Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Hate When They Say, "It's going to get worse before it gets better."

October has been a crazy ride! After weekly appointments of seeing a physical therapist, a chiropractor, an acupuncturist and a massage therapist, I can say without a doubt that my quality of life has taken a bit of a nosedive. The last couple of weeks have been a real challenge. My balance has been tested to it's limits and once again I am having to be ever aware of my surroundings so I don't knock things over. I have become more sensitive to light and certain noises so now I am back to desensitizing my brain to all this stimuli. I was able to do well on the standard 8 hours of sleep a night but now I am needing on average 10-12 hours (including naps). Yup things have gotten worse. Was it worth it? I will let you know the end of November. I am hoping that by shaking up my system I can reach a higher level of wellness than what I had the beginning of October. It's a long and arduous process that includes so much trial and error. So here I am - back to those baby steps!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Learning Curve Continues

Two and a half weeks ago, after much coaxing, I decided to get some second opinions. I am now seeing a physical therapist, a chiropractor, an acupuncturist and a massage therapist. I have learned more about living with Meniere's from these four women in less than a month than I have from my doctors in the last couple of years.

At my last appointment, my physical therapist helped me put things in perspective with where I am in relation to living with Meniere's. She noted that from a clinical stand point I am doing excellent because I am not having vertigo, but as for my quality of life, I am no where near optimal. What I consider a good day isn't what she considers a good day.From her perspective I am basically just living at a minimally functional level. This means I can get through most days but if I don't pay attention to what my body is telling me I end up spending hours or days recovering from exhaustion.

Once again perspective is playing a huge part in managing this chronic condition. I figured that as long as I wasn't having vertigo and I could do my usual daily tasks, then all was good. I didn't take into account that on most days I still have to lay down a couple times a day for at least 1-2 hours to rest.  I think I have just set the bar low and maybe now is the time to re-evaluate and raise the bar a bit higher and so the journey continues.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Learning Curves

It has been one year today since I was diagnosed with Meniere's.So....what have I learned about living with a chronic dysfunctional vestibular system.

 1)  It is okay to ask for help.
 2)  Set clear boundaries with people.
 3)  Do not over schedule.
 4)  Do not invest time in toxic relationships.
 5)  Have low expectations of others.
 6)  Be realistic with expectations of myself.
 7)  Cherish the friends that enrich my life.
 8)  Don't take things personally.
 9)  Be honest with family and friends.
10) Live life.

The end result of all of these changes - a much happier me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Posts

I will be posting new blogs every other Saturday starting October 1. It's been a great summer! I have only had to deal with minor Meniere's symptoms for the most part. Making sure I eat well, exercise and get enough rest seems to be the biggest part of staying on track these days. I have developed a love/hate relationship with this chronic condition. On one hand I despise every bad day it has given me, while on the other hand I say thank you for making me wake up and live my life.

Enjoy the last few days of summer.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gone for the summer - check back in September :-)

This summer is turning out to be busier than originally planned. So I have decided to take a break til September. I have been doing quite well for the most part experiencing only minor or short term symptoms. With that said, I want to take advantage of every minute I can while I am feeling well. Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement and for all the support you have given me on this journey.

Cheers!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Value of Solitude

The whole value of solitude depends upon one's self; it may be a sanctuary or a prison, a haven of repose or a place of punishment, a heaven or a hell, as we ourselves make it


A couple of months ago, I started to look at what I could do to improve upon in my environment, to help make me feel better. Immediately I realized that I am a chronic clutter bug. Why was I keeping all this stuff called "so called memories"  around. I was to the point where I no longer owned my stuff, it owned me. As I slowly started to purge my environment of unneeded and unwanted memorabilia,  I started to feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders. The more I got rid of, the easier it became to part with even more. My need to create a space where I felt at peace was getting stronger. Creating a space where I could have some order in my life was slowly starting to take shape. What a difference it has made for me. Having just one room that I can go to in my home has given me such a sense of calmness. It has been the best medicine. It has also inspired me to start working on the rest of the house.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Postings

Will be taking a break from my blog for the time being.

