True Story: I Had a Brain Hemorrhage

 What's it like to have a brain hemorrhage? What are the warning signs? Click through for one woman's story of surviving a brain hemorrhage.
What’s it like to have a brain hemorrhage? Surely, it’s triggered by something or more dramatic than … feeling like you twisted your neck? Well, yes and no. This is Jen’s story of what happened when she had a brain hemorrhage.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! My name is Jen, I’m 50 and was born in France but both my parents are British. I spent most of my life in France but moved back to the UK 12 years ago with my 20-year old daughter, Claire. I’m divorced but have a long-term partner.
I have loved photography all my life and am now preparing to make a move from office job to child photographer. I have discovered that life is too short to not do what you love for a living!
What were you doing when the hemorrhage occurred? What did it feel like?
I hadn’t ever suffered from anything major, health-wise. On February 10th I had just got home from my Pilates class and flopped on the sofa when I suddenly felt very strange.
At first, I felt like I’d twisted my neck or something, but then I realized that my shoulders, neck and head felt like they were in a pressure cooker. I panicked slightly because I couldn’t get comfortable and as it continued I realized this was not good.
I got my partner to call for an ambulance and my daughter to bring me a bowl because I felt very sick. I started thinking “this must be what having a stroke feels like.” The paramedics arrived and examined me, and asked me if I wanted to “sleep it off” or go to hospital. I remember thinking “What a strange question!” and told them that although I was really not keen to go, I knew I had to go to hospital.
What happened after you had the hemorrhage?
As we arrived at hospital I started throwing up and apparently this went on for some time although – I don’t remember much after this point. I was eventually taken for a CT scan and admitted to the ward.
My partner and daughter went home around midnight but during the night I was told that I had had a bleed on the brain called “subarachnoid haemorrhage.” The doctors talked to people at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and I was to be taken there in the morning.
 knew it must be serious but I had no idea of the statistics. Apparently, more than one third of survivors have major neurological deficits. Furthermore, an estimated 10-15% of patients die before reaching the hospital. Mortality rate reaches as high as 40% within the first week. About half die in the first 6 months.
The next morning I was taken to the NHNN with sirens and horn blaring. When I got there I was taken for a CT with contrast and then they attempted to “coil” my aneurysm.
This was not possible so I was told I had to have brain surgery the next day to place a “clip” across the neck of the aneurysm. The five-hour operation consisted of cutting a bone flap from my skull to allow access to the brain.
When I woke up, the whole side of my face was black and blue from the surgery and my eye swelled shut. I had a big bandage around my head and I felt sick, dizzy, my head was hurting and the light hurt my eyes. But I was alive!
For the next 21 days I had to be woken every four hours to take a drug called Nimodipine to avoid “vasospasm” which can lead to a stroke. I stayed in that hospital four weeks and was then transferred back to my local hospital for a further 2 weeks.
In hospital I had a bit of physiotherapy and occupational therapy, but I was one of the lucky ones. I did not have any major physical problem, such as limb weakness or a speech defect.
I was determined to make it to the bathroom by myself as I couldn’t bear the thought of using a bedpan, but I had to have help showering for several weeks. As soon as I could master the stairs I was allowed home – although this did take six weeks!
Have there been any long-lasting effects of the hemorrhage and surgery?
Since I’ve been home, the biggest problem has been the crippling fatigue. I also have problems with short-term memory, face recognition, concentration and something called “divided attention”. At first, I also had problems finding the right words for things but now that only happens when I’ve overdone it.
The fatigue is very hard to deal with. For example, I had a shower in the morning then came downstairs to see that the groceries had been delivered. I started putting them away in the fridge but after about three minutes I was exhausted and my daughter made me go and sit down.
Before I started I felt fine, but just those two things in one morning (shower + physical activity) were too much for me. The hardest thing is not seeing it coming. I pootle along just fine until all of a sudden, out of the blue, I have to go and sit/lie down. If I do too much two days running, the third day I will have to sleep all morning, with no energy to even lift my head off the pillow.
How long until you were back to your “normal” self?
I have been told this will go on for months and at the moment I am unable to work because I can’t do anything for any length of time.
Are you at risk to have another one?
Apparently, there was no contributing factor to my hemorrhage, although I had been under a LOT of stress at work. Now that the aneurysm has been clipped, and no other aneurysms were seen on the CT, there is no reason for me to have this happen again. Fingers crossed!!
What advice would you give to someone who has a friend or loved one going through serious surgery and a long recovery period? What can we do?
I would say it’s possibly harder on the loved ones looking on than on the patient. Of course, it’s painful and scary, but when it’s happening to you, you just get on with it. When you see your loved one go through it, you feel helpless. I’ve experienced this first hand. My mother had an ischaemic stroke four years ago, although she is doing really well now.).
The only thing one can do is be patient with the patient. We got lots of help from various quarters, including the specialist nurse at the hospital who gave me a really good booklet which you can browse online here.
Keep the faith and always “think positive”. Where there is life there is hope. I have heard so many stories from people whose family were told to prepare for the worst and they have got better against all odds, so it DOES happen. Just stay strong.

