A nurse went from partying with the girls and going to festivals to being unable to walk after her headache turned out to be a serious bleed on the brain.
Charlotte Warhurst, 31, had been at her mum’s house when a headache changed her life.
She told Liverpool Echo : “I was just doing all the normal things any twenty-something would be doing, I was at uni, going out partying with the girls.
“But then one day I was at my mum’s when I was 21 and I started getting the worst headache I have ever had – I thought my head was going to explode.
“I was blue-lighted to Arrowe Park and they did a scan that revealed I had an aneurysm and I was transferred to Walton.”
Following the discovery, Charlotte, from Prenton, Wirral, who was training as a nurse at the time, needed emergency brain surgery where they also found another aneurysm – a bulge in a blood vessel causing pressure and the possibility of it bursting.
This second aneurysm needed a separate surgery and while Charlotte had recovered well from the first operation, this time recovery was a lot harder.
She said: “I was on hour by hour monitoring, they didn’t know if I was going to make it. I had to be put into a coma to give my brain a rest.
“I was on ventilators and had to be given a tracheotomy.”
Charlotte remained in a coma for five weeks before waking up.
She said: “All I can remember is waking up on the ward, my family and (her fiancé) Joel being there and them telling me that I was paralysed.
“I can’t remember my reaction. It’s devastating news but I’m the type of person to say ‘right, let’s crack on’.
“It’s been hard because I’ve always been such an independent, stand-on-my-own-two-feet type of person.”
Charlotte was paralysed in her left arm and leg, and decided to start physio as soon as it was possible.
Charlotte said: “I was determined to walk again.”
She was in hospital for six months, but when the pandemic hit she was deemed too high risk to remain in hospital.
Charlotte was also left with part of her skull missing – doctors had taken part of it away to relieve the pressure on her brain.
After her original operation in September 2019, Charlotte finally had a cranioplasty to add in a piece of ‘fake’ bone to act as a skull.
She said: “I hated it [her missing piece of skull] so much, I had to wear a helmet every time I stood up to protect my brain as the only thing left protecting it was skin.
“I told myself how it served a purpose, but it was hard because I didn’t know how long I was going to have to wait for the surgery because of covid.”
A week on Charlotte said: “I finally have a normal shaped head again.
“I am still in a bit of pain, but everything went as planned and now I just keep going with my rehab and physio.”
Charlotte had to leave her job as a nurse due to her recovery and still has limited use of her left arm and needs an ankle brace and stick to walk only a few steps.
But she said she is determined to get back some of the life she had before the surgery, she said: “The team at the rehab have been amazing, helping me set goals for myself. I am determined to walk again and get some of my old life back.
“You could just cry about it, but I want to crack on – I am stubborn like that.
“And I have had amazing support from my fiancé Joel Allan, 30, and my mum, Pat, 60, and dad, Ian, 61. They have had it worse than me with all the worry.”
You can follow her journey “one day at a time” on Charlotte’s Instagram charls_story here.