Hope you all have a great summer.....and for all the dizzy readers....hope you have a spin free couple of months to enjoy the warmer weather!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Let Me Off This Rollercoaster!

I'm not sure what was going on week before last.  I had been feeling pretty good for the most part. Then for five days I had one of my worst experiences with tinnitus. It knocked me off my feet. I found myself on such an emotional roller-coaster. I started falling into a deep hole and the more I tried to climb out the deeper I fell. I haven't had such a feeling of despair for a long time. I was enjoying getting my life back on track and loved the feeling of being able to come and go as I pleased once again. As the stretch of tinnitus went into day three and four I found my freedom starting to fade. All I could do was cry, it was as if I was mourning the loss of a good friend. That friend being my freedom. It was a reminder to me that this f**ked up inner ear experience still runs the show. As much as I try to keep it under control it still has the power to take over and cause me much unwanted chaos.

As of today I am feeling better and with each passing day I am getting stronger and getting back on track. I am happy to report that  I am regaining my freedom once again. With the help of my husband and my dizzy friends my attitude has shifted back to a more positive mode. I'm out of the funk that consumed my life during those five days. I can honestly say that I was terrified that I was starting to slide backwards. I am so relieved that this was not the case.

Life goes on and so do I.

Hope you all have a dizzy free weekend.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Holding My Breath

For the last eight weeks I have been feeling pretty good. Most days my Meniere's symptoms are minimal and manageable. In the past, when I would have a week long stretch of feeling this good, I always felt like cousin Oliver (my code name for the onset of vertigo symtoms) was hiding around the corner just waiting to catch me off guard. This time it is different for some reason. I have not had any dizziness or vertigo for the last two months. I still experience tinnitus, brain fog, some ear pressure and the occasional headache but nothing like a couple of months ago. Maybe my holistic approach to living with Meniere's is starting to pay off.

A few months ago I purchased a book called "Let's Get Better" by Meniere Man on Amazon.com. Not sure exactly who this Meniere Man is - but the book is a good read. He talks about his experience of being diagnosed with Meniere's in his mid forties. He focuses on diet, exercise and alternative treatments in managing his Meniere's. Of all the books I have read, this one has been the most down to earth and helpful.

His approach to living with a chronic condition like Meniere's makes the most sense to me. By making my body as healthy and as strong as possible I have more of a fighting chance to find a place where I can live with this chronic condition with the least amount of restrictions.. I am not big on taking meds to manage the Meniere's unless my doctor can give me a logical reason why I should take them. I am also not ready to have any invasive procedures done at this point either ~ the success rates are not high enough for me to risk a poor outcome.. Fortunately, the ENT I have now takes a conservative approach to helping me manage my Meniere's symptoms.

I am now focused more on stabilizing my symptoms rather than stressing about how to make them go away. Which I don't think will ever happen anyway. I have better days and worse days. Fortunately for now,  I have reached a point where I am able to coexist with my symptoms and lead a fairly functional life.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Power of Friendship

I can't even begin to imagine this journey without my dizzy friends. Yes, I have my husband and yes, he has been my rock and has stuck by me through thick and thin. However, having dizzy friends that are also living with an inner ear disorder too, are an integral part of being able to lead a productive and meaningful life. Just being able to share my feelings with friends who totally get my experience is worth more than all the money in the world. Having friends I can call anytime of the day to help me get through a rough patch is invaluable. Being able to just laugh about the absurdity of living with a dysfunctional vestibular system makes life more bearable. Having an actual authentic connection to another human being that shares my perspective with all of this chaos seems to help it all make sense. There is no way I could ever attach a price tag to friendships like these ~ they are priceless!

The support of my family and friends is important, but being able to have dizzy friends walking beside me on this journey makes the road a lot less lonely.

Here are two of my favorite business sites that are owned by a couple of my dizzy friends.Support works both ways. They are here for me and I am there for them.

