This spring, you may have found yourself grabbing tissues and sneezing more frequently as the pollen count continues to rise. But what would you do if you found out your snotty nose was actually liquid draining from your brain? For one Nebraska woman, that nightmare was her reality.
In 2013, Kendra Jackson was hit from behind in a traumatic car accident. During her recovery, she noticed her nose runnier than usual, reported KETV.
"Everywhere I went I always had a box of Puffs, always stuffed in my pocket," Jackson told KETV.
At first, Jackson thought the runny nose was a cold symptom and doctors suggested it could be allergies.
"[It was] like a waterfall, continuously, and then it would run to the back of my throat," Jackson told the Nebraska news station.
Five years after enduring an incessant runny nose, Jackson visited Nebraska Medicine, where she was diagnosed with a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. In short, Jackson’s brain fluid was leaking through her nose at a rate of approximately a half-pint per day.
Not only was Jackson suffering nasal drainage, but constant headaches dramatically altered her ability to function.
"I couldn't sleep, I was like a zombie," Jackson said.
If Jackson had received this diagnosis years ago, she would have had to undergo serious brain surgery. However, today’s advancements of technology meant Jackson would be treated with a less invasive method.
"We go through the nostrils, through the nose," Nebraska Medicine Rhinologist Dr. Christie Barnes said. "We use angled cameras, angled instruments to get us up to where we need to go."
Dr. Barnes explained that she and her team used some of Jackson's own fatty tissue to plug up the leak source.
Now that the leak has been resolved, Jackson is living much easier.
"I don't have to carry around the tissue anymore," Jackson said with a laugh, "and I'm getting some sleep."
Although Jackson will have a few follow-up appointments to monitor the pressure in her head, doctors expect her to make a full recovery.