A mother-of-three has to avoid laughing as it feels like her skull is being stabbed with nails because of a rare condition, which causes her brain to leak.
Angela Chapman, of Glenrothes, in Fife, Scotland, has been diagnosed with spontaneous intracranial hypotension, which causes the brain to sag inside the skull. This is usually caused by a loss of cerebral spinal fluid through a hole in the tough layer of tissue that usually holds up the fluid the brain is suspended in.
“People think I’m miserable as I try not to laugh much and avoid funny TV shows, but getting the giggles leaves me in agony.1
Desperate to stop the unbearable pain, she has to lie down in her bed for six hours each day – it’s the only position that seems to offer her any relief.
“The pain is so severe I have to lie down for hours at a time,” she said. “I can’t go out much and even laughing brings on the horrific pain.”
She has been left unable to work and is already suffering from short-term memory loss. Doctors have been unable to confirm what triggered the leak, but she believes it stems from when she gave birth to 8lb 2oz Jacob at Victoria Hospital on January 20, 2015.
“I was leaning over Jacob, saying ‘coochy coo’, and I felt like there were pins or nails being pushed inside my skull into my brain,” she recalled.
Hoping the pain would fade, former catering assistant Angela tried to put it out of her mind but presently her neck was in agony and her arms and legs were aching. Her doctor prescribed painkillers, together with medication for arthritis.
After one month, she returned to her GP who sent her for an MRI scan. The neurologist told her in May 2015 she had spontaneous intracranial hypotension.
The most common cause of intracranial hypotension, or low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure in the brain, is a CSF Leak. According to the CSF Leak Association, when fluid leaks through the usually watertight membrane covering the brain and spinal cord, or Dura, the skull drops and the brain slumps that causes severe pain, which is worse when standing.
She has undergone two operations but everything went back to suffering after she was involved in car accident.
Her husband, Matthew, who she met through mutual friends and is at college studying electrical engineering, is concerned that his wife is showing early signs of dementia.
In June last year, she had an intracranial pressure device inserted into her head, to measure the pressure inside her skull at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital. It shows that the pressure was low, indicating Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension or a CSF leak.
Meanwhile, Angela is considering private health care to help cure her. Anyone wanting to donate can do so here.