I am on my mid-30s, and as of this age, we are all expecting to have a little weirdness in our body. However, mine was a little too extreme for me. I came to the point where I suspect myself of dying from cancer. I thought of several diseases that could be causing the suffering I am feeling.
For over ten years, I was working as an executive secretary, working in front of a computer all day, doing all tasks and errands from the bosses. I was experiencing overwhelming stress, and I thought this contributed to the way I was feeling lately.
For the past year, I was feeling weak, having headaches and vision problems which were understandable given the nature of my job. I went to see an ophthalmologist, and I had my first eyeglasses. He said my eye problem could probably be due to my exposure to radiation, looking all day in a monitor.
At first, the eyeglasses helped. I had fewer headaches than before, but eventually, my condition worsened. I had funny gait. My colleagues would often comment that I walk like a drunk person, and would often tease me, “It’s too early for a drink!”
There were times I had stuttering and neck pain, and I thought I was having a stroke. I looked up on the internet regarding my symptoms, and I suspected my condition to be diabetes or vertigo. It was tormenting not to know what exactly I was experiencing, but then, I was too much of a coward to find out. I was afraid that the doctor might say I only have a few months to live.
Then one day, the beginning of the revelation of my life happened. I was as usual busy at work when I decided to get some coffee because I was feeling sleepy and lazy. On my way to the pantry, I felt dizzy and lost my balance. It was a good thing the glass wall at my senior’s office caught me. I couldn’t stand up for a while, and one of my colleagues saw me sitting on the floor. She called for help, and I was rushed into the clinic. The nurse said I needed to see the doctor as soon as possible. My condition could be nothing, but it could also be something, so I better find out.
The next day, I got a day off, and I went to see the doctor. I was hesitant, but I did it to free myself from the fear of knowing my condition. He reviewed my medical history and my symptoms. He also conducted a physical examination and requested that I get an MRI or magnetic resonance imaging. It is a test to diagnose Chiari malformation. It uses radio waves and magnets to resemble the body and creates 3-D images of physical oddities inside the brain that could mean an illness like the Chari malformation where the cerebellum extends into the spinal canal.
At last, the result came, and I was positive for Arnold Chiari malformation type 1. I mean, what? He said this type of condition could only manifest during late childhood or even adulthood which what happened to me. He also said that since my case was not severe, I will only be under medications and not a surgery where they need to eliminate a part of the bone at the back of the skull and to take away the pressure in the brain caused by the extension of tissues into the spinal canal.
Having Chiari malformation made me incompetent in my job as I couldn’t move much like how I used to, and the simple task of getting documents from another department became a challenge for me. I realized that we should never ignore any symptom, that anything we experience outside of the normal is worth a visit to the doctor’s clinic. Now, I can sleep well, and all it took was a confirmation that I’m going to be okay.