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Zach Roloff’s Wife Tori Says He Was ‘Sitting on a Knife’s Edge’ Before Terrifying Migraines Led to Brain Surgery

Zach and Tori Roloff are recalling the terrifying migraines that led to Zach’s emergency shunt revision in February 2023.

During Tuesday’s season premiere of Little People, Big World, Zach’s health starts to rapidly decline. He says the biggest source of pain is in his head, adding that he’s dealt with migraines for a long time.

The 33-year-old is rushed to the hospital after waking up with a headache that got progressively worse and caused him to vomit. He laters learns that his shunt — a hollow tube surgically placed in his brain to drain fluid down to his stomach to be reabsorbed — had two breaks in it.

In a confessional, Tori, 32, says she’s “never seen Zach in that much pain” before, adding that he feared he was “dying” with the faulty shunt. The lifespan of a shunt is 2-15 years, Tori says, and Zach was on “borrowed time.”

“We’ve been sitting on a knife’s edge, and we just didn’t know it,” she says.

Zach ultimately needed emergency surgery to replace his shunt.

Zach Roloff Post Brain Surgery
Zach Roloff after brain surgery in February 2023. ZACH ROLOFF/INSTAGRAM

During recovery, he says his bones and muscles are aching. Tori also recalls the moment her husband’s heart rate dropped and said Zach “scared me” when he “sobbed [and] screamed” during the health scare.

While Zach is on the mend, the couple admits that they are now more aware of his condition and what to look out for.

“Everything happened so fast and it’s good to be on the other side,” Zach says, adding that Tori “rallied hard” and took care of the kids when he was recovering.

The reality star also explains that his condition is “more intense with the kids” and he thinks about them all the time.

“They want to have their daddy for a while,” he says. “Dads should not create this much inconvenience for their family… this is not the season of life for dad not to operate.”

Although his shunt was successfully replaced, Zach says on the show that it’s “triggering” every time he gets a headache now.

“It [would be] super sad to think that Tori would have to explain to [the kids] why isn’t dad here,” he says.

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