If this doesn't prove that you should always self-diagnose yourself with the worst symptom-matching WebMD diagnosis possible, nothing will. After four months of leaking a grotesque amount of liquid from her nose, which several doctors initially blamed on severe allergies, Aundrea Aragon went to the emergency room where, after testing the fluid, she was diagnosed with a cerebrospinal fluid leak AKA her brain juices were leaking all over her face.
"It wasn't even dripping, it was pouring out of my nose," said Aragon, a 35-year-old mother from Tucson, Ariz. "If I looked down or bent over, it would literally pore out of the left side of my nose. I had no control at all."
If left untreated, the rare disease (only 1 in 100,000 get it) can be deadly because of the risk of infection. As a doctor told ABC: "You are constantly making brain fluid. It can be fatal when there is a connection between the cleanest part of the body, the brain, and the dirtiest part, the nose."
Unrelated but still noteworthy: Did anyone else not know that the nose is the dirtiest part of the body?
Aragon, who is the mother of three young children, didn't question her doctors diagnosis of allergies at first but after weeks of walking around with paper towels stuffed up her nose, she grew concerned enough to go to a nearby urgent care center. There, both the nurse and doctor were shocked at her condition. "You should have seen [the doctor's] face, when he tried to be expressionless," she told ABC.
When the nurse asked her to fill a tube for a sample, a calm Aragon told her, "I can fill that tube up 20 times over." Ugh.
Once the diagnosis of leaky brain syndrome was confirmed, Aragon was sent to the University of Arizona for surgery. The process is usually barbaric ("We [would] retract the brain and pull in backward, taking out the frontal lobes and lift them out of the way and patch up the belly of the brain," said one of her doctors about the old procedure), but the University of Arizona has it down to a simple science. "Now, we go right through the nose — like going under the car to fix the carburetor," her doctor said. Yep, totally just like fixing a car.
Aragon is now doing fine, with a totally leakless brain. But she's not completely in the clear. According to her doctor: "She's not leaking anymore, but we have to make sure she doesn't spring a new leak," which is reassuring.
[Photo via the University of Arizona College of Medicine]