Surrendering into Surgery

It’s been two months since I wrote my last blog. If you’ll remember, I shared that my angelic guides were asking me to set everything down…to decompress during the holidays. I had been dealing with vertigo and they told me it was time to take a rest. So I did. Well, what I now know is that they were preparing me for what lay ahead. I’ll share a little here. It’s rather an interesting story, especially when you read the miracle that happened towards the end.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with a brain abnormality called Chiari Malformation I. This is where the bottom of the brain called the tonsil of the brain juts too far down into the cervical spine cutting off the flow of spinal fluid. You can be born with this or it can occur due to trauma. I’ve had five whiplashes over the last 15 years so I’m guessing that this is where it began for me. Some of the symptoms associated with Chiari Malformation I are extreme vertigo, mental fog, migraines, aches and pains in the body, loss of use of your appendages, trouble swallowing that can lead to choking, loss of vision that can lead to blindness, loss of hearing, etc., you get it. If the disease progresses, it can be rather extreme. People often chase doctors for years trying to figure out what is wrong with them. I did. I was tested for MS, lupus and finally the doctors said I had beginning stages of fibromyalgia. I knew they were wrong. It turns out that with Chiari, this is what often happens.

When I was finally given a correct diagnosis two years ago it was due to nystagmus (eyes vibrating) and extreme vertigo. Thankfully, it calmed down for a bit. I continued to have aches and pains in my body and mild headaches along with moments of vertigo, but I could live with it. However, things like loading my dishwasher and turning around would shut me down for a whole day. My life was literally coming to a standstill. I chose to live with this because my choice was either that or brain surgery. Here in the States the remedy for this is to cut a chunk of your skull out, go in and cut through the cervical spine and then to go into the spinal column and cauterize the inside of it to create a larger opening for the spinal fluids to flow. It’s a seven-hour surgery with a very long stay in ICU and then an extremely long recovery. You can see why I opted out of it. I chose to go the chiropractic/physical therapy avenue. Then I took a turn for the worse.

Over the last several months the vertigo, weakness and mental fog have been debilitating. I’ve had many moments where I would sit down at my computer to simply read emails and would literally begin crying due to not being able to focus. My memory would also come and go. I knew that something was really wrong when I took a step one day and fell over my foot. I couldn’t feel it. It wasn’t numb. It simply wasn’t there. Thankfully, that was only one episode. It showed me, however, that I couldn’t stay in denial anymore. It was time to surrender.

I made a decision in mid-December to face this full-on and have the brain surgery. Now here’s the really cool part. Because I live and breathe what I teach about the Law of Attraction and working with my guides, I said out loud to God, “Okay. It’s time to get this surgery done. Please show me the neurosurgeon to go to. However, if there is a better way that I can do this that will be done with much more grace and ease, please show me the way.”

THE NEXT DAY I went to our local outdoor mall with my hubby to have some lunch. There is an open play area for the kids with lots of tables. I noticed a rather odd looking huge dog and, knowing that Charlie is a dog lover, pointed it out to him. We were both drawn to it. We went over and began talking with the woman owner. I had never seen her before. Then her husband walked up and I realized that he had done some roofing work for us almost four years ago. I remembered really liking him. So we began to chat. I asked him, “Aren’t you into boating and motorcycles?”

He told me that it was his 17-year-old son who had been into motocross and had also been a waverunner world champion racer, but that they had to pull him out over a year ago. That’s when his wife interjected and said he had a long list of medical ailments and that he even had to quit high school. Of course, I had to ask what was going on and she said, “He has a brain problem called Chiari Malformation.” My mouth dropped and I sat down in the chair.

As we began to discuss this problem, I asked them if their son was going to have brain surgery. They told me he had been scheduled with the Chiari Institute of NY, but that they had now found a surgeon in Barcelona, Spain, who did a much-less invasive procedure that was a 45-minute arthroscopic surgery and you are out of the hospital the next day. The surgery doesn’t even go near the brain, but instead clips a tendon at the bottom of the spine that creates tension all up and down the spine including the tonsil of the brain, causing much of the issue in the first place. WELL, you can only imagine the excitement and shock I felt after hearing this. It had only been a day prior that I had asked for guidance to have an easier path and it showed up. Woo hoo!

God was showing me the way and continued to get my attention for several weeks. The first sign came a few days after our chat at the mall. I was driving one day and pulled up to a stoplight. I was thinking about everything and then glanced at the car’s license plate in front of me. It said, “Hohnadell.” I laughed out loud. This is the last name of the people who told me about the doctor in Spain! I laughed because your car is symbolic of your physical journey. I was being shown to follow this path. And it didn’t stop there. For almost two weeks, I ran into the Hohnadells either by themselves or together at least six or seven times! God was really trying to give me some signs! So I listened.

Of course, I did my homework to check out this Spanish doctor and he is one of the premier spinal docs in the world and the testimonials on his website are amazing. You can do all kinds of searches on the web for Dr. Royo at the Barcelona Chiari Institute and everything you find is awesome. So, in spite of having such a debilitating brain issue, I am on fire about the miracle that I’ve already experienced and am sitting with the intention that there will be great healing when I have the surgery next Tuesday, February 7th.

So as you read this blog, I am most likely on my way to Spain or already there. And I would welcome all prayers! I have no idea what is in store for me, but know that I am indeed on a magical adventure!

