January 21st, 2014 - I had gamma knife done for the first (and hopefully last) time on my deep 1.5cm brain avm located in the basal ganglia on the left side of my brain. The procedure was performed at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA. I think my experience was different from the typical patient experiences. The doctors and nurses were great. They did their best to pump me full of meds when i was in pain.
Unfortunately...I did feel the back, left screw being screwed into my head (scull). For whatever reason, the first injection failed and I could feel major pain while they screwed the screw into my scull. They tried injecting a second round of numbing medicine but that too was ineffective. I just closed my eyes and tried to bear the pain. And, apparently I stopped breathing because they had to remind me to keep breathing.
Once the frame was on, it took a few minutes and then the pressure on my head felt like it was released. Then I had a ct scan, an mri, and then it was time for the angiogram.
My very first time having an angiogram was in October 2013. Everything had gone smoothly that time. This time, I had a much different experience...
When they made the incision and began inserting the cathedar into my groin, I could feel every bit of it! I told the nurse so she injected more pain meds into my iv. Unfortunately, I still felt the pain. And I felt the pain again when it came time to hold pressure on the puncture site when they were all done.
All the pain meds left me feeling very nauseated. So they gave me some anti nausea medicine and it knocked me out! Apparently I slept for about 2 1/2 hours after that. Then the doctor woke me up and asked if i'd prefer to listen to music or just sleep during my gamma knife treatment, and I chose to sleep.
When the gk was all done, my headframe was removed. I felt like I had huge craters in my head and I was very sore! By the time I got home that night, I went to bed and slept for 13 hours!
The next day my forehead was extremely swollen. The swelling didn't start to go down until day 4. I'm now on day 4 and my forehead is still a little swollen. The only soreness I have is in the back of my head (where the bolts had been).
Tips for anyone planning on getting GK:
Try bringing a neck pillow to the hospital because no matter how hard you try, it is impossible to get comfortable since your head can't lay flat on a pillow and a pillow can't fit beneath the frame, etc.