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Amy O.


I’ve had 8 brain and spinal surgeries from an unknown ruptured brain aneurysm that happened just after I got married in 1996. The first surgery was to clip the bleed then I needed another to insert a shunt. I spent a total of 9 weeks in the hospital.

Probably the hardest thing to deal with was the bleed paralyzed a vocal cord leaving me without a voice. I would have a vocal cord implant a year later and my voice is great now. At the time of the bleed I was working as a news anchor/reporter for the ABC affiliate in Ft Myers Florida. I would have to wait about a year before having the implant. I went back to work afterwards and was ok for a couple of years. But then the shunt started malfunctioning so I would need more surgery. I would have three shunt revisions within a four month period. It was soon discovered a golf ball sized cyst was pressing on the shunt causing it to malfunction. Doctors would find it and puncture it.

Everything was fine for a few years until I started having trouble with my right hand. It felt numb and I just couldn’t use it. A trip to my GP ended up in a carpal tunnel diagnosis. But when the headaches started I went to my neurosurgeon. He diagnosed me with a syrinx in my spine the result of chiari malformation. Chiari is when the brain sags into the spinal canal-people with it often say they have too much brain to contain. I was decompressed and am just doing Ok today.

I am in extreme pain most days and I use a cane to get around. But I’m great otherwise. I work, I drive, I can do just about anything I want. It hasn’t been an easy road by far but I am surviving and doing the best I can!!!


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