It would take pages and pages for me to give you my medical history for the past 3 years. How about a condensed version then? Ya I think that would be best. Well it began with blurred vision. It was October 2007, I was a busy mom of two boys. Scott who was 2 at the time and my new baby Peyton just 8 months old. I was watching tv with my boys when from out of nowhere my vision started to blur. Id had a handful of migraines in my life before this (always with a trigger ie hadn’t ate or no sleep) and like I had experienced a few times in my life the blurred vision quickly turned into a migraine. A migraine that didnt go away for over a year. After the 1st few days with no relief I sought help. 3 neurologists, 4 sets of MRI’s, countless vials of blood taken and a year later I got a call from the current neurologist I was seeing.

I have this horrible habit of not listening to people when they talk to me, because of this the first time the nurse called to tell me they had found that I had Chiari Malformation on my latest MRI, I didnt hear what the diagnosis was. I had to call her back totally embarrassed and tell her I wasnt paying attention, and could you please tell me what was wrong with me again? MRI’s are a wonderful diagnostic tool, especially if you get them done at a research university medical center but, they are not perfect. My neurologist told me “eh you have Chiari but its really not so bad on these MRI’s I don’t recommend surgery” Its a good thing I didnt listen to her and made an appointment with Dr Riechman anyways.

Dr. Howard Riechman is the best neurosurgeon I have met, I do have an authority on this…… We met, he looked at the MRI’s let me know that surgery is not a necessity based on the films, but it was really up to me. God bless that man. So on March 6th 2009 I went to Dr. Riechman’s hospital of choice but not mine Utah Valley Regional, to have brain surgery. I was warned that even a slight decrease in my symptoms would be a success. Its called Decompression surgery. What they do is remove a piece of your skull the size of a fifty cent piece. It’s supposed to give your brain and spinal cord enough room. The surgery its self takes only an hour, but the recovery period lasts forever. I woke up in so much pain and I was maxed out on both Morphine and  Norco my regular pain reliever. When Dr Riechman came to check on me that first day he explained to me that it was a smart decision on my part to push for surgery. My MRI’s were wrong about the severity of my Chiari. I could have been paralyzed if i waited too much longer.
14 Staples and half my head shaved.

After a good month on bed rest I was feeling better. My daily migraine was gone, so was the left-sided numbness. With permission and a little direction I started trying to be active again. Got a gym membership. First few times I went I felt wonderful! Exercise feels so good. Then one day while I was using the elliptical machine at the gym, my left leg started to go numb……. I havent been on a piece of exercise equipment since.

2 years later, I am disabled. I can’t do anything that is physical what so ever without triggering a migraine and putting me out of commission for anywhere from and hour to 3 days. I’ve bounced around to so many neurologists and other specialists and the only answer they have for me is my spinal cord was too badly injured before decompression and I will never feel normal again. This is Chiari. It lasts long after surgery. It is a lifetime condition. It has taken me a very long time to except that. But now that I have I can start living my new life, as a Chiarian.

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