I am very lucky to have so many good friends, who have volunteered to walk with me.

I feel very  fortunate indeed, to have met Lisa Slaymaker, who lost her mum to a Brain Aneuerysm and who is now a very close friend and walking buddy.

I have personally gained a lot of Therapy from walking.  It gives me a real sense of peace and tranquility, which I don’t always get at home, being a single-mum to two rowdy teenage boys.

Lisa and I have both gained a lot of benefit from walking and we would like to invite others affected by Brain Aneurysms to join us on any of our future walks.  Please check out our Events page for details of future walks.

 

Here is a video of our most recent walk, at Hawley Lake.

 

Research has shown that increasing your daily walking is directly related to your mental and physical well-being.

Physical Benefits:

  • Aids in weight loss; burns body fat
  • Strengthens bones; reduces risks of bone fracture and lessens severity of osteoporosis
  • Prevents type two diabetes
  • Strengthens heart and its improves efficiency
  • Improves overall fitness
  • Lowers blood pressure; reduces cholesterol levels
  • Increases high-density lipoprotein
  • Improves efficiency of lungs
  • Raises metabolism even while you rest
  • Helps control appetite
  • Increases energy
  • Slows aging
  • Reduces risk of colorectal, prostrate, and breast cancer
  • Aids rehabilitation from heart attack and stroke
  • Promotes intestinal regularity
  • Strengthens legs, hips, and torso muscles
  • Reduces stiffness in joints due to inactivity or arthritis
  • Relieves most cases of chronic backache
  • Improves flexibility and posture
  • Promotes healthier skin due to increased circulation

Mental Benefits:

  • Helps alleviate and prevent depression
  • Improves several cognitive functions
  • Improves mental alertness and memory
  • Aids intellectual creativity and problem solving
  • Elevates mood
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Relieves sleep apnea and insomnia.

Brain Hemorrhage! Iceberg Ahead!

Towards the end of 2015, I had the feeling of impending danger.

I had the feeling that I was heading for an Iceberg….

I have no idea what made me feel that way? But now I believe it was my sub-conscious speaking to me.

I ran my own small business, and as any small business owner will tell you, it can often feel like sailing on uncertain waters, so I put this very unnerving feeling down to unnecessary worry about my business and I brushed it off.

934123_10153946475389739_4844557597863718793_nI was extremely fit and healthy and was an active long distance Canicross runner. I used to boast to everyone how I never got ill and I put this down to my healthy lifestyle. It never crossed my mind that the feeling of impending danger might relate to my health.

I had already decided that I was spending too much time working and that I needed to find a better work life balance.

10274100_10153953269244739_349132777862845433_n.jpgMy New Years resolution was to ‘Work Less and Live More’. As a promise to myself, I spent New Years Day, with my dog, Daisy, walking the Jurassic Coastline, but little did I know that 26 days later I would be at risk of loosing my life.

The 27th January 2016 was a day like any other; I had spent the day at home working on my laptop. I felt perfectly fine all day, with no warning signs, sypmtoms or anything.

I do remember, looking at myself in the mirror earlier that day and thinking how tired I looked.   My right eyelid seemed to have drooped, but I put it down to having too many late nights working and shrugged it off.

Then about 6.30pm, I started to feel a little lightheaded. I decided I had been working too long and was starting to feel hungry, so I got up to make dinner.

I went into the Kitchen and put on the Kettle for a cup of tea, then, BANG out of nowhere it felt like somebody had whacked me over the back of the head with a baseball bat. The pain started at the back of my head and then seemed to move forwards surrounding my whole brain. It was the most excruciating headache,  the worst  pain I had ever felt in my life and instantly I felt that something bad had happened.

Instantly, I began to feel nauseas and I had the sensation of my ears beginning to fill with pressure, similar to the feeling you sometimes get on an aeroplane.

1917071_10153946476689739_3730944751522170417_nI immediately, had the feeling that I was about to pass out. I managed to move from my Kitchen to my stairs, where I sat for a moment, as I felt everything go black for a short moment.

The feeling in my ears and the feeling of blacking out passed, but the headache was so intense and excruciating painful that I felt I needed to lie down. I grabbed a bucket and some Paracetamols and headed up to my bedroom.

I took the paracetamols, hoping that the severe headache would go.  I lay there for about 10 minutes, preying for the pain to stop. 10 minutes later an even worse head pain came from nowhere. It was the most intense, excruciating pain that I had ever felt. It was so sharp and agonisingly painful, like a sledgehammer being hit at force, across the right side of my skull.

I wanted to call someone for help, but the pain was too intense. I just lay there screaming and crying in pain, whilst my Dog, Daisy, heard my calls and rushed to my side, licking my hands and my face as I cried.

After 10 minutes the feeling of the Sledgehammer piercing my skull began to ware off enough, that I felt capable of picking up the phone, to call my Mum.

I tried to explain to my Mum what was wrong, but she couldn’t understand me to begin with.  I could hear the panic in her voice. I’m not sure if my speech was slurred at that stage, or if I just couldn’t make myself understood through the pain.

My mum understood that I was in a lot of pain and that I had a very severe headache. I asked her to collect my son and bring me some painkillers.

Because I was so healthy and never ill, I began to assume that the headache must be a migraine. I had never had one before, but had heard they can be bad, so despite the intensity of the pain and the initial feeling that this was something very serious, I began to reason with myself that it couldn’t be. I was too fit and healthy, it must just be a migraine.

