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Giovanna Porro. Arnold Chiari I Syndrome and Idiopathic Scoliosis. Myelopathy of Medullar Traction.

Published by at 1 July, 2008

Date of the surgery: July 2008.


Good morning, my dears: My name is Giovanna Porro, a 46 year old Italian girl and I would like to tell you my story. I have already been a very thin girl and when I was little girl I always suffered headache attacks. I was a very good student; although when it came to sports I was afraid of my problems with motor and activities and problems with coordination. At the age of 18, after some driving lessons I got my drivers license but quickly began having problems when driving and finally had to stop using the car. Between frequent migraines and easy fatigue, my life took place between school (I am an elementary school teacher) and home, without being able to have too much fun.
In the year 2005, I started to notice symptoms as of parenthetic type in my right and left hemi body and tongue. I went to the “San Gerardo” hospital of Monza, where I had a CAT done of the brain, which came up to be normal and gave me the clinic discharge that same night with the diagnosis of paresthesias referred to somatization.

They suggested me to visit a neuropsychiatrist and proposed a treatment with Bensodiazepine for an anxiety syndrome. After a partial remission of the symptoms; in January 2007 the situation worsened notably. Shivering started to appear in the upper limbs, which kept me from being able to write, Dysarthria and I could only walk around with the help from someone. I was hospitalized in the “S. Gerardo” de Monza hospital and I went through different exams like an MRI of the brain and of the spinal cord, which resulted being descent of the cerebellum tonsils 9 mm into the foramen magnum. (Arnold Chiari I). The complementary images excluded the presence of syringomyelia cavities in the spinal cord. Under the evaluation of a group of neurosurgeons, they did not believe that this needed a type of surgical solution. Since the day they gave me the clinic discharge after 15 days, the Dysarthria and walking problems persisted. They suggested physiotherapy treatment; the situation got lightly better, but still was not able to go back to work. In the month of May 2007, I was hospitalized in the “Besta” of Milán, where they confirmed the Arnold Chiari and gave me the clinic discharge with the following diagnosis: “the patient presents Ataxia with acute début of undetermined measure”. Particularly, the MRI anomalies of the (Arnold Chiari I) do not seem to justify the patient’s symptoms”. I found myself totally in the dark! ¿What could I do? With a lot of willpower I continued with the physiotherapy and in the month of September 2007 I went back to the school. Thanks to my colleague and student’s collaboration and of my director’s sensitivity, I returned to my teaching, however, with a lot of physical difficulties, frequent migraines and motor disability. In the month of Mars 2008 a dear Spanish friend of mine told me about Dr. Royo; so I sent the doctor my story to have his opinion. He very kindly answered me and said he could treat my case. I got an appointment with him in the month of July. We traveled to Spain with our heart full of hope. Our meeting with Dr. Royo, the psychologist Gioia Luè and all his team was very exiting. It was like talking to a father, he explained the importance of having this surgery to stop the progression of the disease and avoid the worst. During the afternoon, they had me going through various pre surgery exams and on the following day, he operated on me. The surgery was with general anesthesia and took two hours. On the next morning, when I stood up, I immediately noticed recoveries: I could walk without having to look down to the floor like I had to before, and my plantar reflexes had gotten back to normal.
After almost two years, I can say that my quality of life has gotten better notably. I go to work regularly, my hands don’t shake anymore and my physical resistance has gotten better. Only sometimes I can notice some vertigo and small paresthesias. My thankfulness with all my heart to Dr. Royo and Gioia, to angels who have given back us patients a new life, now it is for us to give it sense again.

The best way is to keep in contact and support the Chiari Foundation. With gratitude also to my dear friend Rafa, without his help I wouldn’t of had enough strength to face this marvelous adventure. TOGETHER, DEAR FRIENDS, WE CAN MAKE IT!!! A warm hug!!!


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