Latina mom was told she had allergies when she was actually leaking brain fluid!
Every season, allergies affect thousands of people, and for the most part we accept that that leakiness coming from our nose is just that--allergies. But this Latina mom almost lost her life because of a scary condition that doctors assumed was just severe allergies: 35-year-old Arizona mom Aundrea Aragon was told that her nose which had been leaking for four months was simply allergies. Doctors later learned that it was a rare condition called cerebrospinal leak and it only occurs in 1 of 100,000 patients.
Doctors say her brain was leaking cerebrospinal fluid through two cracks in the back of her sphenoid sinus, a condition that could have killed her. This normally happens to overweight patients who have high cranial pressure or a car accident or head trauma can cause the damage. But in Aragon's case, it was just a freak accident.
This is particularly horrifying to me because I am an allergy sufferer who experiences sneezing fits that are inhuman (at least to me). When I found out that this mom thought she only had a harmless, if annoying case of allergies only to find out that it was more serious than that, I flipped out. I went into hypochondriac mode thinking maybe I had this crazy condition too. Thankfully that isn't the case. I hope!
According to surgeon Alexander Chiu, the problem isn't the fluid leaking from the brain, but the risk of infection is what is concerning. "You are constantly making brain fluid," he said. "It can be fatal when there is a connection between the cleanest part of the body, the brain, and the dirtiest part, the nose."
Aragon considers herself lucky since she had taking antibiotics weeks before to treat a sinus infection and doctors still hadn't caught on to the condition. The mother of an autistic child, she was too busy caring for him that she didn't question her doctors' diagnosis. But when the nasal spray her doctor gave her didn't work, she knew she had to get checked.
The amount of fluid her nose was releasing shocked even the doctors after she went in to get tested and lab results confirmed that she had been leaking cerebrospinal fluid. She luckily made it successfully through the surgery, but we can't imagine the scare she went through.
Typically I know when something is wrong with my body and tend to seek medical attention if I feel it's necessary. I would be furious if I was Aundrea since doctors let this go for 4 months and didn't bother checking to see if her condition could've been more than allergies. Thankfully she's better now, but this story makes you realize that sometimes doctors don't know best and you can only rely on your instinct.
Image via University of Arizona