6 months post op update – recovery is a b*tch

How time flies. 6 months ago I had my latest brain surgery which was to replace my VP shunt as the previous one malfunctioned. I had been in and out of hospital 6 months prior to that for more operations and investigations, it seems like Hydrocephalus and shunt complications are super hard to detect but finally the surgeon decided to replace the whole thing. I’m so happy it’s over and that I’ve made it 6 months operation and hospital free!

At first I was a little paranoid about my half shaved head but when Stephen (my boyfriend) took me out for my first restaurant meal since the op, I looked up and the waitress had the same haircut! (minus the scar). It seems that my op landed right in time when the hipster fashion craze was to shave half of their heads. Silly hipsters, ha ha. I quickly felt less bothered about the fact I had my shunt scar on display and more proud of what I’ve coped with. What I didn’t like was the grey hairs that have grown in abundance! I think these operations may have aged me somewhat. ah well, don’t care.

So is life back to normal you ask?

No, this ‘recovery’ malarky is so complex, frustrating and slow but it was brain surgery and to expect to be jumping up and down fit as a fiddle isn’t very realistic. I regularly have dizzy spells, pain all over the shunt area, pressure pains, sickness and so much more but I don’t want to bore you. I just have to learn to slowly train my brain to it’s current brain pressure, if it doesn’t like it then I can get the neurosurgeon to change my shunt setting by a fab device that presses onto my head. I hear it click and the setting is changed, cool eh?! With plenty of rest, gentle exercise and a few shunt setting tweaks I may be alright!

I’ve put together a few pics recording my healing head and awkward hair growth.

post-op-2014-09-03-16.32.32surgery2014-2post-op-2014-09-07-17.07.52post-op-2014-09-12-11.50.162-weeks-post-op-52-weeks-post-op-2post-op-2015-01-27-13.08.26Hannah-6-months2Hannah-6-months4In the meantime I will be blogging as usual, doing a little freelance design work from home, attending some design/blogger events, coffee with friends, maybe a little holiday here and there, not to forget hanging out with Hansel. Hopefully the next 6 months will be even better!

I wish everyone a healthy happy life but if you’re unfortunate like me and have to face some hurdles try keeping positive, be so silly that you nearly wee yourself, cuddle kittens, buy loads of dresses (no-one will dare tell you off coz you’re poorly, wink), be creative and eat cake.

H x


  • Reply Viki April 9, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I seriously want to thank you for sharing your experience with hydrocephalus. Up until I read your article, I thought I was alone. I was fortunate to have lived a normal life without problems until I was diagnosed with hydrocephalus shortly after my 28th birthday. So, I finally had a VP Shunt put in but recovery is hell, I’ve had 2 good days where I can do the normal things and be able to keep food down but other days are seriously so horrendous that I can’t even get myself to walk a little bit before I vomit. I’ve been prescribed a medication but I’m beginning to feel as though I’ll never be able to drink coffee ever again. Quite frankly, I feel miserable. Did you and you did, how long did your post op headaches last?

    • Reply Hannah April 11, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Hi Viki, I’m so sorry that you’ve been diagnosed with hydrocephalus and are having a rotten old time with it. It’s really tough and has taken me years to understand the ins and outs of it. I still have to have a few setting tweaks to get the pressure right but are nearly there. Trust me you WILL drink coffee again! I live on the stuff. So I still get headaches but it’s due to not quite having the pressure right but they’re managable. Do you have a programable shunt? and when was it put in? My theory is that you still have high pressure (but I’m no medic), keep positive and don’t stop asking the neuros questions! xxx

  • Reply Maxine Brady November 18, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I think your hair looks soo cool here. You’ve been really brave Hanna – and congrats on your post op 6month celebration.

  • Reply Stephanie Louka July 3, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. As a mom of a 4 month old who just got her shunt last week, it’s nice to read stories by productive, happy adults who are living life and doing their thing.

    • Reply Hannah July 4, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      Sorry to hear your 4 month old has recently had her shunt op. I hope everything is going well. I’m a true believer in when crappy things happen to you, you become much stronger and determined to achieve big things and enjoy every moment. Feel free to message me with any questions, I’d be happy to advise from the non clinical view point. xxx

  • Reply Ivy March 11, 2020 at 11:16 am

    My brother has just had a shunt put on his brain will it make him walk again.?

  • Reply Whitney S March 25, 2021 at 5:23 am

    I found you in a web search. My son is 14 and has hydrocephalus he has just had two VP shunt revision on 03/01/2021 and 03/02/2021 witch is his 5th surgery sense 2008. It took him three weeks this time to bounce back to his normal witch means not sleeping as much and have a bit more energy. He struggles with finding his place in high school right now, I know that’s normal with most kids that age. I find it very encouraging reading others story’s with Hydrocephalus. I just wanted to say thank you for your blog post.

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