Chris Myeza is a 21 year old young man from Waterfall, near Durban. Chris was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at the age of 9 months, due to a rare congenital brain malformation called an Arnold Chiari malformation. At the age of 5, 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 ventriculo-pertoneal (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 2017, Chris started having a different type of seizures. A repeat MRI scan showed that the cavernoma had grown by 1.5 cm and was surrounded by blood from a recent haemorrhage. In April 2017, following another of the new type of seizures, 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.
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 risksare great that 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, Chris 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. Without medical aid, Chris is in need of assistance to pay for the surgery, which is estimated to cost R400,000 (including the surgeons, anaesthesiologist and theatre fees) – Chris’ Mom, Allison, a widowed, single parent has negotiated discounts as far as possible.
The surgery is Chris’s best hope to prevent 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 the surgery is scheduled for Wednesday 26 July. Chris should be allowed home to recover the first week of August.
A special bank account has been set up for donations.
Standard BankHillcrest Branch
Branch code 045726
Account nameChris Myeza Surgery Funds
Account number 250 794 748