In 2012 Sherri began experiencing lower back pain, which was initially diagnosed as a bulging disc and mild stenosis. Over the years her pain has continued to progress, and in recent months has become unbearable, greatly impacting her mobility and all facets of her daily life.
Sherri has pursued many, many avenues of treatment but despite her best efforts has been unable to find relief. In hopes of relieving some of her pain (with a guess of only 40% pain reduction at best) she was scheduled for a lower back laminectomy on March 15, 2017. Given the invasive nature of the surgery and the lengthy recovery time, she decided to seek yet another opinion. During her initial consultation at Barrow Neurological the physician assistant detected a very slight weakness in Sherri's left arm that she believed suspicious. Based on her findings an MRI of the cervical spine (neck) was ordered. On April 5, 2017, Sherri was contacted with the MRI findings of a tumor in her spine and directed to the emergency room where she was immediately admitted.
After many more tests, consultations and exams it was determined that the mass was not a tumor, but what is called a Syrnix (a rare fluid filled spinal cavity). With these findings Sherri was scheduled for surgery to drain the Syrnix and insert a shunt. Pain relief was finally on the horizon, and we were all guardily hopeful. The scheduled two-hour surgery went for 5 hours at which time it was determined that the mass was not a Syrnix but rather scar-tissue and that Sherri was leaking spinal fluid. There were no answers to the problems encountered, and the surgeon was bewildered by his findings. That said, it is important to note that Sherri is receiving exceptional care. She is being treated by top neurologists from the world renowned and highly regarded Barrow Neurological Institute. She is in good, and very competent hands. The conditions discovered are rare and can be extremely difficult to diagnose.
After many more tests, exams and consultations Sherri has been diagnosed with a condition known as Neuromyletis Optica (NMO) an auto-immune disease that affects the spinal cord. The good news is that there is treatment. Currently Sherri is being treated with steroids, and is beginning physical and occupational therapy. She is also still in recovery from a very lengthy and painful spinal surgery. She is currently in a rehab facility, and will be readmitted to the hospital in the upcoming weeks to begin chemo therapy treatment for NMO.
It has, and will continue to be a long and grueling road, but we are optimistic. Many of you reading this have known Sherri since childhood. No one will argue that Sherri is one of the toughest, most determined person they know. I have always been and continue to be so proud to call her my sister. She has been through so much, but I know that we WILL get through this.
I will try to keep everyone updated. For now please keep Sherri in your thoughts and prayers!
Thank you so much for all of your good thoughts, prayers, flowers, cards, food, rides and the list could go on and on... We are blessed with many amazing family and friends, and for that we are truly grateful!