AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Allison Reed is enjoying her life again after years of suffering with debilitating symptoms.
“The pain from my head was just unbearable. I started losing my ability to walk. My gait changed. My balance changed. My left leg went numb, my foot went numb, my fingertips went numb. There was constant ringing in my ears,” Reed said.
Nearly a decade ago, the Longmont mother of three was diagnosed with a Chiari malformation, a condition in which the skull is too small for the cerebellum.
She suffered for years going from doctor to doctor without getting any relief, until she found the Colorado Chiari Institute at the Medical Center of Aurora.
“We think Chiari is something you are born with,” said Dr. Colin Buchanan, a neurosurgeon at the Colorado Chiari Institute.
Dr. Buchanan showed Reed her original MRI which showed her cerebellum dropping into an area it didn’t belong and blocking the normal flow of spinal fluid.
“This part of the cerebellum shouldn’t be there,” he said.
So, earlier this year Dr. Buchanan performed a decompression surgery on Reed, creating more space and allowing the spinal fluid to flow up and down.
Reed said the surgery brought immediate relief.
“I woke up from surgery and my ears weren’t ringing, and even though I was on tons of meds for pain, I could feel my hands and feet, and I cried,” she said.
It took time to recover from surgery, but Reed said life is much better now, and she wants others to know there is hope.
“There are answers out there, and you can get help,” she said.