Check them out :-)

http://www.etsy.com/shop/StellarDesignz

Browse the shop for simply elegant, contemporary designs for all occasions. Enjoy boutique-quality, signature pieces at affordable prices. Each jewelry creation is beautifully and personally crafted by hand using high quality materials. Pieces are uniquely one-of-a-kind or limited edition. Each order comes in a small box perfect for gift-giving. 



 http://www.barfboutique.com/

Our tin tie barf bags are waterproof, reusable, and sealable just like the ones found in airplanes but much, much prettier. We offer 115 original & iconic designs with a dash of humor and panache. These nifty, multipurpose bags make great gag gifts, party bags, goody bags, doggy bags, mini diaper bags, overnight toiletry bags, mini trash bags, and anything else you can dream up. The possibilities are endless!


Hope you all have a great dizzy-free weekend! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

For Better Or For Worse, In Sickness And In Health

My first couple of months living with Meniere's were seriously a living hell. I had days where I could see nothing but darkness. I thought I was doomed to a life of constant misery. It was during those dark days that I started to realize just how fortunate I was to be blessed with a caring and compassionate husband.

My husband has been my rock throughout this journey. I never realized one could love another human being so deeply. He has stepped up to the plate so many times to help me through each vertigo attack. Doing all those unpleasant tasks that go along with an episode of vertigo (which I know I need not explain in detail). He has held me to comfort me when the room was spinning so fast that I felt like I was losing control. His words of encouragement to help me get back on my feet and start living my life again are to this day never-ending..What did I do to deserve this human being? Where would I be without him? When he said to me, "For better or for worse, in sickness and in health." he truly meant it. I never realized at the time just how much those words would mean to me now. I have fallen in love with my husband all over again and can't imagine sharing my life with anyone else.

I have much to be grateful for and this I now know to be true.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I'll Take "Baby Steps" For Five Hundred Dollars Alex

A willingness to show  perseverance and diligence in order to accomplish a task. "What is patience? Alex".

Yes the biggest lesson I have learned from having an inner ear disorder is to be patient. A word that was never been a welcome part of my vocabulary. I have always been the type of person who likes a world filled with instant gratification. After seven months of living with this disorder I can honestly say that instant gratification is no longer a part of my life. Meniere's has been like an annoying little brother constantly making me slow down and be patient. I used to get frustrated when I could not master something after a couple of tries but now I am quite content with taking baby steps to reach my goals.

A few months ago my goal was to be more active. My ability to stay upright without being dizzy was not good. Initially I started off with a twenty minute a day walk with my dog. Some days were easier than others and a few days I could not go at all because my balance was so unsteady. I persevered though and after a couple of weeks I was able to add a few trips to the gym for a cardio workout. Gradually every couple of weeks I increased the intensity of each workout and added in a couple of Zumba classes. Throw in a three mile walk every couple of weeks with my husband and that's where I am today. I still have to make sure I rest for a couple of hours after doing any kind of strenuous physical activity. With that said I am feeling much stronger these days. As an added bonus my symptoms have become more manageable.  They are never gone but they have reached the point where I have stretches when I don't even notice them.

Seven months ago this amount of physical activity would have been out of the question for me. I wasn't able to walk from the  living-room to the kitchen without the aide of walls and door jams. Had I not developed some patience during this time I  know I would not be where I am now. Learning to be patient and to take baby steps has been a valuable lesson. One that will serve me well on this journey to wellness.


Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states.  ~Carol Welch

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Ah-ha Moment

The diagnosis of Meniere's has been a mixed blessing. There have been both good and bad changes in my life. The bad is pretty obvious for anyone dealing with an inner ear disorder.. The constant fluctuations in my symptoms make it difficult to make any short or long term plans. Fortunately for me my friends are very accommodating and will go out of their way to always make me feel welcome. As for the good side, having Meniere's has been the catalyst that has forced me into creating healthy boundaries. Which is something I have always had difficulties doing.

