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Unread 09-02-2006, 11:01 PM   #1
KathiDG
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Default Post Shunt Revision/Insertion Question

As I mentioned, I had a programmable shunt installed on the 18th of August. As far as surgery recovery, I am having trouble with a couple things. I noticed I have trouble reading because it gives me a headache fairly quickly now. Also, I have a numb sensation when I touch the shunt area. The doctor did not remove the old shunt as I would've been in trouble due to brain hemorrhage. The new shunt is on the same side as the old, I believe in the same ventricle. The new shunt is about an inch apart from the old. The numbness I feel goes from the old shunt valve across to the new one. To describe it, I feel like that whole are has been novocained. It doesn't hurt really, just feels weird to the touch. Is this something I need to talk to my NS about? Possible when the new shunt was put in, there was a nerve in the area? Just a very odd/strange feeling is all. The reading/eye thing REALLY bothers me though.
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Unread 09-03-2006, 02:32 AM   #2
Nat Hyland
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Default Most of what you described is "normal"

Hi Kathi

Considering you had your surgery relatively recently, I wouldn't be too worried about things just yet. I know that after my last revision, the incision site was still painful for about a month and a half, and I can definitely relate to the "numbness" sensation. This could possibly be the effect of anaesthetics. Reading is probably not the best thing to be doing, if you can avoid it at all, because it puts more strain on your eyes.

I would suggest you just take it easy for a while. I know that after my last surgery, I was still falling asleep at the drop of a hat, on a quite regular basis, even weeks later. Just give your body time to recover and adjust.

Nat.
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Unread 09-03-2006, 11:54 AM   #3
Spiritgal
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Hi Kathi,

I had a full shunt revision on 29th July and I'm still having symptoms that you describe. The whole side of my head where the new shunt has been placed feels numb...I mean, obviously I can feel it's there but the sensation is nearly deadened completely. This happened when they inserted my first shunt 6 years ago and on one part around my ear the feeling never really came back properly. Doc said it was something to do with damaged nerve endings. It didn't really bother me though and this doesn't although it feels a little odd! My op was 5 weeks ago and like Nat I get very sleepy around 4pm. They removed the heart-end of my old shunt but like you left the brain-end in as it was too dangerous to remove and inserted the new shunt on the opposite side of my brain. It's a major surgery remember, so it will take you a while to recover. I'm just resigned to the fact it's gonna take longer that I thought initially! I don't try and read yet as I get headaches and I can't concentrate but I know from last time that reading will be ok in the future..just not right now. Took me about 6-8 weeks last time before I found reading easy again. You'll get there! Hope you're feeling better pressure and headache wise?
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Unread 09-03-2006, 01:30 PM   #4
davidmic61
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Talking RE: numb skull

No, I'm not calling you names. I too had numbnesss for a while after my revision. There are a lot of nerves within the tissues of your body and some are bound to be damaged when there are incisions. In my case the the numbness went away with time. However, even if it doesn't go away, it sure beats the symptoms I'm sure you had before surgery. Keep up the faith and keep us informed of your progress. You are in with a good group of people
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Unread 09-03-2006, 09:48 PM   #5
KathiDG
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Default RE: Numbskull & Spiritgal.. :)

DEFINITELY 110% better than before surgery! Chronic headaches are non-existent at this point. Woo Hoo! Still having some slight pain issues at the shunt insertion site, but it's to be expected for sure. That much I know. The Percocet was making me nauseous so my NSG said to stop taking it and use Tylenol. Since I stopped, I still get a little bit nauseous, but not as much by far. I guess it's just a matter of giving myself time to recover properly. Doc said not to take it too easy. Move around a lot, so I'm trying. I go back in to see him a week from this coming Tuesday.

Geez this shunt is HUGE compared to the non-programmable valve I have. I bet it's probably 2 or 3x the size... lol..just call me Lumpyhead lol...

Hey, anyone know how this programmable (Medtronic Strata) will handle a roller coaster? I've been dying to go (once I recuperate of course, next year...??), but...I know I went on ALL roller coasters with the old shunt and doc said "and NOW it's not working", BUT in my defense, the old thing was 23 or so yrs old, so wouldn't it be slowing down anyway?? Lol...