Have you ever had a serious surgery? Any questions for Jen?

P.S. True Story: My husband died from brain cancer at 36

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

34 Comments

Jessika

My father had an aneurysm on his aorta. It was discovered before it dissected and he had succesful surgery.

I've been very sick (I have a chronic syndrome) on a number of occassions and I've needed intensive care. Following the care in ICU I always felt dis-oriented as in wth happened? I just couldn't sort things out. The syndrome I have is autoimmune. Over time it has destroyed my pituitary gland. With it, and other things, came cognitive impairment. I have a hard time remembering things and if I get stressed out, I again become somewhat disoriented. As in what have I done and what haven't I done?

The hospital that manages my care offered me to see a neuro-psychologist. It's been very helpful. She's helped me to look at my life in a different way. Perhaps I can't expect normality, as in before illness, but I can alter my life to fit my new circumstances. It's not simple, I still fight the idea of "giving in" to the new set of circumstances but I feel better when I do.

I agree that life is far too short to be locked up in a job (for ex) that you can't find satisfactory.
Take care of yourself!

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Anonymous

I’m Amira 30 yrs old from Bahrain , I have had a Hemmorhage too , It was really Bad , I ve hemiparesis now , & Short Term Memory loss , I was 22 at that time & now I am 30 , I feel extremely frustrated when my family tells me that I forget , I have got problems with short term memory loss , my boy friend left me &married another lady , I live with Family now , Daily ..I go to sport Medicine to do Physiotherapy , I feel for you since What had happened to you is Similar to What had happened to me , that is not the end of life , now I have my own business a tailoring shop which my Dad supported me to open , But I suffer from depression thanks Bbye Amira Ali ?!

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isma mir

Amira my sister is 19. she has suffered from right side hemmorhage now have left side weakness. please tel me how much time vl she take to be perfectly alright.

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Amira Mirza

Really I feel for you and what are you feeling right now , I think she will be alright within 6 to 9 months , Don’t feel bad she will be fine within this time , according to what experience I had in my Case , pray for her dear , with love Amira!

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Kristin

Amira,
I too had a front left lobe brain hemorrhage. I bled for 3 hours while I was in labor with my first child. I was in the labor unit, but the signs I were showing went unrecognized cause I was in the labor unit, not the ER. Nurses credited my signs to child birth. After birth I lost all consciousness and my OB doc didn’t know why, so he took me to the ER. There they determine I had a brain injury and after the MRI it proved the theory.
I read your story and had many similar changes such as memory, and face recognition but I also forget names too, shorter attention span, loss of words, a big one for me was personality change. It did a 180 and my poor husband has been married to someone he doesn’t know or didn’t choose to be married to. He has stuck it out, although it has come close to destroying our marriage many times. I was mentally a child for 5 years after. My poor husbands spouse was mentally 8. What a hell.
Brain injuries are a hell to live and huge stress on a marriage. You may look fine but mentally u can be a mess and I’ve lived things people don’t see or realize.
We need to get a group of us together as an support group. Those who have had brain injuries and who can uplift another. Here’s my email. Kristinfe@sfcn.org
Contact me and if nothing else maybe we can help each other through our own stories?
Kristin

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Amira Mirza Mohammed Ebrahim Ali

Hi Kristin , oh yeah it is very difficult situation , I’m with you in this , lots of love Amira !?!

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Amira Mirza

If there is a Will there will always be a way , She will be fine soon Don’t worry !

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zazazu

About 18 months ago, I had open heart surgery for an aneurysm in the right chamber of my heart at the age of 32. The aneurysm was about the size of a navel orange and all the doctors said it was a miracle that I didn't die from it before it was discovered. The whole process, even though it was a whirlwind and came about very quickly, completely changed my life. Many things are put into perspective when you come that close to death and have a machine beating your heart for you for that long. None of it was easy but all of it was absolutely necessary in many ways.

msred5@yahoo.com

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Brigid

What a great reminder to follow our hearts today because no matter how well we feel we never know what's coming next.

