Hi Mary; so good to hear from you. I was raised in upper Michigan by an alcoholic marine Corp father!! Work work work was the order of the day. It wasn't until I was married and had to have a c section with unknown complications giving birth. Thankfully, I gave birth at the University of Washington's medical school and they looked further into the complications and found the severity of the Klippel Feil. I was immediately put in a halo brace ( FULLY AWAKE!!!!!) and had multiplie surgeries! I'm actually in the text books as such a rare and severe case.
I truly am thankful that it was found later in life because there simply were no hospitals or physicians capable of doing the delicate surgery in the upper mid west and I had parents as you described that basically said I'll give you something to complain about!! So I just stopped complaining of the severe headaches and inability to move my neck in certain ways that caused what I can only describe as electrical pain. Now we know that having no odontoid was causing the electric type pain and any fall or car accident could have killed me immediately.
I have been through radiation for thr tumor however it has not shrunk at all. It is an atypical meningioma ( that is what they think as it is in such a difficult location that I cannot even get a biopsy). Normal meningiomas can be dangerous due to their location as mine is; however typically they grow very very slowly. If they grow so slowly they call them benign. Mine is growing faster than the typical meningioma but not so fast ( thankfully) that I still have some time before it invades the entire cavernous sinus and covers my carotid artery. There is a newly developed 3d surgical procedure that was approved in late 2019 that only 3 hospitals in the United states have the equipment. I have had my records sent to Pennsylvania but can do nothing until the coronavirus is completely over. It is difficult to live in pain all the time but I really try to look for positive things like my grandchildren ( I have 2 and absolutely adore them). Yes, I often cry myself to sleep because there are so many things that come with Klippel Feil and I've seen so many specialist who obviously want to be helpful but they simply don't know enough about Klippel Feil and the sequelae. My brain tumor went undiagnosed for so long because they thought 5he KFS was just getting so severe that it was turning into ankylosing spondylitis and that was causing the cluster headaches and swollen eye and right side of my face. So I do try to keep positive when I can!! Cry when I need to and take it day by day! Please tell me more about your upbringing…I spent 25 years in therapy. Yes, 25 for PTSD…but it truly was a blessing because I could not have coped with all of the surgeries if I had not had the support of therapy. Living with an abusive alchohol marine was probably way worse than any medical condition that I've been through! Much love and thought of kindness and strength to you! Your fellow warrior, julie