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I just had Chiari surgery 4 weeks ago. My headaches started at age 25. I am 40 years old now. My headaches got worse after my 2 children were born. Amazingly, I am an ER nurse for 17 years and had never heard of ACM, when after begging my MD to do a MRI, I was diagnosed with this strange defect.… I was so happy I had a diagnosis and there was a surgery that could possibly help me. I already new the best Neurosurgeon in my state of Alabama. He was 60 miles away. His name is Dr. Evan Zieger (205-250-6805) if someone needs a name of a great Neurosurgeon. I was in surgery 3 hours. I was in ICU 4 days due to heart problems. I was home for a week and developed a spinal leak and had to go back in hospital for 13 days. This doctor made a graft during my surgery using my own platelets instead of anything artificial and there is a risk of developing a spinal leak. I feel so much better I'll deal with any leak of any kind. I don't know how I will feel in 3 months or 6 months, but I cannot worry about that today. I have read the other stories on Chip's web site and I just wanted to add mine because it is a success story. I was diagnosed, treated, and fel
From firstname.lastname@example.org :
My symptoms started to really show up a little over a year ago. I liked to play a lot of sports, but twice I got dizzy and fell down playing hockey and basketball. At the time, I just chalked it up to being out of shape. But then, I was playing pick-up softball and had trouble catching a little fly ball; the ball looked like it was bouncing up and down.
So, with a little coaxing from my wife Colleen, I finally went to my family doctor, who noticed that my right eye showed a lateral nystagmus. He referred me to a neurologist. The early diagnosis was that I probably had MS, which scared me quite a bit. However, the MRI films showed no signs of scarring in the brain, so my films were sent to two neuro-surgeons at Mass General
Hospital. Both noticed the Arnold-Chiari malformation immediately, and both recommended having it treated in the not-too-distant future.
This was not an easy decision, as my wife was pregnant with our third son at the time, and our other two adopted sons were less than two years old as well. Nevertheless, after much prayer and talking, we decided to go through with the surgery shortly after Christmas, and I was admitted on January 5th, 1999. My surgery was performed by Dr. Ojemann at Mass General and took a little over 5 hours; it went so well that I didn't even have to go to ICU.
It has been a little over four weeks now, and already there is noticeable improvement--several things have cleared up. For a year and a half before the surgery, I had a mysterious chronic cough; now that is completely gone. My nystagmus is almost gone, and my reflexes are much better. The pressure in my head is gone. Also, I can smell things which I couldn't smell before, including poopy diapers, which isn't necessarily a good thing!
In any case, this has been a challenging, but wonderful experience. I am very glad that I had the surgery and am very grateful to the doctors who helped me. Now I can play basketball and hockey again and look forward to being much more active with my three little guys. I would love to answer any questions that you may have about this operation. My e:mail address is email@example.com.