A California martial arts instructor had to have half of her skull removed after an uncontrolled sinus infection spread throughout her brain. She co-described her skull disaster in a harrowing video over 7 million views on TikTok.
“Surgeons told me I would have been dead within a week if I hadn’t gone to the hospital,” Natasha Gunther, 25, told News Dog Media of the harrowing ordeal.
A before-and-after video, titled “Sometimes you can only laugh, right?” shows the long-haired karate enthusiast sitting in a car before the surgery. It is then cut to a post-op image of the girl, in which she bears a pronounced dent in her head where surgeons had to extract part of her skull.
The fiasco began in late 2021 after the judo black belt called the doctor after experiencing an unusual spike in sinus infections over the past year.
“I’ve had about five or six of these,” explains Gunther, who typically only had congestion symptoms once a year. She specifically suffered from sinusitis, a nasal condition that occurs when “irritation occurs in your sinuses, which are the lining around the air spaces between bones that surround your nose.” according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Unfortunately, neither she nor the doctor thought it was serious at the time, and they prescribed her a course of antibiotics – the standard treatment for the condition.
“As most people who get a sinus infection know, think nothing of it, and neither does my GP,” Gunther said of the seemingly harmless blockage. “I teach martial arts to kids, so I’m used to colds.”
However, Gunther’s parents eventually forced their daughter to have a CT scan after she started “vomiting a lot and having terrible migraines.”
A subsequent craniotomy — in which doctors remove part of the skull to examine the brain — revealed a massive cluster of strep and staph infections that had shifted her brain almost half an inch to the right.
Later that month, to relieve the pressure, doctors performed a more serious craniectomy, during which they removed about half of Gunther’s skull.
“All in all, they removed 12 to 14 cm of my skull and put it in a freezer,” Gunther said. “I stayed in the hospital for another five weeks and also had another sinus surgery.”
The unfortunate judoka, who now has to wear a helmet to protect her unprotected brain, hopes the skull fragment will be reinserted by April. If that fails, doctors have to 3D print a copy of the component and use that in its place.
Needless to say, the medical ordeal has made life difficult for Gunther.
“My life is very different than it used to be,” the taekwondo practitioner lamented. “I used to have a busy life teaching martial arts and hanging out with friends every day – like anyone in their 20s.”
But “I had trouble speaking when I came out of surgery, so I’ve had speech therapy regularly ever since.”
The martial artist says she could not have made the journey without the support of her family, particularly her boyfriend Joao, who is also a martial arts instructor.
Gunther recently uploaded a video of her hugging her faithful beau with the caption, “My rock in this part of life.”
She says Joao “has done a lot of psychotherapy so I can get my energy back into my body.” However, the girl maintains that certain martial arts moves, like grappling, “will be too risky for me to ever do again.”
“But I stay positive and try to have a sense of humor about everything,” said Gunther, who is currently trying to raise awareness of how sinus infections that seem harmless can get out of control.
“If you have more than one sinus infection a year, or even just a Sinus infection, please go to the hospital or hospital [ear, nose and throat doctor] Just to make sure,” she said. “Please do not rely on your GP as it could be serious.”
Gunther added: “I don’t want anyone to go through what I did. I’ve got half a head now and you can avoid that!”
While sinusitis usually resolves on its own or with the help of antibiotics, dangerous complications can arise when it reaches the eyes or brain.
“In rare cases, sinus infections in the center back of the head can spread to the brain,” the Cleveland Clinic reported. “This can lead to life-threatening conditions such as meningitis or brain abscess.”
https://nypost.com/2022/03/29/martial-arts-teacher-loses-half-her-skull-due-to-sinus-infection/ Martial Arts Instructor Loses Half Her Skull From Sinus Infection