I text my Mother in law, who had previously been a nurse and asked if she could give some migraine tablets to my Mum to bring over.

12687989_10154023354994739_3332528086673766775_nWhen my Mum and Dad arrived, the intensity of the headache had reduced to the point where I found it ‘manageable’, although I could still feel my head throbbing severely. I had also developed a horrible pain behind my right eye, which felt like pressure building behind my eye. It was very uncomfortable and I needed to keep my eyes closed.

My parents were both very concerned and wanted to take me immediately to the hospital, but I insisted to them that I couldn’t face getting into a car and sitting in A & E. I just wanted to go to sleep and hopefully I would feel better in the morning.

At about midnight,  I insisted that the headache was now not so severe and suggested to my parents that they should go home. Reluctantly they agreed.

In the morning, my head was throbbing and every time I tried to move, or bend forward I felt a horrible pressure in my head. My neck also felt extremely stiff. My Mum rang and insisted that I must go to hospital. Again, I couldn’t bare the thought of getting into a car or sitting in A & E, so I said that I would go to the GP’s.

My mum came over and I suggested that I would walk to the GP as the ‘fresh air’ might make me feel better. I have always been a very outdoors person and getting out in the fresh air has always been my remedy for everything.

12063478_10153761983449739_7015488368524678748_nWe walked to the GP’s, although I could feel my head throbbing with every step and my neck felt painfully stiff, but  I kept telling myself, that it must be a migraine.

We got to the GP’s, I explained my symptoms and the description of my headache and I asked the GP if it was a migraine. She told me that the sudden onset and intensity of the headache that I had described, did not sound like a migraine at all. She suggested that I might have had a bleed on the brain.

She said she would refer me to the hospital immediately for a CT Brain Scan. I heard the words bleed on the brain and the words brain haemorrhage echoing in my head, but I reasoned with myself that the Doctor was being over cautious. I was far too healthy and I thought that a brain haemorrhage could only happen to other people. It couldn’t possibly happen to me.

I was about to discover, that I had a ticking time bomb in my brain – a brain aneurysm that had ruptured.

A Ruptured Brain aneurysm is a medical emergency.  It is a life-threatening condition, which if not diagnosed and treated urgently, statistics show has a death rate of 60%.

Luckily, I am in the 40% of Brain Aneurysm survivors. I am making a good recovery. However, each Brain Aneurysm Survivors experiences are very different.

In my next blog, I will share more about my journey, my diagnosis and details of the life-Saving Neurosurgery that I received at Southampton Neurological Hospital.

I feel extremely privileged to be a Brain Aneurysm Survivor, to be able to tell my story and help raise awareness of the sudden onset symptoms of a Subarachnoid Haemorrhage, caused by a Brain Aneurysm, so that more lives can be saved.

We also welcome other Brian Aneurysm Survivors to share their stories, so that more people know about the condition, recognise the symptoms and act quickly.

SUDDEN SEVERE HEADACHE? …IF IN DOUBT, GET CHECKED OUT!

 

 

 

 

Help us!

We are Brain Aneurysm Soul Sisters. We have met through the worst of circumstances, but have become the best of friends and want to help save more lives.

We have both been affected by Subarachnoid Haemorrhage and Brain Aneurysms in different ways and we want to do more to raise awareness of this devastating, life threatening condition.

We are promoting a petition to encourage the Government to introduce a ‘Brain Aneurysm Awareness Day.  We will be publicising this by taking on a ‘Gold Post Box Challenge’ across England.  Please sign the petition and follow our Gold Post Box Journey. 

Accurate early diagnosis of a Brain Aneurysm is critical, as the initial haemorrhage may be fatal and may result in devastating neurologic outcomes.

Lives can be saved if people know the risks.

• Ruptured Brain Aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases.

• Of those who survive, about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit.

• Subarachnoid Haemorrhage account for around 1 in 20 of all strokes.

• Approximately 15% of patients with Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Haemorrhage die before reaching the hospital.

• 4 out of 7 people who recover from a Ruptured Brain Aneurysm will have disabilities or neurological deficits.

• There are almost 500,000 deaths worldwide each year caused by brain aneurysms and half the victims are younger than 50.

Lisa: “In June 2012 my Mum was suddenly struck down and died from a ruptured Brain Aneurysm.”

Michelle: “In January 2016 I was suddenly struck down by a ruptured Brain Aneurysm. Luckily I received the life-saving surgery in time. I’m one of the lucky ones.”


Together, with the help of all other Brain Aneurysm Victims, Survivors and their families and friends we wish to raise more awareness about the sudden onset symptoms of Brain Aneurysms so that more lives can be saved.

Please help to support us in our Brain Aneurysm Awareness Campaign by signing our petition to introduce a Brain Aneurysm Awareness Day.

We need 100,000 signatures by 1st March 2017

To help achieve this objective, during the Summer of 2016 we will be visiting ALL of the Olympians Gold Post Boxes across England and sending a Postcard from each one, to important public figures, brain injury charities and organisations, featuring a short message from the perspective of a Brain Aneurysm Victim or Survivor.

We will also be inviting local media and the Olympians associated with each Post Box to join and support our Awareness Campaign.

Please help to support our #Goldpostbox #brainaneurysmawareness campaign by signing the Petition and following our Gold Post Box Challenge.

Please sign the Petition pinned to the top of our Page.

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