Life is rough so you gotta be tough

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I can honestly say that nothing would have prepared me for brain surgery. No amount of reading, no amount of therapy, and no amount of re-assurance prepared me. ¬†I wasn’t prepared when I went to the emergency room early. I wasn’t prepared when I was wheeled back. I wasn’t prepared when I was talking to my family the morning of, or when I was holding my wife’s hand and her tears started rolling…

The Emergency Room Visit

I was at workThe pressure behind my eye was worse than it had been in days but it was finally unbearable and I couldn’t wait any longer. I called my wife and said I couldn’t wait anymore, please go pack some bags, drop off Xander at moms, we need to drive up to the University of Chicago. I finally looked at one of my co-workers, and said I couldn’t do it anymore, I called my mom to come pick me up, and called my boss…I had felt utterly defeated….I had gone for a few months doing this…but I couldn’t last just two more days… within the hour my wife and mothers were traveling with me up to the University of Chicago ER where we were fairly quickly admitted. We spent a majority of the first night getting lots of meds, and a few tests done to make sure the aneurysm had not burst or grown. The test looked fine so we waited until March 9th the scheduled date of the surgery…

Surgery Day

From January 31st until March 9th my anxiety was on high alert. I had rarely slept a more than an hour or two out of fear unless it was out of complete exhaustion….I became afraid of sleeping…however on Surgery day, I finally felt calm. I realized today was the day everything would hopefully get better. However Kelly’s day was disrupted. It was like we switched places. I got wheeled back to the prep room. I had to give her my wedding ring and she started to cry…I felt at a lost. I finally understood what it felt like to be her through just journey just for a moment. The fear…I told her that I was ok, and that we were ok. And then I said what we always say to each other…. ” Always” Dr. Awad opened me up on March 9th, and took out my aneurysm. He found out during surgery that it had bled before. He cannot give an exact date of when, but it was good that we did the surgery when we did. I am beyond blessed to have a surgeon that listened and decided not to wait for me to do this surgery. I woke up and i remember hearing family around me….let me say this….if you have a craniotomy its so weird. Your head doesn’t hurt to bad which is great, but you hear swishing sounds and tick-tock sounds. It was beyond weird to deal with and that didn’t go away for weeks.

Recovery

March 11th I believe I was able to come home. I was so happy to be able to come home…Kelly can tell you more into detail about what happened at the hospital… I dont remember much, I was asleep a large portion of it. ( She said she would try and poke me awake). Recovery at home was a long process. The first few days of sleeping in bed was difficult. I had to lay up really high, and could only lay on one side for many weeks. I also was tired very often. I would take mini naps. However, because I am an insomniac, I would struggle to sleep for long periods of time. Right after surgery I couldn’t see out of my right eye very well due to swelling, and my memory was less than par. I could hold the same conversation with you about 50 different times. Now I can see and my memory is almost 100% back to normal. Just a few slip ups here and there if i am too tired…. I couldnt carry anything that was over a gallon of milk, and I could barely walk up and down the stairs for a bit without being extremely fatigued. After 7 weeks I was able to go back to work…it helped a lot with my memory to come back to work.

Something that got worse….

Before surgery I had anxiety, and I was seeing a counselor for it. I was doing amazing, I was making a lot of progress. But then I got sick…Even when I got sick I was still staying positive and still making some progress….however after surgery, my anxiety got way worse…I forgot the steps to calm myself down…I forgot the basics…my fears got way more unrealistic but far more scary, I became unable to handle social situations, and sometimes unable to handle work situations…I started to have anxiety attacks again….

A step in the right direction

A few weeks ago I made the call to start seeing my counselor again for my anxiety. I am by no means ashamed to say I see someone. I am trying to better myself. I want to be the best person I can be. That being said, I want people to know, please don’t take personal offense if I do not answer texts or calls, go out for long periods of time, or at all, talk for just short periods of time, leave abruptly. A lot of times my anxiety is getting the best of me and I am doing my best to hide it from you. But please believe me I am trying to get better.

Where do we go from here?

Dr. Awad said that I will have one or two more aneurysms in my lifetime. I’m not waiting around for them. So for now, I am going to enjoy life with my wife Kelly. I am currently applying for Grad School, enjoying my job at Pinnacle Opportunities, and being a mom to 3 wonderful fur babies ūüôā I couldn’t ask for more.

 

 

 

 

 

What do I do now?

January 6th I went to see a new neurologist hoping for more answers about my migraines. After many tests I got a phone call saying that i was to go see a brain surgeon, one of the best and so January 31st I went back to the University of Chicago¬†where he diagnosed me with a 4mm brain aneurysm…
He said we could do two things. Wait and watch, or have surgery. The more he talked to me the more he talked about how my history ( my biological father died of a ruptured aneurysm) and my age made this aneurysm a ticking time bomb. So it really wasn’t much of a choice and we chose a date for the surgery. March 9th
On our way home me and my wife were talking about how great this was…but all I could think about is how far away March 9th is..and how long I have to wait with a ticking time bomb inside my head. That night, I researched everything I could on unruptured aneurysm and craniotomys. Looking at everything made me realize the seriousness of all of this.
I couldn’t sleep that night, or for a few nights after. I became afraid my aneurysm would rupture in my sleep. My anxiety became so increasingly bad with every passing day.
I started getting angry at anything and everything…because why not? Why was everything happening to me?

One night my wife and I were talking and I told her how I felt entirely alone and like all my freedom was taken from me. My right to drive, my right to be alone, my right to feel safe. Everything. But then she told me, ” I cannot imagine what you are going through. I cannot even begin to imagine. But I am right beside you, I am with you. I have lost my freedom with you. I stay home with ¬†you, I don’t go out. Please understand, you are not alone. I am with you.” ¬†Throughout this entire time, my wife has never left my side. She always talks to me even when she doesn’t want to talk, she sits with me while I cry, or get extremely angry at the world for no reason but to just be upset. ¬†She has also reminded me daily that I have an amazing support system. I have a family that loves me and is there for me as well as friends who also love and support me.

When I thought life couldn’t get more stressful…..My insurance called to tell me that they would not pay for the surgery…My life at that very moment crumbled. ALL the struggle that I had for this surgery…the doubts..the fears Vanished. What replaced it was absolute panic that I would no longer be able to get the surgery that I was scared of…but I needed.

I just¬†broke. I began to cry uncontrollably about anything and everything because all i could do was panic. Me and my wife went home and I just sulked for a little bit. Then we went out with friends. The next day we went to work, and called the insurance with our boss where again, they told us they would not pay a dime for the surgery, I would need to pick a new hospital a new surgeon, and inevitably I would have to wait. Again, Panic rose and I broke down and began to cry. ¬†We both came home from work. The funny thing was….My wife ended up getting sick with a bad chest cold. And as awful as that is, it helped me a lot. I got to tend to her needs, take care of her, comfort her…it was the first time in months where I actually felt very needed.

My anxiety isn’t gone…but I am finally calm about things. Whatever happens next will happen next….we will go with the flow…we will be brave…we can do this.cropped-brain1.jpg