Gilbert woman finds life-changing surgery in Tucson

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A Gilbert woman is recovering in Tucson after a surgery she desperately needed.

Carissa Galvez, 20, had an experimental shunt, or valve, implanted five years ago to help relieve spinal fluid from a rare disorder. The shunt helped the fluid drain into her stomach.
In late September, the shunt failed and caused Galvez a nonstop pounding headache.

Her mother, Daniella Galvez, said no doctors in the Phoenix area would operate due to hospital red tape, and apprehension over the "experimental" nature of the device. Carissa's original doctor has retired.

Carissa spent weeks in pain so severe it left her bed-ridden and immobilized. She covered her eyes at all times and used ice packs to try to dull it.

A team at the University of Arizona Medical Center operated Saturday.

"I'm a million times better than I was," Carissa said Monday afternoon. "I'm so happy I got relief.  I felt like no one wanted to help."

After weeks in hospitals, the Galvez family is looking forward to returning home.

Carissa has back pain from the surgery but is otherwise pain-free. She should make a full recovery.