Love for Eileen
Organized by: Rachel Honberger
Rachel Honberger via Crowdrise
September 17, 2015
About 2 months ago, Eileen began with severe headaches and vomiting that plagued her daily. She has also been experiencing changes to her fine and gross motor skills. She sought evaluation from her physician and after an abnormal CT scan, which led to an abnormal MRI, she received her diagnosis. She has a Chiari malformation. The following definition is taken directly from a fact sheet from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:
Chiari malformations (CMs) are structural defects in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. Normally the cerebellum and parts of the brain stem sit in an indented space at the lower rear of the skull, above the foramen magnum (a funnel-like opening to the spinal canal). When part of the cerebellum is located below the foramen magnum, it is called a Chiari malformation.
CMs may develop when the bony space is smaller than normal, causing the cerebellum and brain stem to be pushed downward into the foramen magnum and into the upper spinal canal. The resulting pressure on the cerebellum and brain stem may affect functions controlled by these areas and block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)— the clear liquid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord—to and from the brain.
Due to Eileen's symtoms and level of protrusion of her brain matter into her spinal canal, surgery is her only option at this time to have the lower part of her brain put back into its proper place and relieve the pressure that is being placed on her spinal cord. They have recommended this surgery be done as soon as possible as they feel she may already have some permanent spinal cord damage.
For those who know Eileen, she is a very fun, active and compassionate spirit and despite the recent debilitating neurological effects of this Chiari malformation, she has found the strength and perseverance to stay devoted to her busy lifestyle as a wife, mother of 2 beautiful daughters and career as a nurse.. As with any surgery, there is recovery and healing time and Eileen's could take the better part of six weeks. As a friend who believes in sharing in life and love with others, this fundraiser has been started to help ease the burden for her and her family with their medical and living expenses throughout the course of this challenging time. My hope is that this can then allow for a peaceful healing journey that will offer the best outcomes for her recovery so she can return to a more physically comfortable and fulfilling life as a wife, mom and nurse.
***UPDATE*** Eileen's surgery is scheduled on Monday, August 31st at 1:30PM. With further exploration of Eileen's Chiari malformation, they have also discovered that her pituitary gland is enlarged and has a suspected benign lesion. This enlargement is pressing on her optic nerves and so once she has healed from the Chiari surgery, she will need further follow up for the pituitary gland.
On a financial note and thus the decision to create this fundraiser, Eileen will not be eligible for short term disability during her time off from her present employer as the company recently changed ownership. Eileen's surgery would have to be further postponed if she chose to wait for eligibilty and this is not recommended by her surgeon due to the level of symptoms Eileen is already experiencing. So if you are able to share in love and support financially, please consider as any amount raised will help them through the financial aspect of this journey. Above all, Eileen and her family are eternally grateful for your love, prayers and support during this time. Please also consider marking you calendars for the 31st and take a few moments to send a prayer of love, strength and healing to Eileen and her family, a prayer of wisdom and guidance to her entire health care team and a special prayer of precision to her surgeon's hands.
Eileen will spend some time in the intensive care unit following her procedure and I will update this post again once an update is received post-surgery. Thank you all for your love and support!
***UPDATE 9/1715*** Eileen has been home for two weeks. She is doing better than she expected. Her headaches have pretty much gone...YAYYYY!!!! A bit more neck pain than she anticipated with all those muscles they had to cut through but she of course is already trying to decrease her pain medication and get back to work. WHY?!?!? Cause she is the most awesome Eileen we all know and love--a fighter-- and we would not have expected anything else :). Her stitches are out. Her scar is a tribute to this journey and will be a cherished scar of healing and triumph. Physical therapy starts next week and before we know it she will be back to work and getting to share a ride on that Harley...Kevin's been teasing a bit with his beautiful pics of his solo rides...but soon his beautiful wife will be joining him with a new outlook and quality to her life. Let's continue to show our love and support with continued prayers. If you are able to contribute financially, any dollar is a blessing to their family as Eileen does continue to be out of work. And today is Eileen's birthday....SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEAUTIFUL, WE ARE SO BLESSED TO HAVE YOU IN OUR LIVES AND THRILLED THAT THIS SURGERY HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL SO FAR AND YOUR RECOVERY HAS BEEN MAKING SUCH GREAT PROGRESS!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!