Forty-five million people in the U.S. have headaches!
My sister Kayleigh had Chiari Malformation. Chiari occures when the back of the skull doesn’t allow for the entire brain to be in the skull.
That causes the back of the brain, called the cerebellum, to get compressed or squeezed. Her headaches kept getting worse and worse. Eventually she couldn’t do a lot of things because moving or coughing would just make it worse than it already was. The headaches were the worst in the mornings, sometimes so bad she couldn’t stand up straight. So it was very hard to go to school. “It was so agonizing. It felt like someone was taking a sledge hammer and pounding it on every part of my head.”
Kayleigh had a surgery called posterior fosso decompression. The doctors had to shave some of her hair off so they could do the surgery. She had a very big scar on the back of her head. Also, the doctors had to take a little piece of her skull and a little piece of her spinal column to open up the area so that her brain wasn’t squeezed anymore. Kayleigh had her surgery at Albany Medical Center. After that, she was monitored very closely in the Pediatric ICU room for 72 hours. Next she went to the regular pediatric unit in the hospital.
After a while, she was able to visit with her friends and family. (That means my parents and me) in the Ronald McDonald living room, which is a play room. Kayleigh had many restrictions, such as no dance, no gymnastics, no swimming, no trampoline, or she wasn’t able to carry more than 10 pounds for a while.
After all of the recovery, Kayleigh doesn’t have headaches any more. Now she can do all the things she wasn’t able to do when she was recovering. She uses this experience to help her when she feels nervous about something. “I feel if I can go through brain surgery, I can do anything I want to do!”