HP- Chiari Malformation, Part Two - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

HP- Chiari Malformation, Part Two

You'd think a brain disorder would limit your options.

But for one eastern Iowa mother, the diagnosis inspired her to shoot for even higher goals.

In Health Plus, Tara Thomas shares the Nashua woman's story of personal achievement.

Four years ago, Alyssa Becthold was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation.

The rare brain disorder pushes the base of her brain into her spine, causing a variety of symptoms.

After the birth of her third child in March, her condition worsened and she opted for brain surgery.

"I've got this brand new baby and I've got this demanding career and I'm a mom and all these expectations of that, yet I'm not functioning as I am and I'm not as healthy as I want to be for my family so it was the right time," she said.

A neurosurgeon at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo was able to do the procedure that helped.

 "It's always a pleasure to have a patient who has a good outcome, that's what we all want to avoid the complications and have a good outcome," said Dr. Tim Ryken with the Iowa Spine & Brain Institute.

Now a mom of 3 and brain surgery survivor, Alyssa took on another challenge.

A co-worker encouraged her to take part in an on-line fitness competition through a site called Mamavation.

"Going from having a baby right into neurosurgery, there was this opportunity through Mamavation to do this fitness challenge and social media experiment. I thought what do I have to lose."

She lost 18 pounds and 10 percent of her body weight blogging and Twittering her way to the finish line.

Supporters nationwide selected the Nashua mom as a finalist and eventual winner.

"Famous fitness coaches have become my advocates and I can ask them questions. Having Chiari and exercising has been a little bit interesting but it worked."

And she got a lot of cool fitness stuff and products worth thousands for free!

In Waterloo, Tara Thomas, Iowa's News Channel Seven

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