 I have always put everyone else's needs before my own. I was brought up in a family that did not tolerate selfishness. Living with Meniere's has made me realize that not only do I need to be a little selfish about my needs, it is critical that I put my well being at the top of my "to do" list if I am to be of any service to others.
By setting boundaries I have discovered a new sort of freedom that I have never before experienced. I am more honest about my intentions. I focus my energy on the people that enrich my life and take a step back from those who drain it. Wish I would have learned this lesson much sooner in my life.

When we know better, we do better ~ Maya Angelou

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mahalo :-)

Last summer my husband and I spent a week on the Big Island. It was 3 months after my first and only ambulance trip to the ER for my first public vertigo attack. Needless to say I was mortified to have so many people witness this not so lovely event. However, the attending paramedic was mighty good looking and that made the experience a little more palatable. Anyway back to the Hawaii story.

The main reason I want to share this story is to express my initial fear about going to Hawaii. I knew that the mixture of heat and humidity would not be a good environment for me and that I was taking a big risk. Our first three days in  Hawaii were filled with sightseeing and meeting the locals. Any concerns I had about the climate quickly faded. I was feeling great! Then on day four we decided to drive around the whole island, starting from our hotel in Hilo. All was going well....we went to Volcano National Park.....drove down to the southernmost  tip of the island......made it to Kona where we stopped for dinner.....then we headed  back to Hilo......by then it was getting dark. My husband and I were both exhausted , we were pretty much ready to strangle each other and we finally ended up not talking to each other. So as we are heading east on the north end of the island heading back to our hotel  it starts! Yup BAM! The vertigo monster found me.  The minute I said, "Oh no" my husband knew what was going on. He pulled the car into a parking lot and helped me to the backseat where I could lay down. He drove the remaining hour and a half back to Hilo with me spinning in the backseat and moaning " How much longer?". Once we got back to the hotel he helped me back to our room where I was able to sleep the worst of it off. The next day was a little rough but I was still able to get out to do more sightseeing. As the day progressed I quickly forgot about the vertigo attack and was back on track and enjoying the last few days we had left.

Our last night in Hilo we decided not to turn on the air conditioner because there was a lovely tropical breeze coming through the window. Big mistake! The morning of our departure arrives and we have to leave for the airport by 9am. I get up at 6:45am to get ready and just as I sit down for breakfast the room starts spinning BIG TIME! I crawl back into bed and shake my husband to wake him and let him know the vertigo is back. It is 7:30am. The clock is ticking, we have 90 minutes before we have to leave for the airport. Hoping this is just a minor setback I just lay still and hope the vertigo will pass.One hour later I am getting worse. The room is spinning out of control. We contemplated calling the airline to see if they could get us out on a later flight. It was at that point that I just decided I wanted to go home. Even if it meant having to use a wheelchair. Which is exactly what happened. I could now experience a vertigo attack in public for the second time. I will never forget the friendly and helpful porter at the Hilo airport that helped me and my husband. After we were all checked in and ready to go through security the porter says "Goodbye and good luck", then he knelt down beside the wheelchair and says to me, "Don't worry ma'am, plenty of people have left Hilo sick and in a wheelchair." Hmmmm not sure if he knew how that sounded or not. Anyway I had to use a wheelchair and airport assistance to go from Hilo to Honolulu and then on to Seattle. Now the good news is that by the time we got back to Seattle I was able to walk off the plane and felt like a million bucks! Go figure.

What I am trying to say is that even after experiencing some of the worst vertigo ever, I can honestly say I still have no regrets.For if I had not tried, I would have missed out on some amazing experiences.  My fondest memory will always be our journey to the top of Mauna Kea to see the sunset and to do some serious stargazing. I have never seen so many stars in the sky. Just thinking of that night still leaves me breathless.We had other adventures but this one will always be at the top of  my "favorites list" for Hawaii.. Looking back I now realize that if I had let my fears hold me back from going I would missed out on so much!

