Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Leah Shapiro to Get Brain Surgery

Drummer for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Leah Shapiro has shared the news that she will have surgery to treat Chiari Malformations in her brain. The “structural defects” made it virtually impossible for her to play the drums it has altered her balance, sense of coordination, and caused symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and tingling/numbness in her hands.

The band has since canceled all tour dates for now. Shapiro expressed sadness over missing the upcoming dates, Shapiro, however, has remained optimistic about her recovery. In a personal message posted on the band’s Facebook page earlier, she wrote:

I wanted to share something very personal with you in the hopes that my experience can help others.
A few weeks ago, I started experiencing some unusual symptoms, including dizziness, insomnia, headaches, tingling/numbness in my hands, stiff neck & pain. Even for a drummer, these symptoms were unusual for me so I went to the doctor to get it checked out.

After having some pretty exotic tests, they have diagnosed me with something called Chiari Malformations, or CMs for short. Essentially, CM’s are structural defects in part of the brain and skull which control balance and other functions, such as the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which is the liquid that surrounds and cushions the brain & spinal cord.

CM has different causes. Some are caused by structural defects in the brain & spinal cord that occur during pregnancy. It can also occur later in life through a number of different causes. But however it happened, I’ve got it and as bad as it is, I’m grateful that they caught it now so that I can have it addressed before things get worse.

The good news is that there’s a surgical solution for it that is usually effective. The bad news is that when Rob, Pete & I tried to rehearse this week for the Moon Block Festival on Saturday, I realized that the effects of this illness has made it impossible for me to play drums. I just can’t do the music any justice right now. And so, it is with deep regret that we’re going to have to pull out of the show on Saturday. The festival site at will have information on the show. I still urge you to attend the show, as there are a lot of great bands playing there.

As you can imagine, I’m hardly looking forward to having my skull cracked open and my brain operated on, but it’s the only thing that’s going to help me get better. And while the thought of not being able to play drums for several months while I recover from the surgery totally sucks, I’m determined to make a full recovery and get back to playing music with Rob & Pete as soon as I can.

If you want to learn more about the disease I have, there are several good sites on the internet that provide information, including this one:
Thanks in advance for your positive thoughts and for your understanding.


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