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In October 1997 I was in a car accident. Luckily, I was wearing my seatbelt otherwise I probably wouldn't be able to include myself as a success story. I was driving to work and a car pulled out into my lane of traffic. We hit! I was lifted out of my seat and my head made contact with the corner of my windshild/ceiling/window area. My body felt achy (nausea and stiffness) and my back hurt from my arms locking up during the impact. 4 days later I began having these awful (I'm being nice here) "pressure tension headaches". I went to the chiropractor-it relieved my back pain and slightly reduced my headaches, but they never went away. I was sent to a neurologist, who denied me an MRI and an orthopedic surgeon and a massage therapist. Nothing would relieve my headaches!
Finally, I was referred to Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago. I met with Dr. George Urban and his wonderful staff. After a day of testing and evaluation Dr. Urban suggested that he thought that I might have Chiari Malformation. I was admitted for a period of 5 nights and 6 days to the Diamond Headache Clinic. I was placed on a special diet, was given medication, which helped alleviate my headaches. I received physical therapy and and MRI was done. The MRI proved Dr. Urban to be correct in his pre-diagnosis. I was diagnosed as having Chiari I Malformation. (I still haven't dealt with the shock of the whole situation!) The next day we discussed Chiari and my needed surgery. That evening my surgeon, Dr. Gail Rosseau from CINN (one of my many angels) called me from her home on a Friday night to discuss surgery and any questions that I might have. Saturday, her day off, she came in and reviewed my MRI's and explained Chiari I malformation inside and out. On December 30, 1998 I underwent a craniotomy and C1 laminectomy. I haven't had a "pressure headache" since! I feel that my surgery was a complete success. In February, I had my 1st post surgery visit. I'm ahead of my recovery schedule! There are still some glitches to be worked out and I have many new symptoms since surgery. I owe everything to God and his group of angels at the Diamond Headache Clinic, CINN and Columbus Hospital in Chicago.
Jen Booher (25)
Kym Davies writes:
I had my surgery February 12, 1999. Surgery went very well - Dr. Chris Wallace of Toronto Western Hospital performed the surgery. He was fantastic. Surgery took less time than anticipated - he said it was because he had no one with him that he had to explain it all too. Didn't go to ICU like originally planned as they had no beds. First two days all I wanted were ice cube chips - my throat felt very swollen and strange - due to the trauma at the back of my head. Stayed in hospital for only 5 days - less than anticipated. I had some ups and downs at home the first few weeks - I guess I would overdue it when I felt good and then suffer for a few days. Anyway, here we are four months after surgery - back to life regularly and feeling great. I haven't had a "headache" like I used to, loss of balance is almost non-existent, and all other symptoms have virtually disappeared. I just wish that I had found out about the ACM much earlier. I just can't wait to get to the cottage this summer and have FUN!!! Kym
I am 20 years old. It has been almost 2 years since my operation. My symptoms were terrible headaches that sometimes caused nausea; dizzy spells and frequent faints. It took the doctors a while to diagnose me with ACM. But once I was referred to a Neurologist and the MRI was ordered they found it straight away.
My surgery was scheduled for two weeks later. I was petrified. I got to the hospital at 7.00am the day of my surgery. My parents were with me. I got changed into
my hospital "frock" and put on my white stockings. After some tears, and reassurance from my parents, they wheeled me down to the theatre.
I woke up much later that day in recovery. The first few days of hospital are a blur to me. I vaguely remember bits and pieces. I was very sick for about 3 days after surgery (we discovered I was allergic to morphine), but I got on my feet quickly. I was in hospital for 5 days in total (and lost a little under 10kg while there) I spent the next two weeks relaxing at home and by the third week I was back at work full time with an undercut and big scar to show for my adventure. I was amazed at how quickly I bounced back! Now, two years on, I am doing well. My hair has grown back (the 10 kgs I lost are back) and my
surgery went well.
From Derek Mason :
In Jan. of this year, I had surgical correction for ACM in addition to having an arachnoid cyst removed that was in conjunction with my cerrebellum. I am not sure which condition brought forth the symptoms, maybe a combination of both. My symptoms were mainly sensory: lots of numbness, hand tremors, extreme weakness and fatigue (especially in my legs). The symptoms were not constant, some days I would feel relatively great, and other days I could barely get out of bed. After fearing that I had MS (I have some medical background), the above diagnoses were finally confirmed. I must include that in addition, I had hydrocephalus.
After going to a number of doctors, and being unsatisfied, I finally won a battle with my HMO, and went to see the chief of neurosurgery at UCLA, Dr. Donald Becker. He knew exactly what to do with my case, and I had the surgery within a few weeks. I am now several months post-op, and have not had any significant symptoms since probably three weeks after surgery. I am now completely back to the life that I had before the symptoms began. I will be graduating from UCLA next month and will attend medical school this fall.
I thought that perhaps my story would be beneficial for you to share with others who have similar diagnoses and are in California, or who are willing to travel here. I was out of the hospital after 2 nights, and was driving and performing most of my daily rituals within a week. On my last visit to Dr. Becker, he told me that I was doing great and that he didn't need to see me again.Yours Truly,
Derek Mason (24 yo male, Newport Beach, CA)
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