First day at the gym! Was worried I'd never feel safe again

This may be in the wrong section… move it if it is please

But today marks my first day in the gym in years and first day in the gym since embolisation

I probably pushed myself a bit hard but my body felt right and it felt good so I just went with it

Did an hour of combined weights and aerobic exercises but mostly weights and it felt great

I did get a headache after but I get them so often so it’s nothing to worry about

Then I went back tonight for another 30 min session

But I feel great (sore but great) so I’m very happy with that as only a few months ago I was thinking I’ll always be worried about popping something and doing damage so I’ll never get to a gym again but it’s done and I feel great about it

Main reason I wanted to go back to gym was a combined effort of getting fitter again, improve my asthma, lose a few kgs, and improve mental health


I’m going for a consult in April 12 before getting an embolization. I’m a gym person too and I have not been going much since I found out about this AVM. I do workout at home but not as hard.
Question did you have any issues with the embolization and do you have headaches often after having it. I’m scared to death about this. I’m 50 in very good shape no health issues except for this. Any help would be great :blush:

Hi @Chloe

Normal to be scared. I was too. I was diagnosed about 20 months ago and only starting to really really not be scared of it anymore. It takes a while to forget it and be less worried but it happens

Firstly, I had zero major issues with embolisation apart from a lot of pain in head in icu after surgery but that’s to be expected I guess. It went away

We are all so different but with me, I had 24/7 bad headaches prior to embolisation, then they went away after embolisation for months then came back for no reason which got me thinking it’s no longer obliterated but I was wrong…

I’m a Guinea pig with the surgery and they are doing a LOT of follow ups with me (for research I think) including they did a post approx 9 month catheter angiogram which confirmed it’s still obliterated so the headaches I get now are apparently not related to the davf

Overall I can say now I do get less headaches and less pressure than before the embolisation and my workout headache honestly I may have got even if I didn’t work out and its nlt even as bad as my pre surgery headaches

The biggest thing I can say is what i learnt from others here and that’s listen to your body… I took a long time to get into activity after embolisation as my body was telling me no this doesn’t feel right. Don’t push yourself too hard too fast

That’s why I was surprised and happy at today’s results and I just went with it because my body was telling me it’s ready and everything felt great :slight_smile:

Hope that helps a bit. Feel free to ask anything you need

@mike_az_21 might have some useful info too

Thank you so much. I have never had any issues I never even knew I has this AVM until I went for an MRI for ringing in my left ear that is unrelated.
Thank you for the positive words . I had an angiogram in February and he wants to embolize this. When you say obliterated does that mean it’s gone just from the embolization?
Thanks for all the answers and I’m so happy for you

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That’s exactly what my neurosurgeon told me “listen to your body”

When I was released I was allowed to lift up to 10 pounds for 3 months - followed orders & did a lot of 10 pound curls & military presses

At three months my neurosurgeon seriously told me that I will be able to get back where I once was - but “listen to your body” - what all of my medical staff told me is that my physical shape is what let me bounce back as fast & hard as I did

So, I did - I worked out with small(by my standards) weights at home & did pushups(started with barely doing a couple) - it was covid anyway

I came back into the gym 5 months and 5 days after my hemorrhage/dAVF was diagnosed. I felt ok, but my temples did take turns pounding from time to time. I believe there was a handful of times I did get to a point where I needed to take a couple of Tylenols & did get a few tired spells post workout.

Now I am approaching nine months post hemorrhage - I am back to pulling personal record weight - I lift a lot, I mean a lot(I rep 315 pound deadlifts) - This is what got me this big in the first place & if I am capable, I am not letting it go. I feel okay, no headaches, no pressure behind my eye after intense workouts. I check my blood pressure constantly throughout the day - with meds I am spot on to where I was before my brain got replumbed.

Although I am not all perfect. . . Like yesterday, clouds came in hard & we have been having huge temp swings - I just got tired all the sudden :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

We’re all different, at this point I am real glad to be me. . . So far, so good. I have no clue how long this will last. This is a fairly dangerous sport & just gets tougher as we age. But, what’s kinda funny I guess - is that, I 'm more scared of is to lose my back before anything happens to this guy in my head.