My advice to you all is that even if you are fearful, take that step. At least you tried! Mahalo :-)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Next Stop - Stupidsville

As time goes by I find myself enjoying longer stretches of feeling pretty good. The longer I feel pretty good the more confident I become. The more confident I become the more likely I am to jump on the train to Stupidsville! This usually happens when I start to convince myself that maybe, just maybe the doctor misdiagnosed me and I really don't have Meniere's. Maybe it was just a lengthy virus and now it has disappeared. Yes that's what it was - a misdiagnoses and a virus  - and now I am cured! Hallelujah!    


So forget about the low sodium diet, screw the routine, so what if I miss the odd dose of that diuretic, sure I can do 60 minutes on the treadmill (half of that jogging), so what if I let myself get exhausted, who cares if I stay up til 2am. I'm back to normal and I can do whatever I want,  whenever I want and however I want, because I am cured! 


Within 48 hours of this reckless behavior I am well on my way to Stupidsville. The five pound lead ball is now rolling around in my head, my body has a magnetic pull to the right, all sounds are amplified 100x, the tinnitus is louder than a heavy metal rock band and the brain fog is so thick that no thought can land safely. Then I start making my deals with God. Yes it is amazing how religious one can become when you feel like  you are being continually hit over the head with a 2x4. Well in the end the only thing that helps is a good sleep and a return to my Meniere lifestyle. It can take up to a week for me to get back on track at which time I make a vow to myself to never stray from the path of wellness again. Even with that said, I still get the urge to buy that train ticket for one more trip to Stupidsville. 



Friday, April 29, 2011

A Beautiful Distraction

A royal wedding was just what the doctor ordered! Sometimes I need a day away from reality and today fit the bill. Being able to focus my attention on a fairytale wedding vs my Meniere symptoms is truly a blessing. Not having to think about all the challenges that go along with living day to day with a chronic condition is a gift. Tomorrow life goes on and I will continue to strive to make my body strong and healthy. I will be forever grateful to my family and friends that continue to support me and love me. Life is good.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Squiggly Eyes, Hyperacusis & What Smells

Identifying and avoiding triggers has become my full time job. I am in constant combat mode every time I leave the house. Being the control freak that I can be at times - I always want to know what to expect in any situation. Sometimes this is not possible.

Like going to a movie and not knowing who is going to be sitting next to me. I don't know why but it always seems to be the adult with the inability to put the smartphone away because their lives are so important they need to text during the middle of the movie or the kid that wears those stupid light up blinky shoes. Certain visual stimuli can trigger a vertigo attack which can put me into panic mode causing me to want to curl up into the fetal position just to avoid the light. Now I know why they put those blinders on horses. I wonder if they make those for people.

I have lost count of how many times I have had to switch tables after being seated in a restaurant. Too many kitchen sounds or sitting to close to the bar with all the klinking of glass sounds - OMG! Wonder what would happen if I just stuck my fingers in my ears and went - la la la la la la. On second thought maybe not - my husband would get up and walk out and pretend he didn't know me.

Is it just me or do people where more colognes and perfumes these days.I walked into our local coffee shop the other day and felt like I was being hit across the head with a two by four. Someone had so much perfume on that you could not even smell the coffee. Which by the way is one of the best smells in the world! So grateful coffee is not a trigger - thank you sweet baby Jesus!

Living with a dysfunctional vestibular system is a challenge.Over time I am learning different coping mechanisms and  things are getting easier. What a journey!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This Is What Works For Me

It has been just over 6 months since I was diagnosed with Meniere's. What a roller coaster ride it has been!


I started out with such a sense of hopelessness and despair. Feeling like my life was changed forever - for the worst. Having a vertigo attack every week for five weeks will do that to a person. Then I hooked up with an amazing support group. This group of individuals have given me more than I could ever imagine. Having people who you can relate to and vice versa is so important. My hopelessness and despair quickly changed to anger and determination. I will not let this be a life sentence. 


About two months ago I started to push myself more. My first goal was to get out for a minimum 20 minute walk each day. Even if I was feeling crummy. There have been a few days where the Meniere symtptoms were too bad, but once they had settled down I would pick up where I left off and get back on track. My second goal was to eat a healthier diet. I am to the point now where I feel so much better if I eat healthy. The few times I have slipped and eaten something that would not qualify as "good for me" those Meniere symptoms would start to rear their ugly head.. I am finding it easier and easier to stay on track, the longer I follow these two simple goals, because my level of wellbeing continues to increase with each passing week.


