Once I was in the emergency room, I told the doctors about my constant headaches and they sent me in for an MRI.
A little bit of backstory…I’ve been healthy all my life. I work out 4 times/week, I eat healthy, never been a smoker or a big drinker and was always athletic and into sports. Other than having to wear glasses when I was young (and now contacts) I’ve never been to the hospital for more than an hour and now the hospital staff was telling me I had to stay overnight so they could observe me. I had no idea what was going on as I’ve never been in a situation like this.
Then the results of the MRI came back and took me by surprise like I was in a haunted house. The results showed that I had *Hydrocephalus in my brain and that I was born with and had a **Chiari Malformation. The doctor’s then told me that I couldn’t go home and that they would have to do brain surgery on the same week. The doctors were surprised that I had not had any worse side effects and told me that if I went home I had a chance of stroke.
As you can imagine this was not the news I wanted to hear. I was healthy as can be one day, and then the next they tell you that you need brain surgery.
So they told me they would have to take a small piece of my skull to allow the CF fluid to move around without any problems. I didn’t know how to react, was my brain going to be exposed, am I going to be able to play sports like I used to, am I going to be able to play the violin like I do. I hoped for the best and put it in the doctors hands. The doctors then scheduled me for another MRI to get a closer look at my brain because along with the *Hydrocephalous and **Chairi Malformation they also saw another problematic area in my brain that they would need to look at closer.
The second MRI showed that I had a small tumor in my brain. They told me that they would have to take it out and send it to a lab to see what it could have been. My doctor said that he was surprised to see an brain MRI and see 3 different problematic areas, but he said that I will get through this.
I had one of the best surgical teams at Strong Memorial Hospital . Dr. Silberstein along with his team talked me through the whole procedure and the post-op care. They told me I would have to have a valve placed in my brain after my surgery for 2 days to see if my CF fluid is at a normal rate and then they would be able to take it out. This scared me because they said that if the CF fluid did not drop properly than I would need a permanent valve in my brain. The doctors team told me this would be 50% chance that I would need the valve in my brain. I was just hoping for the best and praying that I would still have the same cognitive and physical abilities I do that I had before.
*Hydrocephalus is a condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain. This typically causes increased pressure inside the skull.
**Chiari malformation, is a malformation of the skull. It consists of a downward displacement of the cerebellar tonsils through the foramen magnum (the opening at the base of the skull), sometimes causing non-communicating hydrocephalus as a result of obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) outflow.