Iím writing my story to share with all of you that read the Chronic
Fatigue/Fibromyalgia newsletter. In
the January issue I read about Harry Jensen and his experience.
I knew I had to go to the February meeting and hopefully meet Harry and
his wife Kim.
My name is Carol Jean Downs.
I am a retired teacher and my husband and I live near Black Hawk.
Several years ago I noticed whenever I would tip my head back I would get
dizzy. I found doing several things
like hanging curtains, reaching in high cupboards, changing a shower curtain,
working on the bulletin board at school, or getting my hair shampooed at the
beauty salon would immediately cause me to become nauseous.
I learned to compensate for many of these things by using a step stool to
reach high places. I mentioned these things to my doctors and received many
different responses of which I wish I would have recorded, and now cannot
remember. It was absurd.
In 1992 I was diagnosed with
bursitis by Dr. Sabow which they later called Fibromyalgia.
As the year went by I had strange symptoms.
I was diagnosed with B-12
deficiency by Dr. Vogele and started B-12 shots. He sent me to the Mayo Clinic in 1993 for a checkup.
This illness causes symptoms of the nervous system.
It is corrected by taking a B-12 shot once a month.
These things didnít seem to end my problems.
I continued having dizziness, numbness down my back, vision problems,
rapid heart beat, nauseasness, and elevated blood pressure. I was in the emergency room many times. They would keep me a day or two in the hospital and send me
home. Dr. Hanna ordered an MRI of
my head. I was then set to Dr. Ganz
and he said I had Arnold Chiari Malformation I.
He said he would do the surgery, but wanted to clarify some of these
other symptoms first.
Dr. Bochna arranged for my
appointment at Mayo Clinic in Sept of 1999.
They found I had hyperparathyrodism, Chiari Malformation I and
Fibromyalgia. I had surgery for the
thyroid problem. They suggested I
go home, recover, and come back in a couple of months for the Chiari surgery.
The symptoms from the thyroid
problem disappeared, but the others got worse.
I had additional tests from the neurology clinic in Rapid City and from
Dr. Carlson for my ears because I was so dizzy. Soon my blood pressure became so high that Dr. Hanna
hospitalized me to control it. A
week later in March of 2000, Dr. Ganz did the surgery for the malformation.
The lower part of my brain was protruding down into the area where only
the spinal cord was supposed to be. The
doctor removed a cap of the bone from the base of the skull and also removed a
cap of bone from the first and second vertebrae in my neck.
This relieved the tension or pressure on that area and allowed that small
portion of the brain to go back up where it belongs.
After a ten day stay in the
hospital and physical therapy for three months I was on my way to recovery.
I am feeling well again and able to enjoy life.
This was the reason for all those strange symptoms over the years and as
I got older, they got worse. I feel
fortunate to have such caring doctors here in Rapid City.
There has been controversy over
whether or not this surgery will cure fibromyalgia. The surgery cleared up the Chiari Malformation I symptoms
(dizziness, numbness down my back, vision problems, rapid heart beat,
nauseasness, and elevated blood
pressure), but I still have Fibromyalgia.
In my case I do not believe that it has any connection, even though
Iíve gotten some relief from the Fibromyalgia.
Last August I had bursitis in my
shoulder and Dr. Hanna gave me a cortisone shot. It took away the pain and gradually my arm got better.
However, the next morning I was not stiff and after a few days I realized
I was feeling so much better. Fibromyalgia
must be a form of arthritis that for me responded to cortisone.
It has been the only thing I have taken that has given me relief from the
symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
Coral Jean Downs
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