In 2004 I was diagnosed witht a very large brain cyst called a Posterior Fossa Arachnoid Cyst. I was devastated, but at the time, I couldn't have possibly imagined how much more devastated I could, and would get as time would wear on. With doctors not listening to me as well as labeling me things; such as, Hypochondriac, stressed out woman and mother," even "over emotionsal," I knew I was doomed for greater problems.
I finally found a doctor who listened, and even more-so, understood these types of cysts, and he operated. Four months later he operated again to put in a shunt. A different neurosurgeon followed my shunt and he put me back to square one with the labeling. His lack of care, both physical, as well as mental and emotional, left me with more medical problems - serious problems....brain sagging and a Chiari Malformation, where the brainstem herniates into the spine.
It was a long road, both going through the ordeal and the recovery. You can see and read about my ordeal in my memoir titled, "It's all in Your Head," by Maria McCutchen and see first hand what all I went through and how I had to overcome all the problems as they mounted. You can also see where I am today.
I have heard that my story has been helping others, whether it is a brain issue they are dealing with, or have dealt with. It's even helped others who have dealt with different medical issues.
Brain cysts come in all sizes and can form on different parts of the brain and not everyone's symptoms will be the same. But there are many similarities and doctors need to be open to this, along with the fact that although many brain cysts do not cause problems for people - they just sit there doing nothing - there are those that do cause symptoms for people. And the symptoms can be devastating and at times, life threatening, like mine were.
Life after my rollercoaster of a ride with my cyst, shunt, brain sagging and Chiari Malformation has been difficult. But each day I try to find something to be happy about and something to keep me going - to keep me fighting.
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