My newest goal in addition to the 20 minute walk and healthy eating is to go to the gym 2-3 times a week. Some days I can only work out for 15-20 minutes, while on good days 45 minutes. Today was a breakthrough though! I was able to walk up to a 7% incline and back down for 35 minutes and then do an interval walk/jog for 15 minutes and finish up with a 10 minute brisk level walk....at a speed of 2.8-3.0 mph for 2.9 miles. Damn it felt good!


I have decided to not have any invasive procedures done at this point. There is just not enough evidence to prove to me that they are helpful. In some cases I have read that it actually made things worse. I will continue to take a diuretic and follow a low sodium diet because I do believe this protocol has helped.


This journey is not a straight path and it is important to know which direction to take when you come to that fork in the road. I now focus more on what I can do as opposed to what I can not do. Bottom line is I feel so much better these days!

Monday, April 4, 2011

What Did You Say?

I'm not sure what is gong on with my hearing! When I am in a group or speaking with an individual I am finding myself misunderstanding what is being said. Just last week at my monthly book group meeting, one of my friends was telling us about how she has banned her husband from going to the local barbershop (which basically does only two styles of men's haircuts - neither of which are flattering to the male head) so he is to go to a specific hairdresser who works at "Hair Bastards". Thank you sweet baby Jesus - I was not the only one in the group that heard this! We all looked puzzled and asked her when this new shop had opened and where in town it was located.  That's when she reiterated  "Hair Masters". Doh!!!

Then another person in my book group started telling us about this "eunuch" man that was giving a talk at the local high school.  Once again a few of us looked puzzled - not ever having the chance to meet a man who is a part of the "eunuch" community - we asked where was this eunuch from? It was at that point we realized that she had said "unique" but with her accent it sounded like "eunuch". Doh!!!

It's a bit of a relief that my friends experienced this with me because I was really beginning to think I was losing my mind. Maybe this has more to do with AAADD (Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder) than having Meniere's. Focus people focus!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sometimes You Just Have To Laugh!

I am finding the best way to get through these "wonky head" days is with humor. I make myself try and find the lighter side of all the downsides of dealing with a dysfunctional vestibular system. One of my latest finds is this website.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Barf-Bags-by-The-Barf-Boutique/136241319759108?sk=wall

http://www.barfboutique.com/

This company offers a amazing array of styles and uses for the good old fashioned "air sickness" bag. I love the graphics on these bags and if you have a twisted sense of humor like I do........you will truly enjoy them too.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Time Sure Flies

It's been over 2 weeks since my last post. No particular reason other than I've been feeling pretty good as of late. I have been focusing on improving my quality of life. Eating more healthy, exercising more regularly and meditating. I have been maintaining a minimum of at least 20 minutes of walking daily and I have noticed that over the last two weeks there is some significant improvement. I am feeling less and less wobbly. Still have the odd day where the weather is changing and those good old low pressure systems wreak havoc on my ears and head. However, I am having more moments where my symptoms are so minimal that I don't even notice them anymore. It is absolutely wonderful!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Delicate Balance

bal·ance  (blns)
n.
1. A weighing device, especially one consisting of a rigid beam horizontally suspended by a low-friction support at its center, with identical weighing pans hung at either end, one of which holds an unknown weight while the effective weight in the other is increased by known amounts until the beam is level and motionless.
2. A state of equilibrium or parity characterized by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces.
3. The power or means to decide.
4.
a. A state of bodily equilibrium: thrown off balance by a gust of wind.
b. The ability to maintain bodily equilibrium: Gymnasts must have good balance.
5. A stable mental or psychological state; emotional stability.
6. A harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts or elements, as in a design. See Synonyms at proportion.
7. An influence or force tending to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.
8. The difference in magnitude between opposing forces or influences.
9. Accounting
a. Equality of totals in the debit and credit sides of an account.
b. The difference between such totals, either on the credit or the debit side.
10. Something that is left over; a remainder.
11. Chemistry Equality of mass and net electric charge of reacting species on each side of an equation.
12. Mathematics Equality with respect to the net number of reduced symbolic quantities on each side of an equation.
13. A balance wheel.