No problems Chloe

Yeah they use two terms consistently and from what I can tell is they both mean the same thing… but someone will correct me if I’m wrong

They often tell me mines either “obliterated” and they also use another word ive forgotten which appears to mean the same thing which as far as I know it means it’s completely sealed and fixed

Sometimes you’re lucky and its obliterated including all feeders in one session, sometimes multiple sessions and sometimes it’s never completely obliterated but it’s a million times better than it ever was before and quite safe :slight_smile:

Oh and update on the headache, it turned out to be no worse overall than my normal ones

@mike_az_21 I know I did the first session right (well not right but hard) as I’m so muscle sore I can’t dress myself lol… which is a bit of a problem living alone. Feels good though to finally have some muscle pain if you know what I mean

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Thank you so much I feel a little better hearing positive stories.
I’m just anxious to get this all done and over with the waiting part is the hardest. I’m afraid to do anything :blush:. And congratulations

I hear you about the gym I was not pulling what you do but I never knew I had this thing and I was doing 140 deadlifts and that was me really just starting out again because of Covid
But I can’t get myself back there bey to afraid until this is taken care of .
But I do miss it a lot !!!

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Total obliteration refers to the AVM/dAVF being completely sealed with embolization liquid - I think anything above 98-99% is considered totally obliterated

You personally, for now - work out - but, take it easy. Until this thing is either taken care of, or you’re monitoring it & it’s not getting worse - hey, a 140Lb deadlift for a lady isn’t a little amount

But, as you can see - well, anything is possible. After going what I went through, I did not have the slightest thought in my head that I would be back to heavy lifting - let alone how fast. . . I remember the day I left ICU, I couldn’t walk & had to be wheeled out in a wheelchair. It was the best feeling ever just to feel fresh air again. For weeks I could barely make it around the block holding onto my wife barely walking & losing my breath.

But, like my neurosurgeon told me “you’ll make great strides” - and, I did. Within a month or so I was able to curl 10 pound weights. . . I only started lifting anything after they told me that complete obliteration was achieved.

I haven’t been on here as much as I was at first. Reading yours and others stories really puts me in a different mood - not entirely a bad one. But, how blessed am I to be how I am today. . . Just woke up right now, the light brut in my left ear is still there to remind me that all of this was real. And, I go from there - before all of this, I sounded like anyone else - another day, same ol” same ol’ - but, not any more. Every day now is more like a new adventure. It still scares me shitless every time I get on the bench, squat rack with the weight that I do - knowing what’s holding me together.

My 20’s something gym buddy can’t believe what I do - just can’t. I still lift more than him - and, “you’re doing this with your brain glued together” - well, I guess I am

But, like I mentioned way earlier - I’m not fighting through pain or any other nasty feelings throughout my head. . . I’m already older & know how to workout fairly well - I’m trying my best to go for the long haul, not just break records. . . Almost a decade back, I lifted way more. And, now I just look back at that stuff & I’m glad I already got it out of my system. I haven’t been lifting insane weights for about two years prior to this happening. Before that, I reached about 450 Lbs on both deadlift & squat - my bench always lacked & I barely reached 315 or so

I stopped with the ridiculous weights when my back went out twice & I couldn’t move for a week at a time.

Again - so far, so good. . . I am just amazed with myself at this point. I never thought this would be possible again in my lifetime. . .

And, I’m going to mention this anywhere I get into what I actually do - this is at my own risk, I don’t recommend anyone actually doing this, follow your body - I’ve been so blessed that mine keeps going :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for the reply’s today I appreciate them so much. They inspire me to keep going take it easy until this thing is gone .


@AlwaysCurious It’s great to hear you got on well and it’s just as great to hear both you & Mike saying “take it easy” to Chloe :wink:

Chloe, when you’ve had your embolization, think of it as the beginning of recovery, not that you’re back in the driving seat of life. It takes a long time to heal and feel ok. If you check above, the guys are at least 9 months post embolization so don’t rush back to the gym.

