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…
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.
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 🙂 I couldn’t ask for more.