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Advice:
VP shunt Surgery
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I have had 9 LP's and had IH for 2 years now. I am at the end of the road and have decided to have the Vp shunt surgery. Very nervous!!!! Any advice. They told me I would be out of work for approx. 4 weeks. From what I have read that sounds like its not going to happen. And....the whole hair thing?? Ughhhhh
Posted on 05/24/11, 02:03 am
16 Replies | Most Recent Add Your Advice
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Advice:
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Reply #1 - 05/24/11  8:57am
" I am possibly 1 week out with June 3rd as a date. Not sure where you are at but my hairdresser said we will go to Sally's(beauty supply store) and pick out real hair clip on extensions when it is done & over. They are more comfortable than the other extensions and you can color them. Plus you can take them out at night so you can rest. Also, as I have long hair, we will donate it to Locks of Love. I think you have to have 11 inches. For me this is the worst part of the surgery so far but far worth it for the possibility of pain relief. Having hope that it just might work for pain relief is enough for me. My Dr told me 1-3 days but got 7 approved from the insurance up front. Good luck & take before and after pics for others that might have to go through this later. Also, there are some ladies on here that I am sure will send you before and pics if you ask. "
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Reply #2 - 05/25/11  6:28am
" I had a VP shunt put in Nov 17th 2010. It was the right decision for me, although I was really apprehensive beforehand. My surgeon decided to shave my entire head, except for a small strip above my left ear - it looked ridiculous so I had it shaved off about 2 weeks after the surgery. It was very difficult seeing myself in the mirror, for many weeks afterwards - I knew it was a small price to pay for lasting headache relief...but still, when you're ready to put the whole thing behind you, it's hard to do so when you physically look so different from how you used to. That's how I felt, anyway. Six months on and my hair is looking kind of cute now, although sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself and still think "who is this person??"

From a pain standpoint, I didn't experience much, until about a week after the surgery when I had what felt like a low-pressure headache for a couple of days. Just make sure that the person caring for you has all your drs' phone #s, what to do after-hours, etc, so that you only have to focus on resting. I felt very, very tired for several weeks after the surgery - lots of naps, days spent not doing much except puttering around the house, and still feeling worn out by nighttime. You just have to ride it out.

When you're ready to be among people again (grocery store, library etc), make sure you're able to talk about the surgery - people will stare a little, and will want to know what happened, and it helps to feel confident enough about what you've been through to be able to put it in a positive light. People want to help, but sometimes the "Oh you poor thing!" thing gets a little depressing - better to have them think "Wow you're so strong!" and give you a boost.

I was in hats for a couple of months after the surgery, and eventually really got sick of it and just dealt with people asking "what happened to your hair???" Eventually it became a nonissue, and now it just looks like a normal haircut.

Hope this helps - it really was worth it for me, and the advice on this site has been invaluable. You might want to read through some old threads for other perspectives.

Good luck!! "
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Reply #3 - 05/25/11  9:25pm
" Thank You all for your advice and words of experience!! Surgery Set for June 2nd. Praying this is the end of the nightmare!! xo "
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Reply #4 - 05/26/11  5:43am
" I had a VP shunt put in January. Yes the surgery and recovery sucks, but if it works you will feel a lot better. Make sure you have some strong pain meds at home in case you need them. Talk to your pain management DR to come up with a post surgical plan that is best for you.

Rest a lot and DO NOT try to do anything but rest for at least two weeks. Easier said than done I know.

If you have to get half your head shaved you might as well have fun with it, one word, Mohawk!!! Or you could just wear a scarf or hat, which ever. I cut about 14 inches off of my hair in prep and donated the hair to Locks of Love. When I had enough hair grown back I dyed it purple, it was so much fun!

Take good care of your self and do what your dr says.

A few things I whish I knew ahead of time, bring your own soft warm blanket and fuzzy socks. House slippers are good too. You may want your ipod and bring a box of popsicles (sugarfree is best to avoid stomach upset), they will have a freezer you can put it in. also bring some pudding, yogurt, etc that you like. Most of the times I was awake the cafe was closed. Also bring your own nightgowns, they need a button or zip front. Your nurse can help you change and you will be much more comfy.

Ice your abdominal incision ASAP when you wake up, however use just a few ice cubes and cool water incase you fall asleep with it on you.

Good luck! "
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Reply #5 - 05/26/11  8:40am
" I am set for the 3rd. I had a horrible nightmare last night though and couldn't sleep after learning that he still thinks the surgery will be helpful and called to give me the go ahead. You will be in my thoughts & prayers. Can't wait to talk to ya on the flip side of this craziness. "
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Reply #6 - 05/26/11  9:25am
" Thanks Emerson!! I dont have a pain doc, still working the night shift at my job. I actually have to work sun and mon and have the surery Thurs. Ughhh..... as for the mohawk tooo funny!! I bet the purple was awesome!!

Texangirl::: Seems like we are on the same road and almost the same date!! I will be thinking of you too. Lets hope this works for the both of us!!

xo Veronica "
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Reply #7 - 05/26/11  10:30am
" Heyvern36,
First of all, I hope everything goes well for you and that this surgery provides you some relief! I am curious about your LP's. My young daughter has had 13 LP's already (only to check opening pressures since she is mostly non verbal and can't indicate how she is feeling to us) and I was wondering what your opening pressures were in the last two years, especially now that you have decided to get a shunt. She has another LP next week to check her op and we may discuss a shunt after this if her pressure continues to stay elevated on medication.

Thanks!
Darlyn "
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Reply #8 - 05/26/11  11:07am
" I hope your surgery goes well. I have no advice as I haven't had one yet. Just wanted to wish you well and hope your recovery is fast and you get the rest you need! "
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Reply #9 - 05/26/11  5:04pm
" Hi Darlyn, Sorry your daughter is going through this and you too of course!! My #'s were 42,42,46,65,29,39,34,41,41. As you can see If have kept track lol!! I saw on your profile that your daughter's was 76!! Oh myy that poor girl. I have three daughters and I cant imagine one of them going through this. Keep in touch. Best of luck to you!!
Veronica "
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Reply #10 - 05/27/11  2:42am
" It is beyond me why surgeons shave the whole head, I have had 4 shunt surgeries and you have never been able to see where my incision is once I'm able to wash my hair. My surgeon takes the time to part and shave only the needed area. The only one that ever sees where its been shaved is the hairdresser. I asked his assistant once why he was so good about this and she said that he said we go through enough to recover without dealing with self esteem issues along with it. The only time he ever shaves the head is in an emergency situation.

Good luck with your surgery I will pray that you have better luck with the shunt then I have. Mine only seem to last 3-4 months before revision has to be done but when its working it is fantastic. "

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