My Story with a Spinal Angioma


From: "Angeline Henry"
Sent: February 12, 2007

Hi my name is Angeline Henry and I am now 30 years old. My story begins about 10 years ago.

I was never the sporty type, however one day I decided I would have a game of touch rugby with my husband and some of his friends. I wondered why I always felt like I was going to lose my balance - At the time I was unaware that I was actually pregnant and thought the feeling was because of that.

Our daughter Cherish was born 7 months later. When she was 6 weeks old I was woken in the middle of the night by an excruciating pain in my back. It felt like I was getting stung but on the inside. I couldn’t handle anything touching my back, not even my clothes and I remember immediately stripping off. An ambulance was called as I remember feeling ill and sore and I was immediately taken to the local hospital with my baby as she was breastfed at the time. The next morning, I couldn’t walk properly. I had lost some feeling in my right leg. The doctors couldn’t explain it and said that I had a muscle spasm. They sent me to Auckland Hospital for tests on my legs and when everything come back clear, they sent me home with some pain relief.

For 2 years or so I struggled with pain and doctors couldn’t tell me what was wrong with me. I went to physio and had acupuncture which relieved some pain. My back felt funny to touch and I knew there was something wrong with me but was tired of doctors giving me strange looks when I told them about my symptoms.

Anyway, I fell pregnant with our baby who is now 6. 7 months into the pregnancy, I had a strange feeling in my back. For the first hour it felt like I maybe going into premature labour. Then it hit me, the same pain I felt 2 ½ years before. I couldn’t walk properly and my husband immediately took me down to the local A&E clinic. The nurse there was rude and wouldn’t give me anything for the pain and kept trying to grab my arm to take my blood pressure and I was trying to tell her that it was my back that was painful and I knew it was nothing to do with my baby. The pain lasted for about an hour before they finally gave me something to relieve the pain. I honestly felt like dying. The doctors sent me home with pain relief and yet again I had no answers.

When I got home, I thought that I would have a hot bath. I discovered that I had lost sensation in my right leg. Hot water felt like cold water. I was shocked. I called my midwife the next morning and she suggested I go in for a check up. When I was checked over at the hospital, they were disgusted that the doctor from the night before had sent me home instead of admitting me. They kept me in and within the day a doctor who I say now was a god sent looked over me and sent me in for an MRI and discovered I had a bleed in my spine. Finally I had an answer as to why I had been feeling the way I did. So this had in fact been a second bleed. This bleed had left me with no sensation in my right side from my waist down. I had to walk around with support as I couldn’t walk properly. The doctors seemed to think that pregnancy had something to do with both my bleeds and therefore booked me in for an emergency C section. Our son was born 2 ½ months premature. They didn’t want me to have him naturally as they didn’t want me to put any stress on the lesion. They also tied my tubes at the same time just encase the stress of pregnancies did contribute to the bleeds.

I now have an MRI scan done yearly to monitor growth or changes. I have scans done on my brain and all is clear so far.

Today, I live in fear every minute of every day that another bleed will happen and it will leave me paralysed. I have 80% of my feeling back but whenever I am about to get my period I feel a strange sensation in my back almost like it is going to bleed again. I would appreciate any advice about pain relief or even if you have had a similar experience. Angioma Alliance has been a god sent.

Thank you for reading.

Angeline Henry