One Month Mark

I am calling today the one month mark after my surgery. I’m doing well and slowly recovering. The physical, visual aspects of the surgery are healing very well and if I’m able to get my hair to do something decent to cover the incision, one would never know I had a craniotomy a month ago.

Photo comparison from two days after surgery (left) to this morning.

FATIGUE: Fatigue is still an issue. I’m reading that the 3-month mark seems to be the time when most people start to feel they have a lot of their energy back. I need to walk more though to continue to build my energy. Also still need to rest more during the day, but it’s getting better.

By Dr. Glen Johnson, Clinical Neuropsychologist
Sleep is very important to the healing process. If you don’t sleep, you’re going to be tired throughout the day. If you’re tired throughout the day, your memory will get worse and you’ll be more cranky and irritable. Lack of sleep makes the other head injury symptoms much worse. Sleep also has an important role in physical healing.

Now I appear to be having some problems getting to sleep at night. Goody! I’m so tired I can’t keep my eyes open, but when I close my eyes, it’s more like a heavy “rest”, not a deep sleep. My brain seems to want to continue to “work” when I lay down at night.

PAIN:
Headaches still occur, but not with the frequency and intensity as they have previously. Usually mild pain meds take care of it…or, resting! The areas where the pins and screws are can send out mild shooting pains occasionally and if I touch the skull area it can wake up all of those nerves. I’m reading I should be able to feel the screws and pins and I think that’s what I’m feeling in one area. Not sure since the Dr. didn’t have my scans ready to show me at my 4-week follow up so I’m not sure where the pins and screws are located on my head/skull just yet.

NUMBNESS:
Oh, that’s still there and it still feels weird. The nerves are starting to heal so there’s a lot of “activity” there, especially if I touch my skull. I hear that could get more active. Those little buggers are highly sensitive. It’s not overly painful, just annoying.

STITCHES/INCISION:
The stitches are all gone and the incision is healing very well. It’s still tender and can be painful if I lay on it or accidentally scrape it with my hair brush or fingers. Umm…so, I’m trying not to do that! My hair is growing back nicely, although the hair at the top of my forehead it growing straight up. The hair along the side of my face is laying down flat. Wish I had more hair there, but I have no complaints! I love they did the incision right along my hair line. Thank you!

BRAIN FUNCTION:
Concentrating on one or more things at the same time can take a lot out of me. I DID drive briefly this week and am VERY aware that I need to concentrate and make sure I stay alert. I’ve been through this before and I know that will take time, but it always makes me nervous…and this is without after working a full day so I need to work up to feeling confident behind the wheel again.

I haven’t done a ton of reading for any great length of time, but when I do, I find it hard to focus and often times have to read the same sentence a few times to “understand” it. That only seems to happen when there is a lot of text on a page. Reading Twitter on my iPad seems to be okay. They are short snippets of text that I can read, process and move on.

Dave had me make a few minor graphic fixes to our brain aneurysm website and Facebook page. I was able to work on those on the computer, but did have a brain fade on where a certain tool was located that I needed to use in Photoshop. Again…I know that will get better with more frequency.

As I stated under the Fatigue bullet, when I get tired during recovery, concentrating and staying focused are more difficult. Been there….done that.

The physical healing is a good visual confirmation that I’m getting better, it’s the internal, brain healing that takes time. I need to be more patient with myself – as do others.

We had a rare, warm February day out today. Sunny, light winds and just beautiful. I had to get some fresh air. Being cooped up in the house in the winter is brutal…too much risk of falling down and hitting my head in icy conditions. The back deck was cleared of snow, so I sat on the back step and let the warmth of the sun wash over my face. I listened to the chickadees and gold finches flutter around me to the feeders and watch the ducks on the now-open water on the stream. I’m reminded of how fragile life is and how lucky I am to even be here. I might complain, I might get frustrated with the slow recovery process, but life is good.

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