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This fundraiser ended on 02/05/13

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This is the Michele Bradford Chiari Malformation fund. The fund will be used for Michele's travel & medical expenses.

I have been sick all my life and not diagnosed till 40 years with a pediatric illness called Chiari Malformation. Through my journey I have had two wonderful children though my pregnancy where difficultbut worth it. I am a single mom of a son in his 3rd year of Mechanical Engineering and a 10 grader with Asbergers playing the trombone in the high school band. I have worked full time throught this disorder and now ending the last few months of my BA in Health Care Management.

Through this journey anyone that knows me know my faith and courage.  am an advocate of people and believe in the power of miracles. I work in a Cancer Center as a financial advisor so I take what I have been through and give it too my patient because I understand the financial challenges of an illness. I love work with people and after almost 20 years in health care I started school in the middle of all of this and spite of it all I have made it through by the grace of God in my life. I love to take nature photos so when I finish with school I plan to write an inspiration book with pictures of what inspires me. I would love to share my journey with the world.

This disorder can be difficult because it cause many symptoms, like neck pressure and pain with migraines with many other neurological problems, balance problems, muscle weakness, numbness or other abnormal feelings in the arms or legs, dizziness, vision problems, difficulty swallowing, stroke level blood pressures, hearing loss, vomiting, insomnia, depression, or headache made worse by coughing or straining. Hand coordination and fine motor skills may be affected.

The buildup of (CSF) Cerebral Spinal Fluid put pressure on tissues and nerves. I have lived with pain my whole life but it now getting to the point where it is causing increase anxiety and depression because I am not able to function normally in my job, school or home life. I have been debilitated by the he challenge of living in Kansas City is there are no true Chiari specialist to understand this rare brain and neurological disorder.

I am desperate to go to a place where I can get a full assessment of my options with treatment. Here in Kansas City, mo, I have had several other specialist involvement over the years that are only treating different symptoms with medications, MRI, and Physical Therapy, No clear understanding of my problems. I did have a neurosurgeon that has done surgery on Chiari patients but not a specialist. He performed a decompression surgery to correct functional disturbances or halt the progression of damage to the central nervous system.

Many individuals who have surgery see a reduction in their symptoms and/or prolonged periods of relative stability. More than one surgery may be needed to treat the condition. After having the surgery in March 7, 2011 but has not done much with getting the Chiari malformation stabilized though given a small percentage of relief. My surgeon states there is nothing else he can do for me and referred me back to neurology which only treat with pain medication which are not working to decrease symptoms I am having.

I think my best chance for a resolution is to have treatment at the Mayo clinic or a place like the Chiari Institute in New York. Please help me because I have exhausted all of my resources and funds trying in finally getting a diagnosed at 40 years of age and now I am back to the beginning of this journey trying to find someone to help better my quality of life.

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