Yesterday was the day I have waited for for 10 months.
I know that this does not look like the yellow brick road, but it is.
My daughter and I drove 4 hours to get there, and by some stroke of luck, we were early.
So we decided to have brunch, suspecting that my appointment would not allow any time for lunch.
The diner we ate in was more than awesome. I wish it were closer to where I live.
She had this incredible bruschetta omelette, and I had a Greek omelette with spinach and feta cheese.
So far, the day was a success.
My daughter observed, that as well as the day had been going so far, maybe the doctor would just "crack" my neck, and I would be fixed.
And here we are.
I was about to have what I thought I knew thrown right out the window.
I thought that Chiari was something I was born with.
It always has a cause. Mine was smashing my head on a rock last August.
I thought that Chiari surgery was about as bad as it could get.
I was wrong.
It seems that when I fell, I did more damage than I realized at the time. For the first time in this crazy search for a 'reason' for this headache, I had an answer.
For the first time, in 10 months of never ending pain, I heard the words I had been waiting for.
"I know why you have a headache."
Yes, in case you are wondering. I cried. Spontaneous tears, and a weight lifted.
Easily visible, when pointed out on my MRI, was the reason for my Chiari, which is in all reality a herniation of the brain.
Basilar invagination occurs when the top of the C2 vertebrae migrates upward. It can cause the opening in the skull where the spinal cord passes through to the brain (the foramen magnum) to narrow. It also may press on the lower brainstem.
The top of my spine is not straight, like it should be, but it is bent backward, and pressing into my brain stem, which is in turn pressing on the rest of my brain, and causing it to 'herniate' down into my spinal canal........thus the Chiari.Basilar invagination can be present at birth. If the condition develops after birth, it is usually the result of injury or diseases. If due to injury, about half the time it is caused by vehicle or bicycle accidents; 25% of the time by falls and 10% of the time by recreational activities such as diving accidents.
So now a whirlwind of getting ready.
I am scheduled to have a decompression surgery on the back of my head, and two rods and four screws to fuse and keep my cervical spine from impinging on my brain stem, the way it is now.
I am emotionally drained, partially terrified, incredibly relieved.
New word: terri-lieved. That's me.
I know this will be hard. I know that it's a big decision.
But here it is......the choice.............painful surgery with the promise of a normal life at the end of the recovery, OR the headache from HELL for the rest of my life. Cause unless they fix it, it ain't going anywhere.
It's not a hard choice. It's a scary one, but not hard.
I am also incredibly grateful, for the path that led me to the right doctor, the right place, and perhaps, an end to this nightmare.
I will probably say this again, but thanks to all of you for your continuing love and support through all this......there's a chance, soon, that you may not hear me talking about a headache.
Now, THAT'S NEWS.
It will be happening next week. It can't be soon enough. I will keep you posted.
But just remember this........NOW in the future, if you say that I may have a screw loose, YOU may be right.