Mt. Iron woman faces rare condition with grace, gratitude for her support system

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Denise Mikkola is enjoying some sight-seeing in Seattle. But the Mt. Iron woman isn’t there to be a tourist. She’s going to be a patient, having surgery to help her Chiari malformation.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Chiari malformation is a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal.

She started experiencing headaches and other symptoms.

Once she got her diagnosis, she found a neurosurgeon to help. Her surgery is Thursday in Seattle.

“It will probably fix what’s happening now. But it isn’t a cure. There is no cure for this. And research is really limited. Because it’s such a weird, rare thing,” she said.

Still, she feels supported by her friends and family and others.

Mikkola hasn’t been working for several months due to her condition. She is a mental health practitioner. Her friend set up a GoFundMe to help with expenses.