For years Kendra Jackson lived with an infuriatingly runny nose. Doctors told her it was a cold, or possibly allergies, but nothing ever came of her frequent visits to various consultants and specialists as she sought help with her problem. It all began after a car accident in 2013 when Kendra’s head was slammed into her car’s dashboard, leaving her with agonising headaches and the runny nose.
“[It was] like a waterfall, continuously, and then it would run to the back of my throat,” Jackson told reporters. “I couldn’t sleep. I was like a zombie.”
Well recently Kendra learned the source of both the headaches and her runny nose. She was experiencing what’s known as a Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) leak as a result of the injury caused by her car’s dashboard. Cerebrospinal fluid is the liquid that surrounds our brains and keeps helps perform a number of roles, one of which involves cushioning the brain during impact. When a crack or hole in the skull forms the fluid can begin to leak out, often resulting in blurred or lost vision, hearing difficulties, or—as Kendra found out—nasal problems.
Doctors kept telling Kendra her nose was constantly running because of allergies. Turns out, it was actually fluid leaking from Kendra's brain! Our ENT team diagnosed and treated the problem and @CamilaOrtiKETV will have more on the story tonight at 10:00 #CSFLeak pic.twitter.com/lGn0FMQwlo— Nebraska Medicine (@NebraskaMed) May 4, 2018
In other words, Kendra hit her head so hard her brain’s juices were dribbling out of her nose.
Nebraska Medicine posted about Kendra’s case to Facebook, writing:
“Doctor after doctor told Kendra the fluid coming our of her nose was because of allergies. But after years of coping with this problem and the headaches associated with it, she turned to the ENT team at Nebraska Medicine. Carla Schneider, PA, discovered Kendra had a CSF leak - cerebrospinal fluid FROM HER BRAIN WAS LEAKING OUT OF HER NOSE! So rhinologist Dr. Christie Barnes and neurosurgeon Dr. Dan Surdell surgically fixed the potentially dangerous problem a few weeks ago.”
CSF leaks are very rare, but often present in mundane ways making them under-diagnosed. The UK charity CSF Leak association is dedicated to raising awareness of the condition as they say a lack of knowledge about the effects of a CSF leak means many people don’t realise they are experiencing one.
Thankfully doctors operated on Kendra and solved the leak by plugging the hole using her own tissue.
“We [went] through the nostrils, through the nose. We use angled cameras, angled instruments to get us up to where we need to go,” said one of the surgeons present.
Meanwhile Kendra can now go back to a life without tissue paper as she is finally free of the leak. For the first time in 5 years she will finally get a good night’s sleep and be free of a runny nose.