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Fort Myers mother shares story of rare health condition

Posted at 11:00 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 23:00:14-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s a medical condition that affects only a few thousand Americans- most of them, not even knowing its name.

It’s called the ‘Nutcracker Syndrome’ and one Fort Myers mother is opening up about her journey through the condition, as she seeks treatment. The condition is so rare, that only one doctor in the U.S. is performing a revolutionary procedure. This Fort Myers mother is sharing her story so that others who might be experiencing the same symptoms have an answer.

For most people, taking the dog on a walk is a leisurely everyday activity. But for Melissa Malone, it’s a struggle.

“I couldn’t function," says Malone. "I couldn’t go to evening sporting events, I couldn’t cook dinner, I was relying on my kids to do things that, as a mom, you would normally do.”

After giving birth to her second son, she noticed a pain in her abdomen she hadn’t felt before. The excruciating pain lead the Malone’s in search of the best doctors they could find- driving six hours, each way, to the mayo clinic on numerous occasions. Only to be told the same answer by a different specialist.

“Everything looks good- you’re healthy; you’re a healthy, normal person," said Malone. "But I knew a normal, healthy person doesn’t have to lie down everyday at three o’clock and feels like your body just shuts down. That’s how it would feel. It felt like my body just couldn’t function.”

So Malone decided to do some research of her own. That’s when she came across a group on Facebook, with some 3,000 women all experiencing the same symptoms as her.

“These women were all sharing their experiences and they were sharing the same things that I was going through," says Malone. "They were sharing how doctors were dismissing this, how they were dismissing our symptoms, and they were also sharing their successes.”

Successes, such as one about a urologist in Texas performing a new type of procedure on a condition called the ‘Nutcracker Syndrome.’ It’s described as a rare vein compression disorder that occurs when arteries squeeze the left renal kidney vein. But signing up for treatment isn’t easy as he only accepts certain patients. So after taking a number of tests as a precursor, Malone was finally able to apply for the surgery.

“I had to send him images, he wanted to make sure that I would be a good candidate and that he would be able to fix this issue," said Malone. "I found out last week that he was accepting me as a patient and the surgery is scheduled in Dallas, Texas.”

Malone will be the 17th person in the country to have the procedure performed. While it may sound daunting, she says she’s ready to get back to being a mom.

“I believe that it’s the least invasive cure to this problem," she says. "There are risks inherent with every surgery, but I’m willing to take that risk to really get my life back.”

Melissa says she will be having that surgery performed next month. She says her husband and two sons- as well as her mom- will be traveling along with her for support.