Determined mom finds cure for son's mystery illness
A 13-year-old boy in Florida who suffered from a mystery illness for years because no doctor could correctly diagnose him, is now on his way to recovery thanks to his determined mom.
Bobby Leithauser began suffering from severe stomach pain when he was 9-years-old and his parents Keri and Tom told NBC's Today Show that his condition grew drastically worse over the next few years. He was eventually confined to a wheelchair.
"As soon as he would eat he would get these massive pains," Tom said. "Eventually we could only feed him blueberries and chicken."
"He had headaches and tremors, he was unable to control his temperature," Keri said.
Multiple doctors gave Bobby one diagnosis after the next but his mom didn't trust them so she started doing her own research.
"I talked to all different moms who had children with similar problems and I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together," she said.
Keri eventually found Dr. Harold Rekate, a neurosurgeon in New York, who gave Bobby an entirely new diagnoses after seeing scans of his skull and spine.
Dr. Rekate determined that Bobby has Chiari Malformation (CM)- a condition that causes structural defects in the cerebellum.
The ligaments holding Bobby's head onto the spine were too loose, causing the top bone in his spine to push into his brain. Dr. Rekate performed a 6-hour surgery and now Bobby is feeling better than ever.
His mother said in a Facebook post, "For everybody that knows Bobby you know the suffering he has endured over the last three years. I am so proud of the courage and strength he has shown. He hopes that his story will shed light and gain attention for Chiari malformation...and the people suffering everyday with these disorders. It is our hope that no other child and family goes through this."
According the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, CM occurs in about one in every 1,000 births, but some children who are born with the condition may not show symptoms until adolescence or adulthood, if at all.