A photo of podcast guest Cianna, who discusses hip dysplasia, chiari malformation, craniocervical instability and hEDS

Cianna has been a dancer her whole life, saying “as soon as I could walk I was dancing.” Over the past few years chronic illness has altered her life’s course, and frustratingly taken her away from dance. While it has been difficult to leave her life’s passion behind, Cianna has learned to cultivate gratitude for the things she is still able to do, while redirecting her path in new directions.

Cianna’s health journey began at 15 years old when she underwent multiple surgeries for hip dysplasia. A few years later she discovered she has a type 1 Chiari malformation in her brain, which would eventually require decompression surgery in which doctors removed a piece of her skull. She has also had to fuse her skull to her C3 vertebrae to combat craniocervical instability, and been diagnosed with the connective tissue disease hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

In this episode of the Major Pain podcast, Cianna talks us through her health journey while teaching us about her rare conditions. She discusses the complexity of having to leave dance behind, and the deep frustrations of seeking help from doctors who wouldn’t believe her symptoms were real. However, she also acknowledges that good things have come from her challenges, including an enhanced sense of gratitude and newfound passion for helping others in similar situations.

Connect with Cianna on Instagram @CiannasJourney

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