I will keep you posted!

With love and light…

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  1. Hi Terri, Greetings from Finland!

    Can you tell a little bit about how the surgery went and what did you think about Dr Royo and the whole process? It sure sounds good on paper at least, and I’m considering going there myself to cut the tendon but there is so much differing opinions from other neurosurgeons that it’s hard to figure out what is true.


    1. Tommi,

      I’m so sorry I just saw your note here. It’s one year later. Oh my goodness. Please read further down after the next post where I respond to both of you. Would love to hear if you got the surgery and how it worked for you. ~Terri

  2. Hey Tommi and Alexander,

    I’m not sure why I’m just seeing your remarks, but I guess it’s better late than never.

    I am doing great after the surgery. In fact, just days after the surgery I was walking around the mountain of Montserrat, which is outside of Barcelona.

    My dizziness is gone, as well as my choking and falling. My appendages work great! I do yoga. I hike. I dance. The only thing I don’t do is heavy weights of any kind because it knocks the atlas of my brain out of alignment. But that’s not really the Chiari. That’s due to old whiplashes. I had an MRI a couple of years ago to look at the Chiari and there was no evidence of it.

    Tommi, you asked about the process. It was so easy. I literally went in and had the surgery, stayed in a beautiful hospital that overlooked the city, and the next day was out of the hospital. Dr. Royo is fabulous! So kind and compassionate. And Khatarina, his interpreter, is wonderful. I never felt scared or uncared for at all. The hospital staff was really wonderful, too.

    If I had to do it all over again I would without a moment’s hesitation.

    I hope that helps. If either of you need more info, let me know.



  3. Hello Terri,

    Thank you for your reply. Very happy to hear the positive outcome of you surgery. You are a breath of fresh air in an ocean of uncertainty, pain and fustration when I view the various blogs on this subject. 

    Concerning my case, I had a MRI and accidently they found a syringomyelia 20mm x 6mm located at C6 and C7. I have been unsymtomatic  but given the reviews it might eventually start creating problems. 

    I immediately started to educate myself on the topic by navigating through the Internet and booking appointments with doctors for next week.  

    My intial findings against possible treatments were not very positive and scary. This was till I discovered  the clinic in Barcelona and the simple techique they use to rectify this problem. I immediately reached out to them and shared my MRI scan and report. They asked me to conduct further MRI scans to evaluate the rest of my spine, which I am hoping to complete within the next couple of weeks. I am also in the process of reaching out to a clinic in Germany and UK to get more opinions. 

    In the meanwhile, I have been trying to find blogs and people that have had the procedure done in Barcelona to understand the outcome and their overall experience. Hence the reason I found your blog which has been uplifting and useful. 

    I would trully appreciate if you could direct me to other people/ blogs that discuss the procedure and results they had from the same clinic. This would be super useful. Till now I have only managed to find you and some Spanish speaking reviews. Unfortunately I do not speak spanish  so it’s a bit more challenging.

    This whole experience has been challanging and very emotional for the family.  Trying to be positive. Thank you for sharing your experience. You have been of great help.

    1. Hey, Alexander! Sorry I’m just seeing your response here. I wish I knew other blogs for you to read about people’s experiences with the Chiari Institute in Barcelona, but I don’t. I was “divinely guided” there as I think you read in my blog. I was so blown away by the fact that I asked for a kinder, gentler way and it showed up the next day at a mall when I talked to some people that I didn’t even question it. Is it possible that you were divinely guided to my story so it would be the push you need to have the surgery in Barcelona? 🙂 Just food for thought! Let me know what you decide. ~Terri

  4. Hi my name is Lisa from Leeds west Yorkshire England. I’ve been diagnosed with chiari and syrinx which is causing me so much pain. So I am extremely interested in your information. Life’s just bit of a blur at the moment. But found your blog helpful.thank you

    1. Hey, Lisa! Wow, I’m so sorry you’re going through Chiari. I know it’s tough. If you would like to send an email to me directly, I would be more than happy to give you any information I can to help. You can send it to my assistant Jen at and she will get it to me.

  5. I was diagnosed with Chiari I in 2009 and very reluctant to have the surgery. I have received mixed opinion from doctors, and only heard that the surgery is very painful and you may have to go through it more than once. I am very interested in the surgery that you(Terri) had. I suffer from memory fog, finger pain, feet pain and many others. This seems to be progressing. Most doctors in there area have not heard of Chiari and really don’t know how to treat.

    1. Hey, Rose! I know it’s tough going through the hunt for the right doctor. I do feel I found the right one for me with Dr. Royo at the Chiari Institute of Barcelona. He was one of the most compassionate doctors I have ever met. And his team was wonderful. He did a cutting-edge surgery that cuts a tendon called the filum terminale at the base of the spine, instead of doing anything at the brain. By cutting the tendon, it releases the stress on the spine and the Chiari heals. It takes 45 minutes or so and you’re out of the hospital the next day. I actually saw a doctor at Emory’s “dizzy” clinic who used to be the head of the Chair Division at Johns Hopkins. He felt our system here is antiquated and was really inspired by my story of going to Spain. I would encourage you to check out Dr. Royo’s website. And if you need to ask further information of me, feel free to contact my assistant, Jen, so she can set up a time for us to chat. Her email is Take care! Terri

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