Info available on debilitating spinal condition

As many know, coping with a debilitating illness is not easy, especially one that is under-diagnosed.

My medical condition is rare and that’s why I believe it’s important to raise awareness about it.

Every year, five in 100,000 people are diagnosed with a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. This condition results from a small tear or hole in the outer membrane and causes spinal fluid to leak into the body. As a result, standing or sitting causes the brain to slump because there isn’t enough fluid to cushion it.

When the brain slumps it causes severe pain, blurred vision, eye pain, neck and back pain, hearing impairment, spasms, nausea and many other symptoms. The only way to relieve the symptoms is to lie down.

A CSF leak can happen at any age through trauma or other injury, and is not confined to people with a spinal cord injury. Did you know actor George Clooney is a leaker, having sustained his injury while filming a movie? The average age for a (CSF) leak is 42, and it’s believed women are twice as likely as men to develop the condition.

The injury that resulted in my leak occurred in February. My condition progressively worsened through March and April until it became nearly impossible to function throughout the day. Since then, I have had three procedures (two unsuccessful) to repair the hole in my membrane.

I’ve done my best to cope with this condition, while fulfilling my responsibilities as Minister, and running and being re-elected as MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. While I participated in local all-candidates meetings, attended dozens of public events, made hundreds of phone calls and sent just as many emails during the campaign, I wish I could have done more.

I am so grateful to the volunteers and supporters who carried on while I was at my weakest and want to thank everyone for the well wishes and amazing support. I am continuing to heal and feel I am finally making progress and should be back to my old self in no time.

For more information about this medical condition, visit www.csfleak.info/what-is-a-cerebrospinal-fluid-csf-leak.

Michelle Stilwell

Parksville

Just Posted

Drunk driver ticketed after wrong-way rollover

Nanaimo man crashes on Inland Island Highway near Qualicum Beach

Car fire on Hwy. 19 near Nanoose slowing traffic

Fire has been put out, and the car has been removed

Bowser woman recovering from stabbing wounds

Police arrest 22-year-old male suspect in Nov. 14 incident

SOS marks 50 years of Christmas giving in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Society to mark golden anniversary with series of events in 2018

Homeless society unveils community care mobile in Parksville

Health care items, advice to be dispensed from RV

VIDEO: Clay throwing demonstration

Local potter giving demos during annual sale

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

Volunteers use drones in search for missing women

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Most Read