In October of 2014, I went to the emergency room, they gave me a shot, and sent me home. I wound up back there two days later with even worse pain. At that time, my husband told the ER doctor the whole story of my suffering, and that doctor promised us he would not send me home without figuring out what was going on. And he kept his promise. They admitted me to the hospital and ran lots of tests. After a few days they came back with a diagnosis. I have Arnold Chiari Malformation and pseudotumor cerebrai. Although this wasn't good news by a long shot, it was so good to finally know what was happening to me.
In a nut shell, Arnold Chiari Malformation, is swelling in the brain. At the base of your skull, where your brain stem is, there are little pouches referred to as Brain Tounsils. They swell and put pressure on your skull (causing severe headaches) and they often fall down into the spinal column and touch vertebrae, which can cause neurological disfunction.
At this time, I not only have headaches, but I lose my balance a lot, my hearing in my left ear is deteriorating, and I have pain in my left side joints. Left untreated, I could lose my sight, and possibly encur additional neurological issues.
Neurosurgeons believe all these symptoms will be reliev ed, or eleviated by surgery.
The surgery involves cutting through my scalp, removing a piece of my skull, cutting through the derma of the brain, and corterizing the Brain Tounsils. They will then remove skin from the underside of my scalp and make a patch for my brain to replace the skull, which will expand in the case of swelling. The skull bone itself, will not be replaced. The derma of the brain will be glued and stitched shut, and then my scalp will be closed and stitched as well. The procedure (if all goes well) will take about four hours.
Recovery is up to six weeks after surgery. Lots of physical therapy, as post surgery, I will not be able to move my head or neck.
The pseudo tumor is a second condition, that could possibly be resolved by the Chiari surgery. If not, a second surgery will be required to put a shunt in my brain to drain excess spinal fluid (which will be redirected into the stomach). This procedure can not be done while I have Chiari.
During this whole process, I have been off work. My employer gave me a five month leave to take care of this problem, which has taken longer than the allowable time. Because of this, I have received notice of termination. Which also means I lose my medical benefits (which would be covering surgery and recovery). I can continue those benefits for an extended period of time, if I pay for them myself.
This brings me to this page. I can not pay for those benefits, without a job! My husband is working, but we are going to lose a full time income. So, I'm going to try and raise money to cover some expenses during this time. Hopefully, I make a strong recovery, and can find a new job soon!
This has been a long and frustrating process! I'm not looking forward to surgery, but I am looking forward to getting my life back!
- Yanina Zaragoza
- Marci & David Dena
- Teresa yost
- camille groves
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