What is Spina Bifida?

It is a question that is asked quiet often by most people and yes by those who have had a child born with it.

Spina Bifida is a congenital neurological tube defect of the spinal column. It can range from very mild to the severest form of the defect dependent upon where the opening in the spine is located.

Spina Bifida Occulta the most common form out of the three is also the most unlikely to catch until much later in life through oddly enough a simple X-ray of the back and spinal column. about 10 to 20 percent out of all healthy people may not know they have this type usually. Though it can show symptoms.

Forms of Occulta
There are forms of Spina Bifida Occulta that do cause problems though. They are:

Lipomyelomeningocele and lipomeningocele — this is like a tethered spinal cord, except it is attached to a benign fatty tumor;
Thickened filum terminale — the end of the spinal cord is too thick;
Fatty filum terminale — there is a fatty lump at the inside end of the spinal cord;
Diastematomyelia (split spinal cord) and diplomyelia — the spinal cord is split in two, usually by a piece of bone or cartilage; and
Dermal sinus tract (with involvement of the spinal cord) — the spinal canal and the skin of the back are connected by what looks like a band of tissue.

Signs of Occulta
People can have these forms of Spina Bifida Occulta even if there is nothing wrong with the spine. However, there can be neurological complications associated with SBO. The most frequently occuring complication is a tethered spinal cord. A tethered cord occurs when the spinal cord (usually at the lower end) is not attached correctly to the rest of the body. The cord gets stretched and damaged.

The signs and symptoms of a possible neurological complication like a tethered spinal cord include:

Pain in the back or legs;
Weakness in the legs;
numbness or other changes in feeling in the legs or back;
Deformed legs, feet and back; and
Change in bladder or bowel function.
People who could have a spinal cord problem should see a health care provider right away.

What about people with no signs of a problem?
Eighty percent of those with a spinal cord problem will have skin over the defect with:

a hairy patch;
a fatty lump;
a hemangioma — a red or purple spot made up of blood vessels;
a dark spot or a birth mark — these are red and don’t include blue-black marks, called “Mongolian spots”;
a skin tract (tunnel) or sinus — this can look like a deep dimple, especially if it’s too high (higher than the top of the buttocks crease), or if its bottom can’t be seen; and
a hypopigmented spot — an area with less skin color.

Information above curteousy of  Spina Bifida Association.
http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org/site/c.evKRI7OXIoJ8H/b.8277205/k.5ED4/Spina_Bifida_Occulta.htm

Another form is

Spina Bifida  Myelomeningocele with Hydrocephalus 

Which is the version I have. After talking with my mother about it I realized it was actually the severest form of  it and I also realized how lucky I had become since often time if the opening is up any higher it would often lead to more severe complications, meaning I would not be able to speak, move my head or other part so of my body or function at all really because of where it was located. Mine thankfully was located in the lower back region. Any higher than that and I would not be here to type this posting.  And it is not without it’s own complications in its self. There were many surgeries we had to endure during the first years of my life.  Many fears anguish.  So I can not say it is all roses and perfume.  It was not.  But we made it through it and I can say I am now a  35 year old woman  healthy and crazier than ever.   I won’t go into great detail of what all happened unless you ask me. But I will answer any questions you have in this post  in the comments section. 🙂  Please don’t hesitate to ask anything. I will do my best to answer them.

Courteous of Wikipedia.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spina_bifida

This type of spina bifida often results in the most severe complications.[11] In individuals with myelomeningocele, the unfused portion of the spinal column allows the spinal cord to protrude through an opening. The meningeal membranes that cover the spinal cord form a sac enclosing the spinal elements. Spina bifida with myeloschisis is the most severe form of myelomeningocele. In this type, the involved area is represented by a flattened, plate-like mass of nervous tissue with no overlying membrane. The exposure of these nerves and tissues make the baby more prone to life-threatening infections such as meningitis.[12][not specific enough to verify]

The protruded portion of the spinal cord and the nerves that originate at that level of the cord are damaged or not properly developed. As a result, there is usually some degree of paralysis and loss of sensation below the level of the spinal cord defect. Thus, the more cranial the level of the defect, the more severe the associated nerve dysfunction and resultant paralysis may be. People may have ambulatory problems, loss of sensation, deformities of the hips, knees or feet, and loss of muscle tone.

