Hi, I'm Zoe and was diagnosed with IIH in what I can only describe as a whirlwind of investigations resulting in surgery over a period of 3 weeks. I attended opticians in the evening as had been experiencing headaches for a few months,but noticed I had intermittent blurring of vision in my eyes, but mainly my right eye.I also experienced episodes where I would bend down to pick something up, and everything just went black. I thought I may have stood up quickly, as vision came back after about 30 seconds or so. I put it all down to being a busy working mum who just needed glasses. The optician asked many questions and eventually informed me I needed to see a Consultant Opthamologist in hospital over 1 hour away as he'd noted swelling to both of my optic nerves and bleeding behind both eyes too.
I saw the Consultant the following day, who after many tests, field tests confirmed the Opticians findings too, alongwith significant loss of vision around my natural blind spot in right eye, also loss in the left.
I was admitted immediately into hospital as they needed to rule out anything serious causing the pressure behind my eyes, so it was a very difficullt time waiting for the results of the scans. They carried out a CT scan, MRI scan and an MRI scan where they check all the vessels in the brain for blockage, bledding etc. A lumbar puncture carried out showing the opening pressure of 38. The consultant Neurologist who divided his time between the hospital I was in and his main Neuro hospital 3 hours away diagnosed me as having IIH. He was perplexed to the cause, as I didn't come under any of the usual perameters for IIH, being slim and fit & healthy
up to time of admission. Started Diamox 500mg initially and amytriptylline 75mg to try and reduce the pressure. I spent 2 weeks in the general hospital having more lumbar puntures, and medication increase to Diamox of 1000mg a day. Headaches had eased so they discharged me home much to the relief of my family and children.
3 days later I collapsed at home with severe headaches, semi conscious and rushed back into main hospital. They performed another lumbar puncture which went off the scale, next thing I know I am being rushed into my nearest Neuro hospital 3 hours away, where I was met by Neuro Surgeon,Registrar and nursing staff. They were brilliant explaining what IIH is, explained that I need to have a shunt put in to reduce the pressure. They explained that they would be putting in Ventricular Peritoneal shunt which I now know as a vp shunt and that they intend to do the surgery first thing in the morning. They explained at great length all for fors and againsts, listened to my concerns, answered all questions.
The following morning I went to theatre had the VP shunt sited, upon return to the ward the Neuro Surgeon was already there talking to my family ( not that I remember as in the world of sleepiness ;)
The surgical team shaved a relatively small area of my hair off, whilst putting the rest in theatre made scruchie to keep it out of the way. They clearly understood about womens self imaage as they did it in such a way that when I wear my haIr down, it covers the surgical wound
I was discharged home 2 days later to recover. It was brilliant not having headaches any more.
The only down side was I had to be readmitted into local hospital 10 days later due to severe abdominal pains around the shunt site, mainly when I tried to stand up. Labour seemed to be a breeze compared the pains I experienced near the shunt. They did X-Rays, Ultra Sound Scans, Bloods, all came back clear. They could only put the pains down to my body healing aroung the shunt and when trying to stand, the skin that had healed around the shunt was tearing as such to allow the shunt to move with me. Mind you the Drs said they had never seen anybody before with a VP shunt, didnt really fill me with confidence, especially when they asked me why am I on Diamox !!
I see the Neurologist 11 December for follow, and waiting for Neuro surgical outpatient appointment to come through, along with referral to hydrocephalus nurse specialist.
I have been home from hospital 2 days now, still trying to understand everything that has happened over the last 4 weeks. It's been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I think it hit home yesterday as very tearful as recovery seems to be slow.
If anybody has any advice about after care, recovery from all the above, things to look out for I would be soooo greatful, as have no literature about it.
Is it normal to get abdominal pains afetr a shunt? mainly spasms...
Thank you in advance for anyhelp or advice given