Adam Joseph thanks Action News viewers for outpouring support for niece undergoing brain surgery

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- I wanted to take a moment to thank the entire community for the prayers, support, and the outpouring of love over a Facebook and Twitter post I shared yesterday.

My niece, Isabel, who is 13 years old, has been in severe pain for several years. Her symptoms included headaches, dizzy spells, leg pains, body pains, ringing in ears, and blurry vision. After many doctor visits who said she was making it all up, specialists, three neurologists, three neurosurgeons, she was finally diagnosed with Chiari Malformation Type 1.

Chiari malformations may develop when part of the skull is smaller than normal or misshapen, which forces the cerebellum to be pushed down into the foramen magnum and spinal canal. This causes pressure on the cerebellum and brain stem that may affect functions controlled by these areas and block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The clear liquid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord. The CSF also circulates nutrients and chemicals filtered from the blood and removes waste products from the brain. The surgery is close to four hours long in the lower back of the skull and once complete, typically alleviates the pain, symptoms, and returns the patient back to a normal life.

As an uncle, I am grateful. My entire family is extremely blessed to have all of you! When we come together as one, it sends out a powerful wave! We have felt your love and the positive power behind social media. My niece is one of many who are going through this surgery, who've had this surgery, and those who maybe having symptoms. These prayers are for ALL of you going through hardship as we send it right back out.

Isabel went into surgery at 2:30 p.m. in Rhode Island with a smile on her face and a blanket with cats on it. She is a lover of animals, books and gardening. I have never met someone who reads so much! She missed 80 days of school this year and still made honor roll thanks to two tutors.

When she saw the outpouring of support from you, she said "oh my Shrek." She LOVES Shrek. When she is feeling better, she wants to go to Orlando and swim with the dolphins at Discovery Cove.

Six hours later, Isabel is resting. It was a little more complicated than originally thought, but she's a trooper.

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