An interesting word with many meanings. For me...when I think of the word "balance" two things come to mind. First and foremost staying upright and not falling over. Secondly managing my day so I can be productive and have minimal symptoms. Without the the first the second will not happen. So they go hand in hand. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My New Normal

It's been a little over two weeks that I have been feeling amazingly well! Now that does not mean that I have been symptom free, it simply means that I have been able to cope better with my symptoms when they are minimal. This is my new normal. I have on rare occasion experienced a symptom free hour or even part of a day, but no more than that. If I can make it through the day and not let my Meniere's symptoms run my life then it has been a good day.

I have found that the best way to control my Meniere's is by maintaining a routine. I wake up, take care of the fur beasts, have breakfast, shower, get dressed, take the dog for a walk, come back and read and have a cup of tea, do some errands, have lunch, do some housework, do something relaxing, make dinner, watch a little television, get ready for bed.....then off to bed where I will do a little reading. I have found by following a routine I am better able to manage my Meniere's. Meniere's has done nothing but create chaos in my life and I hate chaos. So by taking the bull by the horns I am controlling that chaos! Now I still have symptoms that knock me off my feet, but I am now taking them more in stride. I don't feel as anxious or frustrated when I am having an off day. I just go with the flow.

I can not stress enough how having a routine has improved my life with Meniere's. Our bodies hate chaos! Routine helps to combat chaos. When our bodies know what to expect it will usually follow the path of least resistance.

Cheers all!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Food + No Salt = YUCK!

When I was diagnosed on October 1, 2010 with Meniere's Disease I was also given a new way of eating. Salt is now my biggest enemy, It is a constant battle to beat back the sodium dragon! I try not to eat out as often because you never know what goes on behind the kitchen doors in a restaurant. Even when you ask for no added salt, I can't help but wonder if the chef doesn't just add a pinch of the white stuff anyway.

I find myself cooking more now than ever before. That way I have total control over the sodium that is present in my food. I try to stick with one ingredient foods, no salt added foods and low sodium foods. It is all about reading those nutritional labels! Processed foods are definitely off the shelf, which is a good move for anyone because the nutritional value is minimal at best. I experiment more with food than I have in my whole life. Trying to find the balance between a healthy diet and one that satisfies my need for flavorful food. My new best friends are lemons, limes, garlic and ginger. Following close behind is the world of herbs and spices (salt added ones excluded).So as I am able to tweek my recipes and come up with a satisfying substitute I will share my new low/no sodium dishes with you.

Here is my first success.

 Guaca-salsa-mole


1 cup diced avocado
2/3 cup seeded and diced roma tomatoes
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 lime juiced


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit for at least one hour. The size of the dice depends on how chunky you like your dips. I keep mine on the smaller side. I also take half the avocado and mash it up before adding the other ingredients. You can increase or decrease ingredients depending on your personal preferences. You can chop a jalapeƱo up and toss that in too if you want a kick. I serve this with some tortilla chips(low sodium). The brand I use is called "Food Should Taste Good". The lime one is amazing!


Bon appetite!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens.......

Anyone who has a chronic dysfunctional vestibular system has undoubtedly had the opportunity to experience vertigo. With each attack  I have discovered a few necessities that make the whole ordeal a little more manageable. So here are a few of "My Favorite Vertigo Things"......feel free to hum the song in your head.

1) My 99cent IKEA trash pails strategically placed throughout the house. (At that
    price why not get a dozen!)
2) A big glass of cold water with a bendy straw.(Raising my head is out of the
    question!)
3) The air conditioner and all available fans turned on high. (Sub-arctic temps
     rock!)
4) Walls and door jams to bounce off of on my way to bed . (Just wish they were
    cushioned!)
5) Good fluffy pillows to hold my head still. (I have been considering duct taping
    them around my head!)
6) Mentos and ginger ale. (The meal of champions for 2-3 days after a
    vertigo attack!)

