Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Battle with Chiari Malformation

I'm back!

Hello Sweet Pinterest Fanatic Readers,
It's been a minute... Make that a year, which is a year too long! Oh how I've missed you! It's been a long, rough year - the toughest year of my life. The battle of a lifetime. This is me a year ago following major invasive brain and neck surgery.



Chiari Malformation, Brain Surgery, Thrive


Why?

My brain (specifically, the cerebellar tonsils) had herniated through the tiny opening of my skull (foramen magnum) into my spinal canal, filling this area like Jell-o into a Jell-o mold. This resulted in the crushing of my cranial nerves, compression of my brain stem and spinal cord along with blocking the flow of cerebral spinal fluid. This serious progressive Neurological Condition is known as Chiari Malformation. There is no cure and the only way to halt the progression of permanent damage is through an invasive brain surgery known as Posterior Fossa Decompression Surgery.



How Does This Happen?

Chiari Malformation (sometimes called, "Arnold Chiari Malformation") can be caused from a birth defect, such as being born with a skull that is too small to contain the brain or acquired from accidents, trauma and draining of fluid from the spinal canal or a combination of the above. Accidents can be detrimental to someone with Chiari, considering part of the brain is wedged into the spinal canal. It can amplify the pain and cause additional damage with only the slightest of trauma or jarring.


What are the Symptoms of Chiari Malformation?

Chiari Malformation, Brain Surgery, Symptoms, Thrive

You can view a full list of symptoms on The Chiari Life.

Recovery

My recovery has been filled with complications. I couldn't have made it without my Faith and the prayers and support from my beloved family and dear friends. There's honestly been days that I wasn't sure I was going to make it, but God has brought me through these tests to make a beautiful TESTimony which I look forward to sharing soon. It would only be a few months into recovery when multiple infections set in leaving me completely bedridden and writhing in unbearable pain. So, I found myself preparing for emergency brain surgery due to infection.


Brain Surgery #2

Chiari Malformation, Fibromyalgia, Treatment, Thrive


Infection Takes Over

Once the infection had been cleaned out and cultured during the new brain surgery, I was sent home with a PICC line of very strong antibiotics. This caused a blood clot to develop in the vein leading to my heart. Then, the very antibiotics meant to save my life caused a deadly C. Difficile Colitis Infection. Add C. Diff to brain surgery recovery, severe GI Bleeding plus 4 other infections and this girl honestly felt like death. I was in/out of the Hospital for 5 months while eating a liquid diet. I was beyond miserable.

Chiari Malformation, Infection, Le-vel, Thrive


The Battle Continues

My battle is far from over. There is no cure for Chiari Malformation and surgery only halts the progression of permanent damage. My surgery was successful in that I now have flow of Cerebral Spinal Fluid and there is no longer compression of my brainstem. For this I am grateful, but this is only the beginning. I still need additional surgery, but am no longer a candidate for at least 2-5 years due to my poor health. My neck pain remains unbearable and my quality of life is poor. But, I am blessed and hopeful for the future.


Just Existing to Thriving

Up until recently, I couldn't even write a blog post and was spending most of my time in bed. Then I listened to a dear friend. Sweet Melissa had begged me to try an all natural supplement for over a year. She wasn't a pushy sales girl, she just saw how intense my suffering was and knew that it was working wonders for her. She had been aching in all her joints everyday, dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome, a Ganglion Cyst, Fibromyalgia type symptoms and even had to give up typing on her blog. (If you know Melissa, then you know that giving up on her blog was heartbreaking - the hardest thing ever.) Then she started on these vitamins simply to drop a few pounds, but it changed her whole life. She had tremendous natural energy, her pain completely went away and she even lost over 16 lbs in only 8 weeks. I kept brushing her off... I honestly didn't believe there was any hope or help for me; especially from something all natural. But, after months and months of her feeling great and me brushing her off and coming up with excuses... I gave in. I immediately wished that I had of tried it sooner. I'm so excited to share my experience with you as it's been life changing. So, stay tuned and I will tell you all about it! (((If you want a sneak peek at the products, you can check them out here: http://chiariwarrior.le-vel.com.)))



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