Hi there Kate! My name is Linda and I do not get to the site very often because I do not have internet in my apartment so I go to a public location and the pandemic is limiting that as well.
As for how you present with Chiari do not look for a set specific list of symptoms. Chiari crowds the part of the brain that houses the sensory system and the symptoms therefore vary tremendously and can change out even depending on your health, activity level, and what you ingest.
Internists are more apt to understand a more complicated health history, but if you have a great doctor already that is wonderful.
My surgery came when I was 51 years of age and I wish I had been diagnosed sooner as the longer the brain is compromised the more damage there is apt to be. Having Chiari does not leave your life, period. It is there to stay and surgery is an option to manage it and give the brain the relief it needs.
The surgery is no picnic for sure and people hit the panic button when they hear ‘brain surgery’. We need to take care of the brain like any other part of the body. People go in for heart, cancer, bowel, back, and knee and hip replacements surgeries as if they are going in for a tune-up and will get great improvement. It is the same with Chiari Decompression surgery.
Don’t look for a perfect world. Look to manage and take care of what you have in the moment. This site is wonderful and there is a great mix of people hear and in all you can find good things!
Best wishes in your schooling and all of life!