My name is Valeria, I am 47 years old. In early October 2012, I was diagnosed with a spinal cord tumour/cyst at T3/T4 level and advised that it was a curable condition that could be treated by surgical resection.
I went for surgery on 18th October 2012, the neurosurgeon confirmed he extracted the tumour and he obtained the respective histopathological analysis to determine the type of tumour. However, the result was inconclusive.
I was in so much pain, numbness and uncertainty. So, in April 2013, I decided to see a pain specialist, another well-known neurosurgeon, for a second opinion. He requested my previous MRIs, medical reports and histopathological analysis and a new MRI. He told me the tumour was growing aggressively and advised the best option for me was to follow radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
MRIs done after 2013 showed an oedema in the spinal cord as a result of radiation treatment. The inflammation worsen and it went all the way to T11. My legs got weaker and weaker. In 2015, I started suffering severe spasms from my chest down to my legs. My coordination got affected to the point I could not balance and walk anymore, my right side got paralyzed, my bladder and diaphragm also got negatively affected.
From being an active participant in marathons and a successful career woman, I was wheelchair-bound and in perpetual agony from neurological pain by 2017.
Back to September 2016, I only discovered the truth through a third neurosurgeon who took pity on me and examined my radiological scans (X-ray, MRIs) to help me understand why my condition had deteriorated so badly.
To my horror, I realized that:
i) The surgery performed in October 2012 was done at the wrong level of my spine, unnecessarily removing spinal bones (laminectomy) and healthy spinal cord, but left the tumour/cyst in my spine.
ii) I got irreversible damage to my spinal cord due to unnecessary radiation and posterior treatments. I had agreed to this in fear for my life. The second neurosurgeon never told me that the radiation may not be suitable for the tumour/cyst, which may well be benign. The tumour was never properly analyzed because of the wrong level surgery, leading to inconclusive samples. Instead, he advised it was the best option for me to take.
iii) Even when I was suffering intolerable pain, unable to properly walk, suffering severe spasms and electrical shocks in my spine, the second neurosurgeon did not tell me that my suffering was caused by radiation damage to my spinal cord. Instead, he told me that the cause of my condition had not just been the tumour (at the thoracic mid-level) also the upper (cervical) and lower (lumbar) level. He advised that I needed a different surgery to my lumbar level. The new surgery left me even weaker and was completely unjustified.
Due to the chronic pain, sleep deprivation, depression and spasms, I was let go of my manager position early in 2019, which also resulted in the loss of insurance coverage.
I have incurred bills amounting to approximately $300,000. To support my expenses, I used my credit line and savings, I had to reach out to a bank for a loan to go towards my medical bills. Even though I got a new job, I have become financially incapable of continuing with my rehabilitation treatment like specialized physiotherapy, pain management and struggle to support my 3 children's education. Most of my income goes to the bank, I now have to pay back the loan with interest.
Since April 2019, I have been actively participating in Dr Joe Dispenza community, practicing meditation and have found relief to my condition. I have managed to control pain and spasms, however, my mobility and coordination are still affected. Due to years of severe spasms, I have muscle sprains and imbalances. I have seen several doctors and they have advised physical therapy is the best for me to do to get back on my feet and improve my quality of life.
As I am financially broken and I have a tremendous love for life, for my children and my husband, I decided to reach out to this network and request help.
Your contribution will allow me to have a fighting chance at recovery, go for treatment at Project Walk, get a customized AFO to assist with my foot drop so I can regain sufficient mobility to be able to perform jobs as a professional and get rid of the wheelchair. As I recover, I will be able to pay off my existing debts, support my children's education and I promise I will pay it forward to charity and contribute meaningfully to society, especially people suffering from neurological conditions, pain and lack of mobility.
Your donation matters