Meningocele

The least common out of all three forms.

The least common form of spina bifida is a posterior meningocele (or meningeal cyst). In this form, the vertebrae develop normally, but the meninges are forced into the gaps between the vertebrae. As the nervous system remains undamaged, individuals with meningocele are unlikely to suffer long-term health problems, although cases of tethered cord have been reported. Causes of meningocele include teratoma and other tumors of the sacrococcyxand of the presacral space, and Currarino syndrome.

A meningocele may also form through dehiscences in the base of skull. These may be classified by their localisation to occipital, frontoethmoidal, or nasal. Endonasal meningoceles lie at the roof of the nasal cavity and may be mistaken for a nasal polyp. They are treated surgically. Encephalomeningoceles are classified in the same way and also contain brain tissue.

And to be totally honest I am myself still learning about my condition as I learn I will share with you. And  this post maybe altered as I find more accurate  information from SB sites.

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Funny or not so funny life of Spina Bifida during Christmas

Sometimes I wonder if there is anything to laugh about as I have this condition. Surprisingly there is I found through have one particularly funny and absolutely brilliant feline named Yoda Pussy Moda or Cat for short or even every four letter bad word you can think up when she’s being bad. LOL And she can be bad  dastardly bad.lol

Yoda’s first Christmas!

That is probably the vaguest sentence you can ever read. But there is an underlying tone to that vague sentence.

We got Yoda in 93 only by accident…. That same year Christmas time.  Nothing to special or funny about that season at least not yet.  We got out our decorations placing lit candles and a musical frosty the snow man on the old chest.  We wound him up sitting him down, as we did Yoda became quiet curious about the candles and frosty she would get rather dangerously close to the candles sniffing the  fire almost  burning of whiskers than she caught the soothing music of Frosty she got down off the stairs and onto  the chest right in front of him fascinated by the sound not running in horror by the loud sound.   Then we spent most of the afternoon and evening placing the tree up.  Which with a large tree is always a large task.

By evening we had finally finished and mom went to take her shower and get cleaned up. Yoda made her usual night venture up right behind her in waiting by the door stretched out through the shower.   Though this night it would seem to be different. As mom went in and turned on the shower then getting in.  The cat came back down stairs. Yes nothing yet but it’s about to change.  Once the shower was turned on and she’d entered it.  Yoda proceeded to try to provoke me in getting under the tree when she is not supposed to I attempt to chase her out and being wheelchair bound that is difficult.  She bolted suddenly out from under making the tree waddle back and fourth.  I roll up something to try to prevent her from another access which would be an utter fail no matter how many things I rolled up while chasing her about a tiny place. She would do u turns from the kitchen area into the living room and under the tree all the while at each time she shot out the tree shook rather violently. This kept up for the duration of the shower.

And you are thinking by now this isn’t really all that funny to do on someone with wheelchair.  I beg to differ.

Once the shower turned off at the last lap of our chase she went up the stairs causal and placed herself  laying neatly on the floor as if she’d been there the entire time.  In which case when mom opened the door finding her there. And in saying good kitty was unaware of what that crazy cat had just put me through.

She came down the stairs and once past the wall caught sight of  the living room rug in a large knot, steam coming out of my ears hair a mess and  rolled up papers strung about every  uncovered surface or chair.   I tell her what I had just went through which made her start laughing and while I was rather annoyed and mad I began laughing as well.

Since her passing I think of her every year and think as we put up our little trees about that first Christmas.

and all I can say is there is no cat like her she was and is a rare one.  Miss you Yoda.

Our current cat is scared of our trees this year. lol   and yes having a cat can really help you well any pet really. They not only keep you on your toes but they keep you from dwelling on things that can’t be fixed and help you in what you CAN do.