Headaches & other questions

Hi there, I had my craniotomy in summer 2013 to resect AVM. I still have an unruptured annie hanging out on the left carotid artery. I've been noticing left sided headaches since around 6 months post op. I keep wondering if it's the aneurysm but the headaches often go away for weeks at a time. I would classify them as mild but distracting. especially because they occur in the same spot. It's always the same pattern and location. I almost never get headaches on my right side. What could this mean? I worried about impending rupture but my neuro thought my risk was exceedingly low after my surgery. I also have had the headaches for over a year. If it's the annie, why would they go away for long periods? I'm overdue for follow up because my anxiety about procedures rivals my anxiety about rupture.

i don't want to know every detail but for those who had craniotomy: I feel bumps where the screws were placed in my head. I know that's normal but my AVM was on the left side (I thought). So why is all the hardware on the right side? Thank you <3


So here's my philosophy on doctors - I hate them. I hate going to the hospital. I hate the smell. I hate the anxiety. I hate seeing lots of other people who are just as stressed out, terrified, and unhappy as I am to have to be there. Every time I cross the threshold of a hospital or doctor's office my blood pressure sky rockets and my heart starts to race because I associate those places and those people with awful things. In other words, I get that you don't want to go in and talk to a doctor. But think of it this way - it's still your choice. The doctor can tell you what's going on (or at least can run tests to figure out what's going on) and offer you choices on how to deal with what's going on. One choice is always leave it alone. No procedures, no intervention, just let it be.

While I sympathize with your wanting to avoid a follow up, having some knowledge about what's going on helps. It helps you to make informed choices rather than making decisions without all the information about what's going on. It's still your choice on whether to go to the follow up or not, but I would urge you to go talk to your doctor, tell him your symptoms, and see what he says. It might be something he can help with with no procedure at all. Wouldn't that be nice?

I have bumps from screws due to a craniotomy, but they're in the place nearest my AVM, so your bumps might be a good thing to ask about as well.

I always tell my husband that this aneurysm happened to the worst person. My anxiety has always been significant (way before I had anything to worry about). I'm blown away that I endured all that I did. My hope was that facing so many fears would make me stronger but I'm weaker. I had resolved to assume my aneurysm was stable because my doctor was so beyond reassuring. Now with the heacdaches, I can't really do that. Then I get nervous about more radiation. Or I worry that my screws are not MRI safe even though they are supposed to be. Stuff like that. Most importantly, I tell my husband that I literally can't even imagine having more surgery. I don't think I could handle it. Coiling is not an option and I wouldn't want the radiation anyway. Thinking about a second craniotomy at 31 years old is nauseating. I don't want to feel sorry for myself because I know people are dealing with worse things. I was pregnant during my craniotomy and didn't think I'd live to see him born. He has his own health problems that are destroying me but I'd never regret having him. I wouldn't be here without him. On and on. I just want to be in denial and live life. Thank you for letting me unload! I'm usually in a denial state but I've been truly devastated lately. Blessings to you all. Hopefully someone might know if these headaches could be something other than the aneurysm. I will strongly consider at least making an appointment with my doctor. He's brilliant but a bit gruff like many doctors are. I have a hard time with that when I really crave a doctor that i can cry to.

Dee, we could not possible speculate on the cause of your headaches. It would be irresponsible. See the doctor, and see a therapist, too, for the crying part. Both can be very necessary for an anxiety-provoking situation like yours. About the follow-ups and not wanting to expose yourself to an anxious situation, my mantra is "Information can't hurt you; lack of information can." Annies need monitoring. Please join the Brain Aneurysm community (link at right) for more guidance on this.