Published by ICSEB at 28 November, 2016
Surgery date: June 2015
My name is Olga, I am from Tver (Russia) and I am 28 years old. Everything started in school; I often had headaches, dizziness, sometimes vomiting, was easily fatigued, weakness and darkness of eyesight. The doctors, without examining me, diagnosed only vegetative-vascular dystonia. And that’s how years went by. Until I had a trauma in 2006. I fell. I hit my head against the ice, I lost consciousness and the cheekbone was fractured. Afterwards, it seemed as if everything was happening as in a fog, strong and constant headaches, dizziness and nauseas. It was after this trauma, that I started having very strong leg contractures several times a year. They were so strong that I couldn’t stand up because of the pain. This could happen to me on the skating rink, on the street or just at home. I was then when I began to think that it was the first sign of a serious illness, and I wasn’t wrong.
I continued like this for 6 years. Then, in 2012, I fell down a ladder, landed on my back hitting my spine. For several days, I had back pain. After a month, and for the first time, I started to have problems while walking. I didn’t understand what was happening to me: my legs didn’t respond, I had weakness, tension, spasticity, numbness in my legs and I couldn’t move my fingers. Suddenly walking was very difficult, even short distances were a challenge. I was also bothered by headaches, tight neck pains, face, lumbar and cervical pain, lack of strength in the hands and much more. 3 years of endless examinations, consultations, hospitalizations and incomprehensible diagnoses awaited me. And the most horrible: the uncertainty. It was the hardest time for me. The More painful when nobody can give you a correct diagnosis and you do not know what will happen to you tomorrow and how to continue living.
After 3 years, I was diagnosed with Arnold-Chiari Syndrome Type I despite the fact that the descent of the cerebellar tonsils was of few millimetres; many doctors did not accept the diagnosis. I remember feeling relief because I finally knew what was happening to me. The doctor told me that in this case, the decompression could help me but that he would only operate in the extreme case, when nothing will work for me and that I had to wait. I did not want to and I could not wait for disability, being a burden for everyone, for me it was the most horrible thing. And then the Institut Chiari, Syringomyelia and Scoliosis of Barcelona advised me. They studied my images and invited me to undergo surgery that consists of the sectioning of the filum terminale. We started saving and collecting funds for the surgery. My condition began to worsen quickly, I was afraid that we would not arrive on time, my legs were weaker each day, I was worse, a month before the surgery I was walking with a walking stick, I could not stand without it for more than 5 minutes. I could walk only about 100-200 metres.
Before the surgery they did not promise me that everything would change, they did not promise me that I would forever forget about my illness; they just told me that the surgery would stop the disease, stop the progression. The procedure was carried out on 30 June 2015. After it, I felt the first improvements. The doctors said the recovery would be long. They advised me to do exercise, specially bicycle exercises.
You cannot imagine how difficult the first months were; my state of health wavered between better and worse. This period was very difficult. It seemed like it was never going to end. But the time passed, my state stabilized, there were no more such drastic leaps. At this time I did rehabilitation, it helped me a lot, and then I continued doing exercises and exercise bike. I walked 1-2 km per day. And every day I fought for my lost health, I fought until, about 8 months after the surgery, I felt good.
Now, the head hurts very rarely, I walk a few kilometres a day, many symptoms are gone forever, and others appear sometimes but are no longer so strong. I started to rejoice and to value life, I have strength for everything; I started to realize many plans that previously seemed unattainable. Now, the impossible becomes possible for me.
My whole family and I would like to express our great gratitude to Dr. Miguel B. Royo Salvador, Dr. Marco V. Fiallos and the entire ICSEB team. You made me a healthy and happy person; you gave me back my full life. Have health, prosperity and success in your work!
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