Woman’s Five-Year Runny Nose Was Her Own Brain Fluid

The 52-year-old Nebraska woman spent five years dealing with what she thought were chronic allergies.

The truth, however, was a little more disturbing.

Kendra Jackson was leaking half a pint of cerebrospinal fluid–the liquid in which your brain is floating right now–every day for five years. Doctors told her that it was merely a chronic allergy problem, despite warning signs like the constant salty taste in the back of her throat. Despite near-suicidal desperation, Jackson pushed through the constant headaches and endlessly runny nose.

Jackson suffered difficulties working, eating, playing with her grandchildren, and even lost her sense of smell.

“My body was changing, my lifestyle was changing. I couldn’t sleep, I can’t smell and I had to carry a box of tissues with me everywhere,” she said.

Jackson had enough. She said: “I woke up and I was so miserable, and I thought “I’m going back to where I was born, to a learning hospital and if they can’t figure out what it is, no one can.”

It seems she was right to do so, because it was not until Nebraska Medicine’s Dr. Christine Barnes finally decided to test the fluid itself that the leak was finally discovered. It was corrected with a relatively minor surgical procedure on April 23.

Now Jackson “feel[s] great,” and is focused on “trying to get back on a regular schedule.”