NEWS DESK: A woman whose brain was falling out of her skull has astonished doctors by living past Christmas, thanks to money that’s been raised for life-saving surgery, reported The Independent.
Sarah Gearing suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic condition that causes the connective tissues in her body to collapse.
This sometimes causes her joints to fall apart as a result.
Gearing had a hindbrain herniation, which means that her brain had slipped seven millimetres out of place, thus preventing fluid from circulating between the brain and the spine.
She was told by doctors that if she didn’t have vital surgery promptly, her chances of survival would be minimal.
“My surgeon told me that my condition is more critical than it has ever been, and that if I don’t get the surgery I need by next month, I will die,” she said at the time.
“The surgery I need involves a total neck fusion and procedures to put my brain back where it belongs and permanently relieve the compression on my spinal cord.”
Gearing set up an urgent fundraising appeal in order to raise money for the operation in October.
She managed to raise over £140,000, which gave her the funds she needed to undergo the procedure.
However, Gearing still has a long way to go on her journey to recovery.
She now needs a further £70,000 for another surgery after contracting an infection that led to her having two bone grafts removed.
Sarah Millington, a close friend of Gearing who initiated the SurvivalSurgery4Sarah fundraising appeal, spoke about the obstacles that she is set to face in future.
“Sarah has had a rough ride as her body has battled to recover from this major surgery and she has been battle infection,” Millington said.
“She is just so grateful to be here, having been told she would not survive until Christmas, and she wants to thank God and everyone who has donated and fundraised, making it possible for her to have this life-saving surgery.”
There are several different forms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, as outlined by the NHS.
Hypermobile EDS has been compared to joint hypermobility syndrome. It involves having unstable joints, fatigue and skin that bruises easily.
Classical EDS affects the skin more, as it can cause fragile skin to split easily in addition to joint mobility.
Vascular EDS affects the blood vessels and internal organs, while Kyphoscoliotic EDS can lead to curvature of the spine.