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Caiti

Thanks so much for sharing!! As a speech therapist, I can't get enough of personal recounts of stroke to constantly remind myself that every person is different. So glad to hear you didn't have a language issue! Have you checked out Stroke of Insight by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor? It's an excellent read!

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Ann hoynes

My da had a brain haemorrhage a week ago can’t speak no feeling down his right side what can I do to help him please and thank you

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Amira Mirza

Don’t feel Bad you should have Patience , This is Fate , we can do nothing to change it , he will be alright and recover soon , it is just a matter of time !

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Ayush Aggarwal

My dad had suffered from the same. In how many years can he recover? Moreover he speaks a few words..but not everything.

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Amira Mirza Mohammed Ebrahim Ali

He will be fine Ayush Dont worry , It is just a matter of time , you need to be more patient with him ! Bbye , Amira Mirza !?!

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Jen

Thank you Sarah for featuring my story (LOVE the illustration you chose!). To everyone else, thank you for your stories too. Since being inteviewed I have been greatly helped by a neuro-psychologist myself and have made great progress. Yes Caiti, I am so happy I don't have aphasia like my mum! And ive seen Youtube videos of Jill Bolte Taylor – fascinating.

Carpe diem people!

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shopaholly

Thanks for sharing your story Jen! It's really great that you've taken such a positive attitude to something that has clearly had a huge effect on your life.

I hope your health gets better and better with each day.

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Anonymous

I HAD THE SAAME PROBLEMS…WEN I WAS 18 I WAS ATTACKED BY A GROUP OF THUGS WHO LEFT ME DEAD..I WAS IN THE ICU FOR 2WEEKS..MY FAMILY WAS TOLD TO EXPECT THE WORSE N DIDNT THINK I WAS GOING TO MAKE IT..LUCKILY I PULLED THRU..AT FIRST I DIDNT KNOW WOT WAS GOING ON..I HAD NO MEMORY OF WOT I WAS IN HOSPITAL FOR..I CUDNT UNDERSTAND WOT WAS GOING ON..I WAS GETTING FUSTRATED KEPT HAVIN WEIRD DREAMS WHICH I STILL REMEMBER NOW..BUT CUDNT MOVE..MY BRAIN WAS THINKING BUT NOT WORKIN NOR FUCTIONING..AFTER THE THIRD WEEK I GOT MOVED OUT OF THE ICU..BEING TOLD I WAS RINGING ALL MY FRIENDS TELLING ME TO PICK ME UP AND TAKE ME HOME AT CRAZY HOURS OF THE NIGHT FROM MY HOSPUITAL BEDFONE..THINKING OF IT MY MIND STILL HAD RECONITION OF PHONE NUMBERS WHICH I STILL REMEMBERD OF FRIENDS N FAMILY THY WER SHOCKED N CONF– USED TO HEAR MY VOICE ON PHONES AS THEY NEW WHERE I WAS..I REMEMBRD LOOKING UNDER THE HOSPITAL BED SHEETS AND SEEING A TUBE ATTACHED TO MY PENIS..REMEMBER TRYING TO DISCONECT THE TUBE N GETTING FUSTRATED..WAS SOO KEEN TO BREAK OUT OF HOSPITAL AND GETT AWAY FROM EVERYONE AS I THOUGHT I WAS BEING HELD N TRAPPED BY ALL THA DOCS N NURSES..AFTER ALL THE NIGHTMARES FELT SOOO REEAAL…WAS REBELLIN AGAINST EVERYONE…ANGER PROMLEMS WER SHOWING FUSTRATION..ANXIETY..DEPRESSION..HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE…HALF MY HEAD WAS MISSING..THEN SLOWLY I WAS TRANSFERED TO MY LOCAL HOSPITAL WER I WENT THRU REHABILITATION..WHERE THE NURSES HELP ME LOADS TO GET ME BK TO NORMAL..TAKEIN ME OUT FOR WALKS ALONG BUSY ROADS..AND SEING IF I COULD COOK MY FAVORITE MEALS…LIKE, BEANS ON TOAST WITHOUT ANY AID..ALL I KNEW I HAD TO GET OUT AND KJEPT MY FAITH IN GOD..AFTER 2WEEKS..I SHOWED SOO MUCH INPROVMENT I WAS ALOUD BACCK HOME..WAS THE HAPPIEST DAAY OF MY LIFE..2DAY 2YEARS LATER..I LOOK BACK AND THINK ABOUT WOT I WENT THRU AND WOT MY FAM WENT THRU..SOOO THANKFULL TO GOD AND ALL THE NURSES N DOCS AT THE ICU..WHO SAVED MY LIFE..AS I WENT BACK A YEAR LATER TO THANK EVERY1 HU HELPED ME..THY WER SOOO SHOCKED TO C HOW STRONG I HAD COME BACK FROM WOT I WAS..ITS TRULEY A MIRACLE..HAVE FAITH..KEEP SUPPORTING,FRIENDS N FAMILIES HU ARE GOOIN THRU BRAIN INJURIES N HEMMORIDGES ..SORRY ABOUT THE SPELLING…IT ISNT BECA– USE TO MY INJURIES..SIMPLY IN A RUSH AND CBA TO SPELL CHECK..AND FINALLI I WANT TO THANK GOD..FOR GIVING ME A SECOND CHANCE IN LIFE AND BRINGING BACK SOO MANI SMILES ON SOO MANI FACES THE DAY I RECOVERED…

