Victim Of Internal Decapitation Continues Road To Recovery

Shannon Malloy Gets Surgery To Fix Crossed Eyes

Shannon Malloy has had a tough year.

In January, an auto accident resulted in Malloy's skull becoming dislocated from her spine. The medical term is "internal decapitation." In other words, the two were held together with just tissue and muscles.

When 7NEWS first aired the story, doctors told us a patient's odds of survival are typically slim.

"I've seen it once before and, unfortunately, the patient didn't make it," said Dr. Gary Ghiselli.

But Malloy has managed to pull through. Doctors were able to fuse her skull and neck together using a halo. Once that was removed, though, there were other problems.

The impact of the crash damaged nerves that controlled her eye position. Her eyes were crossed.

"I just see so wacky. I can't even ... it's hard to know," said Malloy.

Dr. Robert King, of Children's Eye Physicians checked the situation out. After careful analysis, King told Malloy nerves from her brain to her eye muscles were severed or damaged in the accident.

He offered her hope with a caveat.

He told Malloy he can treat the problem with botox but it won't be a quick fix.

7NEWS Anchor Mike Landess asked King if this was a slam dunk surgery or a one shot deal.

"No, it's not. This will be a project," said King.

The news was bittersweet for Malloy. If doctors could fix her eyes that would be great. But this year she has gone under the knife six times, and surgery takes its toll.

Landess then asked Malloy what she was hoping to get from the surgery.

"I am hoping the doctors are willing to perform surgery for me," said Malloy. "I basically see to the right with my left eye. I see to the left with my right eye and everything is superimposed on top of each other."

Shortly after, King returns to give Malloy the good news. He tells her he will take on her case.

In the operating room, doctors detach muscles from the eye and move them to another spot. Doctors then use botox to relax other problem muscles that pull against one another causing the eyes to turn in.

The results are a mixed bag.

"When I woke up from the surgery they were straight. Then three days later they were both completely outward. So it was totally opposite of what they were before. It was scary. I couldn't walk by myself," said Malloy.

It's a setback but Malloy said she won't let it get her down. She still has one stubborn eye that remains a problem. For now, she wears a patch on it until another surgery corrects it.

"I still have depth and perception problems and I'll still point to something over there when it's really right there," said Malloy.

Malloy has come a very long way but still has a long way to go.

When her eyes are corrected she has one simple thing on her "to do" list.

"You know what the first thing I want do when I get my eyes fixed? Read the new Harry Potter book," said Malloy. "I've tried reading it but it's just too hard."

After all, it's just another challenge in a seamless year of challenges, and Malloy continues to take those challenges on with an amazing spirit.

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