Nothing like a HTML redirect script error to remind me that I need to spend some more time blogging ~ I've been thinking a lot lately about returning and there's no perfect time like the present.
Living day to day as a brain surgery survivor can sometimes feel like a heavy burden, especially so as I creep closer to my SIX year post surgery date on December 3rd. I thought for sure I would cherish every day after surviving being a breath away from dying. Sure, some days I am thankful for being alive ~ happy for the days when I'm not battling an epic headache or trying to maintain composure and balance on a vertigo infused day. But mostly, I've gotten on with my life ~ trying to fit in and fool myself into thinking I'm normal. Then the reality check hits me ~ YOU ARE A SURVIVOR ~ YOU ARE ANYTHING BUT NORMAL! Live it ~ feel it ~ soak it up ~ then get started on your bucket list and sharing your story.
I'd like to think that I'm one of the few lucky ones who has been able to get on with my life. I've heard countless stories of other Chiarians who can't get out of bed every day ~ live their lives a slave to pain and medications ~ have countless surgeries only to feel worse and not better for their pain and suffering. There must be something I can do to speed along the genetic testing process to finally find a cure for Chiari. If the mutant genes can be located it would speed up the agonizing slow pace of finding a cure.
I read this week that the cause of ALS has been found ~ wouldn't it be miraculous if the same amount of research was being done to find the cause of Chiari Malformations? I don't know what the statistics are for Chiari related deaths annually, but I am hearing more and more stories of Chiarians dying post surgery. Take this for example:
Sudden unexpected nocturnal death in Chiari type 1 malformation and potential role of opioid analgesics
Abstract Background: Chiari malformation type 1 (CM1) is a common congenital anomaly of the craniocervical junction. CM1 is reported to run a usually benign course and patients typically experience no symptoms or chronic, slowly progressive symptoms. However, recent reports indicate that a subset of patients with CM1 may present with acute deterioration and sudden unexpected death (SUD). We report a case of SUD during sleep in a young man with CM1, which we believe was related to the administration of common and therapeutic doses of narcotic analgesics for the management of pain. We will clarify the pathophysiology of acute deterioration and SUD in CM1 and the possibility that the adverse effects of opiate analgesics likely were the leading cause of death in our patient.
Case Description: In this review, we present a 29-year-old male with worsening headache secondary to previously diagnosed CM1. The patient died suddenly and unexpectedly after administration of common and therapeutic doses of narcotic analgesics for the management of pain.Conclusion: The mechanism(s) of acute neurological deterioration and sudden death in patients with CM1 remains poorly understood. We believe the rapid fatal deterioration in our patient following administration of opioids suggests that this category of medication may cause sudden unexpected "neurogenic" cardiac death in CM1 patients by inducing sleep-related breathing difficulties and associated hypercapnia. Hypercapnia by further increasing intracranial pressure can result in a sudden pressure-induced decompensation of the cardiopulmonary control centers in the brain stem and cause instantaneous cardiorespiratory arrest.
This is serious stuff and yet this is the first time I've even seen the term hypercarpnia. Probably not a coincidence at all that when I was a teenager my general practitioner told me that I had too much carbon monoxide in my blood. He told me to breathe more ~ WHAT? Really? I just thought I was a stressed out teen prone to panic attacks. Now I'm thinking the signs were there all along. I've always had trouble remembering to breathe. I SIGH heavily and frequently ~ not due to boredom, I just need more O2 in my system due to holding my breath subconsciously for too long between breaths. So who's tasked with studying chiarians who don't breathe enough?
What about this theory of mine ~ I recently found out that I have measurable Neanderthal DNA.
I can't be the only one who's looked at how different Neanderthal cranial vaults looked compared with modern humans. We are all evolving as the generations pass along DNA from the previous generation. A common phrase heard in the Chiari community is:
My Brain's Too Big For My Head!
Soft tissues change quicker than bone ~ do the math ~ connect the dots. Just saying ~ there are answers out there.orToo Much Brain To Contain
I could go on for hours ~ but I'll save it for another post. Glad to be blogging again even if it's just for me. My hope is that I've lit a spark in just one of you out there to look into your medical background and dig. The answers are there ~ we just need to figure out who to share these ideas with so that someone with a brain can find a way to shut off that lethal mutating Chiari gene.