Very best wishes all,



Thank you . I appreciate all of this helps a lot .
Beat wishes to everyone :blush:


What is kinda something is that my final hemorrhage wasn’t caused by heavy weight lifting - instead it was brought on by raised body temperature.

Collapsing at the gym is still a huge fear of mine, though.

Even now knowing that you have this, I wouldn’t recommend to stop being active - keep going - just don’t go under heavy strain, walk a lot & do a good amount of low impact cardio + very mild weight training.

Keeping our bodies moving and in good physical shape really seems to get us a better chance of getting back on the road faster < I really hope it’s the cause for others also.

Hey, OP - how long are you on a six month angiogram interval? Man, that seems excessive - but, I def do know that every case is so different.


Hi I have not been to the gym I row at home and do 10 lb weights for arm workouts . I want to go back and my trainer says I could just do my own thing but I’m afraid too even though I have no symptoms at all. At least at home I can watch my heart rate that I don’t let go above 150 . If it does I rest for a min and let it go down.
I heard of another person who body temp caused a rupture that’s scary.

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@Chloe you’re doing the right thing as some of the worst avms have no symptoms and some of the less severe avms that require no surgery have many symptoms so symptoms are not always a an indication of how serious an avm is so keep it very light and easy like Mike said until after surgery and then go slow after surgery like Dick said

And yeah drs also said to me that keeping physically fit is one of the best things we can do but very very very cautiously

You’ll be fine :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


Thank you for the support :blush:


A heart rate of 150? Geez, I’d explode - LoL

Well, put in that one - worst conditions in some cases have no symptoms & the other way around

I mean, I looked past what I would of called mild symptoms all the way up to when my rupture happened. Nothing seemed severe, no huge headaches - I had no clue what pulsatile tenitus was

It’s what really scares me now. From a sauna to a brain hemorrhage all within minutes. . . I still don’t know how to shake all that PTSD off my back. . . But, I just keep going.

Actually I have been slacking for almost a week, I’m giving the gyms time here a bit ever since they lifted the face mask mandate. Just like when they opened back up, I didn’t rush back. . . . I know we all heard this one: it’s not a race. . . Shoot, if it was - I do t think I wanna get to the finish line 1st.

That’s the thing before I knew I had this I would get my heart rate up to 190 sometimes. I was a bug boot camp person before I starting lifting . And I even ran the Spartan 2 years ago and that was 2 hours and months of training before.
So I guess I’m lucky now it’s all fear for me the unknown if I go to the gym. I went the day before my angiogram too lol.
Now I’m scared I think because of the bulge in one of my veins running to the avm. I think that is the main cause of him wanting to do the embolization otherwise he may have left it alone. It not in a spot where he can operate.
But I go for a consult in a little less than a month and then set up the appointment.

Wow! A 190 BPM!

I never thought I’d be the person saying it, but there is a time & place for everything. Right now, relax - for a while

It’s amazing how our body works isn’t it?

You think something would of happened when I was deadlifting 450 pounds instead of just hanging out in a sauna. . . The funny part is that my wife always tried to get me to do the sauna thing & plain out refused - for no specific reason at all - until that one day

I really really hope you do well. . . After reading more of what you’re writing I get a better picture of who you are < with a BPM of 190, you’d run circles around me.

Just keep doing what you have, but I’d say at about a 10-15% intensity. Keeping us moving helps with so much. Not just physically, but mentally also. . . It’s my physical training that got my ass off the couch - if it wasn’t for doing a thousand 10 pound curls per day, I’d prob still be on psyche meds.

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Yea definitely I am still doing some kind of workout everyday because it helps me mentally too. Thank you so much for all the advice and time I appreciate it .
I’m very scared of this embolization thing I have 3 teenagers I want to be around for a long time and a husband. So I want to make sure I do all the right things