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Being Left With My Greatest Scar, A Survival Story

Life. That four letter word has millions of experiences and memories attached to it.

They can be good experiences or they can be bad, there is no in between.

But at the end of the day, life is what you make it. You are in control of your own happiness.

My outlook and view of the world is different than most.

I try to find the positive in the darkest of instances, it's called surviving.

I am about to tell you my survival story. A story that started with unanswered questions.

I have always been an active individual. Growing up, my weekends were filled with sports and outdoor activities which included: showing horses, rodeo events, basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis; I even tried gymnastics and ballet. I was blessed to be in good health and have the ability to do the things I loved. But throughout my childhood, I had several accidents. Overall totaling to four concussions. I started passing out in the shower, and even hit a brick wall after passing out during a volleyball game. Something just wasn't right, I could hear ringing in my ears; and eventually years later I had migraines that would last for days on end. I didn't think much of those things at the time, and continued to live my life. But in 2014, my life changed. After several episodes involving loss of consciousness, and syncopal episodes I decided to see a Neurologist. After two visits, and a few MRI's I was diagnosed with the Chiari Type I Malformation.

Now unless you are studying to be a Neurologist, Neurosurgeon, or have the condition yourself most don't know what the condition entails.

Basicially, my brainstem and cerebral tonsils were filling a space meant for spinal fluid. This caused build up of spinal fluid and caused me to have severe migraines. Migraines to the point of locking myself in a room with no light, sound, and laying in bed for what felt like forever. It was miserable.

I was working night shifts, and going to school which caused them to be worse. I had just moved to Washington State. I was excited to hike, but after each hike I would have to go straight to bed and be down for days. I decided that it was time for a change, I was ready to get back to what I never knew as the "new normal".

What would you do if someone told you, you had to stop doing the things you love?

The fluid buildup ended up being a 16mm herniation, and my neurologist immediately referred me to neurosurgery. I was told that surgery was my only option, that without it I would likely die from brain stem herniation in a few years.

I scheduled my appointment with the neurosurgeon, and before I knew it I was scheduling surgery for August of 2017. My surgery was a SUCCESS. I was down for 3 months to recover with no ability to work but I am back to the grind now and nearly migraine free. While I still have migraines here and there I am now able to hike more, bike longer, and run without complications. This just goes to show that no matter how tall the mountain is you can climb it. Life will bring curves and obstacles but faith, and perseverance will bring you through the toughest of times.

I want you to know me for who I am, this surgery was one of the greatest obstacles of my life. But I am thankful for it. It has made me stronger, I have been able to push my limits and be thankful for my health. I encourage you to find things that you are thankful for and may take for granted. It's easy to get caught up in the mundane moments of everyday life. There is something positive to be found in each and every situation. There is always something to be thankful for. So go out there and crush your goals, live your dream. Fulfill the purpose you are meant to complete. After all, if brain surgery can't stop me, then nothing can stop you.

Love always,


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