IT is every mother’s dream and prayer to see her child live a long and prosperous life, and Waterfall mom Allison Myeza is no different.
Allison has dedicated her life to assisting her 21-year-old son Chris, overcome his illness - hydrocephalus due to a rare congenital brain malformation called an Arnold Chiari malformation.
Chris will undergo surgery, estimated to cost R400 000, including the surgeons, anaesthesiologist and theatre fees, and Allison, a widow, is appealing to the community for assistance.
Speaking to the Fever Allison said: “Chris was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at the age of nine months due to a rare congenital brain malformation called an Arnold Chiari malformation.
“At the age of five, Chris had brain surgery to ‘decompress’ the cerebellar area of his brain, to allow the cerebrospinal fluid to flow freely.
“Complications occurred and Chris was given a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt to drain excess fluid. At the age of 17, Chris started having grand mal seizures, and was treated for epilepsy. It took more than a year to adjust the medication to keep Chris as seizure-free as possible.”
In 2015, during a routine MRI scan, a lesion was found in Chris’s frontal lobe.
“In 2016, the lesion was diagnosed as a cavernoma, which is an abnormal collection of blood vessels. In March, Chris started having a different type of seizure. A repeat MRI scan showed that the cavernoma had grown by 1.5 centimetres and was surrounded by blood from a recent haemorrhage.
“In April, following another of the new type of seizure, Chris developed hemiplegia, paralysis and loss of function on his right side – symptoms similar to a stroke. A CT scan showed another haemorrhage had occurred.”
She said the best option for Chris is for the cavernoma to be removed, but the position is on the motor strip of his brain, and the risks are so great the motor strip could be damaged during surgery.
“To minimise the risks and to ensure that Chris’s surgery and recovery are the best possible outcome, he has been scheduled to have ‘awake brain’ surgery, where the brain is mapped using special imaging and the patient is woken during the surgery to assist the neurosurgeons to map the brain precisely.
“This specialised surgery is currently not available through government facilities, and will be done at Entabeni Hospital by Dr Malan Roux, who has experience in this type of surgery. Dr Roux will be assisted by a neurophysiologist from Cape Town who specialises in brain mapping.”
The surgery is Chris’s best hope of preventing further haemorrhages or damage and loss of function, and removing the cavernoma may even stop Chris from having seizures altogether.
Chris will be admitted to Entabeni on Tuesday 25 July, and surgery is scheduled for Wednesday 26 July.
A special bank account has been opened for donations. Anyone willing to donate can contact Allison on 083 926 9486 or email allison@bio watch.org.za