Sarah’s Chiari Journey

My name is Sarah McCann and I am 34 years old.  I have just been diagnosed with a Chiari Brain Malformation that my neurologist describes as the worst he has ever seen.  My Chiari is particularly rare due to the fact that it is so advanced, the cerebellar tonsils are so large and the tonsil positioning is so close to my brain stem that the surgery is needed immediately & is very high risk in nature.  There is very little brain fluid flow in the back of my head, and I have three areas of my spine that brain fluid is collecting due to the lack of circulation.  Out of the 3 Syrinxes (fluid sacks on spine) 1 is particularly large and extremely painful.

Within the next month or so I will be having a very complicated brain surgery to fix the Chiari. It is impossible to tell how long or difficult my recovery will be. It is also not known if I will need additional surgeries on my spine.  Needless to say, I have a rather large mountain to climb.

Presently, I need to begin travels to find a surgeon, who is a chiari specialist, to do this surgery. I certainly am trying to keep positive; however, between travel costs, medical bills & other related financial obligations, in reality, things are looking rather bleak. You know I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t have to BUT I really need some help.

I am also a mother to my 16 year old son whom I need to continue to care for throughout this process.

Please see my Facebook  page for additional information and updates.


About melbrake

Mel Brake is an awarding winning Philadelphia based poet/singer/song writer, whose poetry has appeared in several media outlets and journals, including Philadelphia Poets 2007, 2008 and 2009, Mad Poets Review, Fox Chase Review, and The Philadelphia Bulletin. In addition, Long Island Sounds: An Anthology of Poetry, Writing Outside The Lines (WOSTL) Anthology, Word Riot Magazine, The New Verse News, Word Salad Magazine and Poetry Ink 2010 has published his works. Recently, his band, the Mel Brake Family Band performed a benefit concert at Cross Road Café in Delaware County. He is the Founder and Executive Director of MPW, a non-profit organization, focusing on using the arts to reach children in the Tri-state area. In addition, his first chapbook, “Obama Poetry Project” is available at:
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