A Maryville woman is battling a rare disease called syringomyelia. Lisa Campbell was diagnosed with it after a car crash in 2006.

Syringomyelia is a disease in which a cyst forms in the spinal cord. Over time, it can destroy part of the spinal cord, leaving patients with symptoms ranging from progressive weakness in the arms and legs, stiffness in the back, shoulders, arms or legs and severe pain.

Other symptoms may include headaches, loss of ability to feel extremes of hot or cold, mainly in the hands, and loss of bladder and other functions. Signs of the disease usually develop slowly, but sudden onset may happen, too.

Campbell’s case came about through trauma from the car accident. She lives in pain.

“The cramps will kind of go up your whole body, even in your rib cage, and you’ll find yourself just laying down for the rest of the day,” she said. “I have bad nights where my legs are numb, they’re wobbly. I do have to prop up against stuff.”

Dr. Michael Walsh, a neurosurgeon at UT Medical Center, says syringomyelia is very rare. About 40,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed. Sometimes the disease can occur in association with other conditions. He usually sees three to four patients a year in his large practice in Knoxville.

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5 thoughts on “Woman Battles Rare Syringomyelia Disease in Maryville”

  1. Nanette Allen says:

    I have syringomelia and would love to participate here if possible. Please add me to your email list? Thank you.

  2. Jana says:

    Lisa: Just read your story & totally feel for you. I too have SM along with Crohn’s/thyroid and now hardening of my Aortic artery. Never boring. Mine was due to someone thinking honking a horn while I was riding my horse was a good idea. He spooked and ran into traffic. We were hit by a car going 40 MPH. He got up & ran away with a few cuts & scratches. I was thrown off the hood then scooted across the asphalt on my arms/body until my head ran into the curb which stopped me. I was comatose for a couple of weeks. That happened at 15 & my symptoms started acting up after a surgery for my crohns failed to make me any better in my late 30’s early 40’s. I have had 6 major surgeries so far & too many procedures to count. Been disabled for 15 years now & losing my legs at the moment mainly due to a lousy doctor/ins. who I can’t change out of till after the first of the year. They have decided that after all the years of treating me that suddenly the doctor doesn’t “believe” in the treatment “their” pain management & PT set me up on. Just way too much fun living this way. I’m sure you have had to educate others on this condition as I have over the years as they all think you have a simple back ache. No one truly seems to get just how dangerous & uncomfortable living with this is. They also don’t seem to understand that no one in the whole wide world would love to be rid of it more than the one going through it. SM is not a bowl of cherries, it is painful & no fun. Living with daily pain that is never ending is hard to take. All I can do is my best & muddle through without screaming to the heavens. My doctors more than a few times over the years have asked me “How do you live with this?” I respond, “My choice is? Hope you are having a decent day. You are not alone.

  3. So do I and it’s a big cover up! I spent 8 days in Hospitalist program and they sent the head Neurosurgeon from main hospital to the hospital in my area where I was. She lied and said nothing was compressed, bulging, etc. Note that I had a 20 yr old lumbar fusion removed, lengthened w/ cage that was a Failed back surgery immediately. 17 hours of surgery in 24 hours! To this day it is not even on my medical record (Epic system) nor is the week stay at hospital wherein I went thru hospital psychosis (Sundowners Syndrome & Traumatic Brain Injury) yet it seriously isn’t anywhere in my records. I do have all paper original Visit Summaries for 7+ yrs except for the hospital stay. I had 4 diagnosises and after surgery….over 35! My Neurosurgeon list licence more than once for using Epics to slander other medical professionals, patients and since I was in recently…they finally fired him. My MRI’s were switched. The Hospitalist (main Ortho I saw while there recently) gave me my real reports and the PTS report. Nobody has helped me with any medical care, told me of at least 4 rare, incurable things I now have but I’ve downloaded every couple weeks for all these years. They keep changing records to this day. I have ALL proof, even tapes n recordings! I live in WI where it’s impossible to sue doctors! I have had NO pain meds or PT, etc. Dizzy, am getting numb from waist down, pain is unbearable & they KNOW IT!! I’m a Christian or I wouldn’t be alive right now. Any ideas for my getting help or honest opinion as no medical facilities nor doctors want anything to do with me as I am beyond any surgical treatment and any help would be admitting cover up or I’d be a lost cause liability everywhere else. I have seizures, can’t sleep for such long periods that I literally hallucinate, don’t know who/where I am, thought the Tribulation was happening one time and was yelling in tongues out my window, seeing and talking to angels n loved ones in courtyard when actually nobody was out there, etc. I need & pray vehemently for advice, mercy, honesty, pain relief….It’s getting worse daily & as I said….I have actual MRI’s that are not mine!! I also have many more that are and unless Tylenol, laying in dark bedroom for 3 years now (surgeon had me stay in hospital bed at home for 1st 4 (four) years) then the no help n Tylenol has cured me. People are so evil. I pray for all y’all and pray someone can respond. Much love and God bless and give everyone peace. Sherri aka Sunflower 💛🌻

  4. IDK if I said ➡ in last month found out I now have PTS due to FBSS & SCI from Trauma, lies, No medical help. PTS is the Syrinx in my Thoracic area….not sure yet if it’s going to brain…symptoms of erratic blood pressure, very worsening blurred vision in 1 eye & severe facial sweating but on entire face. Having Causa Equina Symptoms n so much more! SCI ↔Sinal Cord Injury (trauma), malicious medical record tampering causing severe threat to my life & NO help with pain or anything else. FBSS failed back surgery syndrome….2 failed lumbar and 2 failed cervical fusions w/improperly placed cages & more. I’ve never used Twitter but email is good sosgsflower9@gmail.com.

  5. Anne F says:

    I’ve recently learned I have a syrinx. I’m not sure where it is on my spine but I have little feeling in my right arm. I dont feel pain and temp. I suspect I injured my spine when I was a kid hitting a baseball with a bat. I’ve had no pain or problems up until April 2018. I was feeling pain in my under arm and elbow. I saw a orthopedic surgeon who said I broke my shoulder, and elbow. He described my shoulder “it looks like a bomb went off in there”. He refered me to the neurologist. After mri’s I was told I have a syrinx but that I could get the shoulder replacement I needed. Now the ortho. surgeon says he wont do it because I’d tear the replacement up too. I cant work and have become depressed.

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