Sharing Embolization Experience, Part 2

Hi all,

So thankful for this site. I wanted to use these discussions as a way to inform others, reach out for support, and to just record my journey as treatment for my AVM progresses. I just had my second embolization for an AVM in my occipital lobe. I have found it extremely challenging to stay calm in the hospital after the procedure, perhaps because I have to stay awake during it (to go through vision tests) so I don't have a long period of time when I'm waking up from anesthesia. I had a night in the ICU filled with some serious anxiety. I also have a high tolerance for opiates, so the pain medication doesn't quite put me in a comfortable daze. The steroids that I get immediately after the embolization just make me very emotionally unstable....very irritable and restless. Looking for tips and advice for how to deal with this? Has anyone requested meds for anxiety for their hospital stay? I've just been bringing calming music, lavender oil, movies, and my own blanket to keep comfortable....but it doesn't feel like enough.

On a positive note, I was surprised and pleased to find that this embolization was much less painful than the first. After my first, I started getting migraines and visual auras. I actually think that now this might be cleared up for the time being. Now 60% of the tangled mess has been removed and the blood flow rate has been slowed. I was able to skip out on the steroids after going home this time too. I have to do the glue 1 or 2 times after this, and then hopefully can have a craniotomy, or cyber knife radiation. So, I'm gearing up for a lot more time in the hospital. Please share your tricks for relaxation and keeping a low blood pressure!!!

Sounds like you're doing all the right things and that your treatment is doing exactly what it needs to; if you practice a body scan technique like sivasana during yoga, that can be helpful in attaining a calm state; meditative techniques, deep breathing and progressive relaxation techniques can also help. Don't hesitate to ask about the possibility of an anxiolytic if you're feeling anxious and having a tough time calming down.

I was in a lot of pain after one of my embolizations, and was incredibly worried that the pain was signalling another catastrophic rupture (which happened during an earlier emobilization and has made me very skittish about them since then). Once they did a quick scan and told me that there was no bleed and the pain was just nerve pain because the embolization had been working on a blood vessel right next to a nerve, I felt a lot better.

It still hurt, but the anxiety was dialed way down. Breathing techniques, sivasana, and reality testing helped to almost eliminate the anxiety, and pain meds helped to take the edge off the ache.

Practice relaxation and meditation at home when you're in a calm, quiet environment and you'll find that you can access the techniques more readily in a more stressful environment.