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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hi spark community! I wanted to share with you one of the reasons I lost control of my health and weight.
Over three years ago, I was suffering with debilitating headaches that led to paralysis and the inability to speak. My twin sister had suffered with the same headaches. After seeing a number of specialists, I was told that I had Chiari Malformation 1. It appeared that my brain was too big for my skull causing my brain to squeeze into my spine. It was about 13mm in. This was causing my CSF(cerebral spinal fluids) flow to go slower than it should. With these headaches I also dealt with only being able to laugh or cry a little at a time due to the pain it would cause my head. Anything strenuous would cause me severe pain and I'd feel liquid rushing in my head. My paralysis and the headache "episodes" became more frequent and I was sent to a Neurosurgeon.

I showed him all of my lab work,x-rays, mri ,etc. He then explained that I would need decompression brain surgery. He said in detail that he would have to remove a piece of my skull (craniectomy), remove the first vertabrae from my spin, C1 (laminectomy) and cover the hole in my skull with my own tissue from my brain (duraplasty). I was shocked by the diagnosis and more shocked about the proposed solution. I had never heard of anything like that.
After speaking to all of my doctors and my family, we agreed I'd give it a shot.

Here I am almost three years post surgery. I am sorry to say that I did not get any better and in fact, I became more ill after the surgery. I was diagnosed with a number of different conditions post surgery. I am now considered disabled and all of these stresses and the inability to do most physical activities without feeling pain lasting for many days later.

I MUST say that I have learned so much from sp that this St. Patrick's Day I am very proud of all of the mental progress I have made. Many of these small changes are helping me get healthier overall. I have managed to lower my cholesterol 40 numbers in about a month and I eat much healthier than before sp. I now see a team of headache specialists and am really following up with all of my check-ups.

I wanted to thank all of my sp friends and sp staff for all of the love, encouragement, support and resources provided to me on a daily basis. I am truly blessed.

Below I have some pictures that I wanted to share with you. I hope they don't freak anyone out and I hope you will be able to see them (provided sp allows it). If you cannot see them please send me sparkmail and i will send it to you via mail.

The first pic is the day after my surgery.
The second one is about a two weeks later.
I had to get hospitalized again to re suture my surgery site.

This St. Patrick's Day I will rejoice for how far I have come and how far I have to go!!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks to all of you for making me feel stronger because of your words of support. God bless you all. Good luck in your journeys as well. Baby Steps emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3376 days ago
  • PRIZM96
    Wow. You are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story and pictures with us. I feel blessed to have you as a Spark friend.
    What a great way to spend this weekend. Perfect.
    3376 days ago
    You are such an inspiration. When I look at what you have overcome and what you are still dealing with, I stand in awe. You continue to amaze me. And I continue to hold you in my prayers.
    3377 days ago
    I am sorry that you did not get a good result but admire your strength of character. Keep up the progess!!!

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    3378 days ago
    You are a true inspiration and I personally thank you for sharing your story. May your openness and strength of spirit continue to grant you even more strength to continue your healthy journey ...
    3379 days ago
    You are amazing. It's sad that the surgery did not have a positive effective when it was obviously quite traumatic. I am disabled, too with multiple disabilities that cause pain. We survivors who choose to be "thrivers" are usually a happier, grateful group of people because we understand the fragility and value of life. Welcome to the club.
    3379 days ago
  • DEBBY4576
    You are the classic example of the saying "what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger" !
    I too thought OMG when I saw the pictures. You are one strong dude, and working on becoming even stronger. It's obvious that you didn't just give up and that you have decided to "create" each day to live fully and to the best of your abilities....you haven't given up and let each day create another day of pain.
    3380 days ago
    OMG, I am SO sorry you had to go through this.
    3380 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.