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supriya

my mom has a brain hemorrhage.. she has gone through an operation.. after the operation, 2-3 days, she was fine.. she had opened her eyes..talked normally..but after 2-3 days she has got swelling in brain and now she is not opening her eyes and not speaking and her right side is moving less.. but she can feel when some one tries to talk to her..

i want to ask how much time she will take to recover?

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Sandeep

My dad 55yrs old had brain hemorrhage on 29 june 2016, after that he was in icu for 8days n then 6weeks in normal ward. On August 22, he was discharged from the hospital, being physiotherapy therapy done everyday still he is not able to sit on his own or able to walk a bit. Would love to know if any one facing same problem or were able to walk after 6months after a brain hemorrhage

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Davie G

I was walking after 6days although i still have to this day have some difficulties in everyday life which I’ve accepted, I was 47 when the ++++ hit the fan with me I took 5 months off work before going back but part-time as my employers were unhelpful to me especially with 17yrs service.everydays a blessing even the hard ones always look on the bright side it could be worse is what I tell myself I’m one of the lucky ones to survive I tell myself

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Carole

I was off work for nearly eight months after my ruptured haemorrhage was clipped. I did a gradual return to work but as with Davie G, my workplace did not make it easy for me to do so. They thought I should be able to to return to my position as before, and I had to get legal advice and write lots of letters before I got any joy. I too had been in that job for over ten years. I now work part time, and still struggle sometimes when it gets too hectic. I look and feel fine, but have to concentrate on one task at a time (I used to multi task). My balance has been affected and my memory is not good. I also can’t hold a tune like I used too! ?

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Carole

I found that the nursing staff in the hospital, before the op, didn’t have much knowledge on SAH. They didn’t understand that sound was magnified as well as light. Sometimes, my meal would be left at the foot of my bed, even though I was flat on my back and couldn’t reach it. Also, my family were left in the dark about why I wasn’t operated on for eight days and what was going on. They just kept saying – “if she survives for the next 24 hours, we’ll go from there!” Also, there was no aftercare after the op (which was successful). The surgeon did a good job and me and my family raised a few thousand pounds for the neurology dept. In the hospital, in the following months, but more training is needed in this area.

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Pat

My mother had a brain bleed caused from medication. 93 and choose not to have surgery. S he has lived in the same apartment for 22 years and can’t ever remember living here. Is there any chance she will ever know her home

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Matilda Baker

Yes I had a brain bleed did not even know it nowaday a two months later I rember a strange feeling on my ear like a bee had sting me and it went away as fast as 2min so I would like people to be aware of that feeling it was a sign I miss it Thank you

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Neeey

My mom has brain hammeroge around 96 hours ago (ICH) she is in ICU… Not understanding what to do …just 52 years

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Amira Mirza Mohammed Ebrahim Ali

Dont worry Neeey your Mom will be fine soon It is just a Matter of time , believe me I’ve been through all this & the support of my Family was the most helpful thing ever .thanks with love Amira !?!

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Debra Johnson

My mom went to hospital for bleeding on the brain and now she can’t walk do thank she will every walk again ?

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imran

my mom she is 50 years old had a brain hemereage seven months earlier she has undergone with surgery after that she unable to speak and regognise but later she able to speak and regognise and she had weakness on right side leg and hand.But after six month once again it has attack but this time on right side once againshe lost her speech and regognise but after one she is speaking but loss in memory .she has no movements on right side still how many months she take for complete recovery please any help by replying.
I am waiting for your reply.
The above true insident given lot of hope thanks for your post .I used to read this kind of articles but these insidents are super it inspired me lot once again i thank for post .
please please reply me any one.

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Anonymous

Yes Sure She will be fine dont worry about her , Just keep by her side , she needs your love & Affection more than any time before . With Luv ,Take care Amira !

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Brenda

Hi my brother is going through the same thing he is about to get his 2 surgery never lose hope an always have faith

Reply

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