Kendra Scarrow thought she had shaken off the shackles of Eagles Syndrome.
After undergoing surgery in Mexicali, Mexico on May 23, the 39-year-old Langley woman believed she had her life back.
But today she is lying, once again bedridden, in the Willowbrook home she shares with her parents.
Profiled in the Langley Times in April, Scarrow suffers from Eagles syndrome. The disorder that causes recurrent pain of the jaw, throat, and tongue, is just one of a myriad of medical issues she is facing.
Pain is triggered by swallowing because the styloid process is affected. Eagle’s syndrome occurs when the styloid (a pointed piece of bone that extends down from the skull, just below the ear) grows longer than it should, resulting in severe and virtually constant pain.
Then, in the late winter, Scarrow was diagnosed by an oral surgeon with another rare condition unrelated to Eagle’s.
“In the back of the mouth, there’s bones that we all have,” Scarrow explained, about what is diagnosed as pterygoid hamulus bursitis. “Mine grew really long.”
“I was getting worse and worse and worse,” Scarrow said. “I literally could barely even choke down food.”
Scarrow said doctors believed that Scarrow’s medical issues were all in her head — figuratively speaking.
“They called it a fictitious disorder, even though all this stuff was on my scans and doctors were diagnosing it,” Scarrow said.
In Mexico, Scarrow underwent two surgeries and has scars on both sides of her neck as reminders.
But her medical issues, and what Scarrow believes are the source of her being a shut-in again today, trace back to early November.
“Back in November (2016), there was one CT scan saying that it looked like I had osteomyelitis, which is bone infection, in my jawbone,” Scarrow said. “I’ve looked back to all my scans, all the way back from March last year, and you could see black holes. Dentists, overlooking it all.”
In Mexicali, Scarrow said she was “vomiting like crazy” and couldn’t stay warm, even though the temperatures hovered near 40 degrees Celcius.
“I had to be airlifted (from Canada) because I was so sick,” Scarrow said. “I couldn’t go commercially. I couldn’t sit up long enough, I was so weak.”
The surgeries on their own cost $6,000. But Scarrow said the difference was like night and day, noting that her jaw pain went from a “10 to about a one.”
“I went literally from the way I had been all year, worsening, worsening, worsening, to up and about, couldn’t sit still, shopping, eating huge burgers, doing everything normally again,” Scarrow said. “I was living like a normal human being right back down to this.”
“They were so impressed with me, they asked me to sign a release for using the video and the pictures that they took from the surgery for educational and publicity reasons,” Scarrow said. “The surgeon has done well over 100 of these surgeries and has never seen any quite like mine. So I was kind of a star, there.”
She said the surgery was done on a Tuesday night and the next day, her sinuses started to drain “like crazy.”
By Thursday of that week she was able to use a walker to get around and by the Friday, Scarrow was able to sit up in a car.
“I didn’t feel that death feeling anymore, you know?” Scarrow said. “I thought, ‘OK, I’m getting my life back, I’m healing.’”
But when she arrived home, Scarrow’s jaw and neck area started to swell.
“I was feeling more and more pain, and they put me on high dose penicillin,” Scarrow said. “They started to blame it on the surgery, and that I picked up (an infection) in Mexico.”
The symptoms that never returned from the surgery is that the poking bone pains are completely gone and the hyoid/voicebox cartiledge bones in her throat no longer painfully shift out of position, Scarrow pointed out.
Doctors also found during surgery that the right styloid was fused to the hyoid bone that is below the chin, she added.
“So it was shifting those bones out of proper position. All that part is normal again. And the poking in the back of my palate inside my throat it gone, too,” Scarrow said.
Even with this positive developments, by the end of June, Scarrow’s health started to deteriorate.
“I had such a stiff, painful neck, like menengitis, the worst painful headaches you could ever imagine, eye pain, feeling like it was hard to breathe again,” Scarrow said.
“I was like, ‘What’s going on with me?’ You have no idea how much I want to get back to life. I started getting the taste again and I thought I was cured.”