My feeling on the coasters is to try it because I don't know for sure. I mean, I'm sure everyone will react differently. I've been able to ride roller coasters so far and it has not given me headaches in the least. On the other hand, I heard programmable valves have this nasty habit of breaking easily?? I'm stuck. On one hand, I want to be able to have fun and I Love 6 flags, on the other hand, I have this hardware now...
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Unread 09-04-2006, 10:08 AM   #6
Spiritgal
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Hey there! Glad to hear you're feeling better and it's just post-op pain you have to go through. I went for a swim in my local hotel pool for the first time today since surgery (just over 5 weeks) and even though I feel great for it, I'm tired now! You'll probably bounce back quick enough, but do give your body time to recover.
So, coasters, huh? I've avoided them since I had my shunt fitted as I'm MEGA pressure-sensitive. I was nearly re-admitted two days ago as the drop in air pressure due to rain coming in made me so bad I thought I was going through shunt failure! If you've been ok on rides before I reckon you'd still be ok. And I can't imagine a shunt coming apart on one of those things as you yourself will be pretty still. I went on one ride which spun around very fast once and I swore never to do THAT again! It was only a little kiddies ride too! I fairly had to be helped off it and all the children were staring . So I guess the only way to find out is to try a moderately tame one (if there is such a thing as a tame rollercoaster) and see how you go! Good luck! Personally I think you're mad WANTING to go on those things!
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Unread 11-15-2006, 09:09 AM   #7
Elmo2812
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Default Take the ride

When I had my first non-programmable shunt put in, I went on every roller coaster in the midwest, but I'm not so sure about programmable ones. I'd say start out on a slow coasters like one of the kiddie roller coasters and then go from there. Let me know what happens, cause within the next month or two I'm going to be having a shunt revision and trying to decide if I should go the programmable route this time.
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Unread 11-15-2006, 02:25 PM   #8
monicad1974
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I thought I was having major problems from the pressure system also. I am still having the aquard HA from an adjustment on Nov 7th. I was sure I had major problems.
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Unread 03-24-2009, 04:35 PM   #9
EricEbac25
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Tongue My last revision

For me, the scariest surgery I had occurred in August of 2007, which was the last time I had to visit the hospital. After some coaxing, the doctors took me into the operating room and disconnected my shunt almost immediately after I was admitted; boy, what a big mistake that turned out be. Just days, in fact, almost a week after I had the first surgery, I suffered a massive seizure and almost died; in fact, it was so bad to the point where I had to be bed-ridden for the remainder of the time I was in the hospital, including the last day and a half after the second surgery, except to use the bathroom, and even that was a harrowing task. I now wish I had not had that surgery, and instead would have let the headaches and other problems run their course, because since then, I have had to take a seizure medication twice a day (for a while, I was actually taking two pills twice a day), and what's worse, I may have to be on it for the next four years or until the doctors say that I am no longer prone to seizures.
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Unread 06-08-2009, 11:54 PM   #10
EricEbac25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricEbac25 View Post
For me, the scariest surgery I had occurred in August of 2007, which was the last time I had to visit the hospital. After some coaxing, the doctors took me into the operating room and disconnected my shunt almost immediately after I was admitted; boy, what a big mistake that turned out be. Just days, in fact, almost a week after I had the first surgery, I suffered a massive seizure and almost died; in fact, it was so bad to the point where I had to be bed-ridden for the remainder of the time I was in the hospital, including the last day and a half after the second surgery, except to use the bathroom, and even that was a harrowing task. I now wish I had not had that surgery, and instead would have let the headaches and other problems run their course, because since then, I have had to take a seizure medication twice a day (for a while, I was actually taking two pills twice a day), and what's worse, I may have to be on it for the next four years or until the doctors say that I am no longer prone to seizures.
Recently, I posted this message about what happened in the last two years since my last shunt revision surgery; I need to post an update: in April of this year, I was informed by a doctor (a neurologist, more specifically) that I will be seizure-prone and will have to be on medication for the rest of my life. I will update with more info as I get it.
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