Out on a Limb – Desperate Times call for Desperate Measures Grace Gawler Appeals

The Eagles Syndrome Appeal: Gawler Family Member

It is a tragedy when a family member is ill  and requires treatment that cannot sourced locally and needs substantial funds to pay for it overseas. I see this situation often in my practice and understand the difficulties faced by  many of my patients; even more so since my own 21 surgical procedures – a personal journey I began in 1997.  In 2002 my survival necessitated seeking an overseas solution if I wanted a life. My illness (the result of a complication following routine surgery) devastated my already compromised finances and I found myself in my fifties relaunching my career and owning nothing!  Now that my son needs help; I cannot afford his surgery, so I decided that the most creative way of raising funds was through my ‘self-published’ book sales – a win-win for everyone. My son requires life-saving surgery in Los Angeles – delaying his treatment could severely compromise his life – the longer his medical situation is left unattended, the more challenging his surgery will be.    

To support  this cause – Please visit the Resources/Bookstore page at :
We are trying to raise $60,000 through book sales
Please send this blog link to friends in your address book….. Together – I sure we can make this happen!

Apologies to regular blog subscribers for my lack of correspondence during the past few months; a personal and imperative family issue has been occupying much of my time – hence the subject of this blog.  Trying to raise funds whilst respecting my son’s privacy has not been easy & we have tried many obvious avenues including many requests to his father – all without success. So – as time is ticking by for this beautiful young man  –  as the heading implies, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Some Background: D lives with me and has done so for 29 out of his 31 years –  he entered this world at Yarra Junction, Victoria on a stormy August night in 1980 into a life that held severe health challenges.  He remains my greatest teacher. Although D is no stranger to pain, watching his deterioration as he bravely manages the affects of Eagles Syndrome is a distressing daily event and so ironic, given my vocation is helping others.  I continue to support in every other way I can. Surgery has a high chance of success, but the longer the condition is left – the greater the risks. D needs some action soon.

As a child, Specialists said D would never be able to hear. As with Ian Gawler, whom I married when he had a 2 week prognosis; harnessing the same tenacity, I doggedly pursued healing options for D utilising the best of complementary and mainstream medicine. D can now hear without aid and he has achieved many amazing things. I am very proud of him.
Following my own recovery, I had been hoping to take a ‘breather’ from health related dramas – but it seems the universe has other ideas! About a year ago D began to be investigated for a stiff neck and jaw clicking.

Xray of Eagles Syndrome - note 2 long bony styloid processes (pointing towards spine)

The outcome – he was diagnosed with Eagles syndrome – a rare condition involving calcification, thickening and lengthening of the styloid process (a pointed piece of bone that extends down from the human skull, just below the ear.) See Xray left. As you can imagine these extended bones create havoc.

A normal styloid process length is approximately 2–3 cm and serves as an anchor point for several muscles associated with the tongue and larynx and other facial structures. Eagles Syndrome is diagnosed if the overall Styloid length in excess of 3 cm. In D’s case both styloid processes are grossly elongated … 6.5 cm and 5 cm! This excessive length has caused havoc with jaw and facial nerves and shoulder spasm; but not only is it painful, the growing styloid processes have already caused severe compression of both jugular veins.

Without surgery, D’s carotid arteries could be damaged/dissected – or he could suffer a stroke or even death. The longer the condition is left without intervention crucial nerves and vascular structures will be even more affected by the growth. Eagles Syndrome is very painful and also affects the nerves to the heart-another related complication because D was also born with a severe heart murmur  – heart valve defect (bicuspid valve).

Having exhausted specialist opinions in Australia including the famous Dr Charlie Teo (who was tremedously helpful with no charge for his opinion); as I had done with own condition; I began to regularly scan the medical journals into the wee small hours of the morning, month after month searching for an expert surgeon. Various opinions interstate, in Singapore, Germany and the USA took time and led nowhere until a couple of months ago when I discovered Cedars-Sinai department of trauma and neurovascular surgery in Los Angeles, USA.

 The International liaison nursing staff at Cedars-Sinai hospital have been amazing. They searched for a resident specialist vascular surgeon who could perform this delicate surgery. Unbelievably – he had operated on two patients with Eagles Syndrome last year. Once removed the styloid processes do not elongate (grow) again.

 By purchasing a soft cover book or eBook you will be making a contribution to D’s essential surgical procedure.
For more information email me at : institute@gracegawler.com

If you can help us meet the needed $ target for D by purchasing one of my books – Please visit the Resources/Bookstore page at :

Please lend a helping hand & email this gracegawlermedia blog link to friends in your address book. Thank You!

Together – I am sure we can make this happen!