My Unexpected Journey - Brain Tonsils Part 1 of 3

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
– Joseph Campbell

Brain Tonsils?

Did you know you have brain tonsils? Most people are surprised or skeptical when they hear the term brain tonsils. It does sound pretty weird. Yet those problematic brain tonsils of mine are what caused my permanent disability.

The symptoms started with losing strength in my right hand. I noticed my hand strength was weakening and eventually I was not even able to hold a spoon or fork. I was pregnant at the time with my third child, and the doctors assumed my weakness was related to the pregnancy and everything would resolve shortly after the child was born. It didn’t.

An MRI scan of my brain revealed I had a Chiari I Malformation. The bottom of my brain (cerebellar tonsils) was pushed down the opening at the base of my skull (foramen magnum) and was creating pressure on my brainstem and interfering with the flow of the cerebral spinal fluid that is essential in this area. By the time of the diagnosis, my condition had greatly worsened. The weakness had turned into sharp and burning pain. Mostly on my right side, the pain radiated through my face, scalp, neck, base of the head, shoulder, arm, patches on my torso, and my thigh and calf.

The only treatment was brain surgery.

Continue: Brain Tonsils Part 2 of 3