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    Posted January 20, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Living with a rare disease?

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    Chiari Malformation I


    Three years ago I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation I. I had suffered from headaches, mainly migraines, throughout my life. Since My father was a migraine sufferer himself, I attributed my headaches to a hereditary trait.

    I can plainly remember being a child and having headaches so severe, I would not even remotely considered playing. My headaches came in phases, therefore, I thought it was all a part of puberty. I was able to function on a daily basis without any complications. Up until my adulthood where my frequently increasing headaches became concerning. I was also experiencing blurry vision, constant pressure on the back of my head, inability to focus, memory loss and numbness in hands.

    I spoke to my doctor and he advised that I have an MRI to determine if my symptoms were attributed to any underlying condition. After several days, I was contacted to schedule a follow up to discuss my results with my doctor. He stated that the MRI results were normal and I had absolutely nothing to worry about, yet was referred to a Neurologist to "handle my headaches".
    Taking his advice, I decided to speak to a specialist about my results. I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation I, with a herniation of 8 mm.

    What is Chiari Malformation I? Chiari Malformation Type I is a neurological disorder where part of the brain, the cerebellum (or more specifically the cerebellar tonsils), descends out of the skull into the spinal area. Mainly discovered in adolescent or adulthood, usually by accident while examining for another condition.

    I felt relieved, I had a diagnosis for all the symptoms I had experienced throughout my life. There is no cure for CM I, however, there is a decompression surgery that can be done to give patients relief. Thankfully, I am not a candidate, my symptoms are not debilitating or impeding my ability to function on a daily basis.
    I still experience daily pressure in my head with occasional blurry vision but I consider myself lucky. With yearly exams, I can continue to live my day to day as normal as it can be. Bringing awareness is important, this is my story and I hope that sharing it will help many understand.
    I am Chiari strong.
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