Recently I have been suffering from an increase in headaches and migraines that I have always suffered and went to my doctor who referred me for an MRI scan. Last Friday I went to my GP to get the results of the MRI and was diagnosed with a Chiari Malformation Type 1, which is 5mm in size. My first question was “What the f##k is a Chiari Malformation?”
The technical answer is “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.”
The type 1 stands for the severity with type 1 being the lowest of the four. Thankfully a lot of the symptoms of a CM I don’t suffer and hopefully won’t. I do suffer the headaches and this does explain why i suffer regular headaches but not to the severity that they can affect. Other symptoms are dizziness, loss of balance, pins and needles in arms and legs, vision problems, difficulty swallowing, ringing or buzzing in the ears, hearing loss, vomiting, insomnia, depression, or headache made worse by coughing or straining. Still it’s not the news I was expecting nor hoping for.
I am now awaiting an appointment with a Neuro surgeon to see the next steps as there is not cure other than surgery. This appointment could be a month or two away so for now I will lead my normal life and not alter it at all. i have done a bit of reading on this illness so I am prepared for what could be ahead. It certainly hasn’t changed my plans to run the Seoul Marathon in March with my training continuing and going to plan. This morning I completed 14.5km of hill repeats which was a tough session. Feel like my running is coming together nicely at the moment and on track for a crack at a sub 3 hour marathon in Seoul. No Chiari Malformation is going to stop me trying anyway.