Yeah it doesn't take much to make me happy when my world is spinning out of control. Thankfully I haven't had a bad one in awhile. (I touch wood and say a little prayer as I say this...)

The sun is shining so all is good.....time to go for a walk!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hoping and Coping

A few new insights this weekend. After chatting with a fellow "dysfunctional vestibular-ite" I realized just how much Meniere's has changed me for the good. I am more outgoing for one and no longer afraid to tell people how I really feel (physically, emotionally and mentally). This is huge because I used to always let people think that all was well with me all the time. It was exhausting to say the least! Now I take inventory of my energy levels and make better choices as to how I am going to use those precious little bursts of momentum. The win-win here is that I get more things accomplished and feel good about my achievements without having the life sucked out by trying to the things I have no control over. I know life is not all butterflies and rainbows and that it will throw me the occasional curve ball, but at least  I am getting better and better at knowing when to duck!

 Another revelation is just how funny my life has become with Meniere's. I am constantly amused with how this condition affects not only your balance but your whole thought process. Now I have an excuse for being forgetful and putting things where  they don't belong. I have on occasion caught myself making a cup of tea and then going to sit down on the couch to read a book only to discover the cup of tea has not made the journey with me. Apparently sub-consciously I wanted iced tea because there it is sitting on the top shelf in my fridge! Just focusing on walking can be a challenge especially when you are chatting with a friend at the same time. I have taken out more garbage cans and small dogs than you can imagine. Grocery stores can be like a human bumper car ride especially if my Meniere's is on high alert. Mind you bumping into people is a lot softer than those cement pillars!

Well that's all for now.......working on the computer is a challenge so time to get off and give the eyes a rest.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Remember to laugh!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Little Help From My Friends

So the rain has returned and so have many of the annoying Meniere symptoms. It is hard returning to the world of Meneire's after having a four day run of feeling pretty decent. Never the less this last stretch of feeling almost free of this crummy chronic vestibular crap was a breath of fresh air. It is good to know that those days have not disappeared into the great abyss!

Maintaining some sort of social life is so critical through this journey. I am fortunate to have friends that are willing to put up with the uncertainties that comes with being my friend these days. I thank each and everyone of you that encourages me to get out, while assuring me that the guest room is ready if I need to lay down. I appreciate the door to door chauffeur service that you give me on the days I do not feel safe to drive. For the willingness to talk to me on the phone when I feel lonely and just need to hear a human voice because my dog and two cats don't speak English. Yes I am blessed to be surrounded by such caring people and that has made the difference.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sunny Days Equal Happy Me

Seems like the sunny days are more conducive to me feeling better. My symptoms always decrease and my energy increases. Living in the NW makes this a challenge since we are in the gray season. The last three days have been beautiful and sunny and have renewed my spirit and given me a good dose of courage. Meniere's has the power to suck the life out of you if you let it. I know that first hand. I will try to never give in to it even when it rears its' ugly head during those rough vertigo days. I have met a few people that have had a hard time with this condition and I hope and pray that I can remain positive throughout this journey.

Hope you all stay spin free! Have a great day!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Which is worse?

Well after having two great days I was hit with a stomach virus of gargantuan proportions! Still trying to decide whether a vertigo attack is better or worse than a stomach virus. At least with a vertigo attack I know the progression of it and I can at least sleep relatively pain free. As long as I keep my eyes closed the spinning is manageable. Stomach virus on the other hand.....totally unpredictable! Cramps that felt like a knife going through my intestines.....ouch! For a whole day.....yuck! Would rather not have either, but at least the vertigo follows a pattern.....and I know what I can do to make it bearable. Cold room......quiet room......comfortable bed and pillows.....cold water.....sleep.....sleep....sleep!

Anyway I seem to be on the mend. Off to discover a couple of Indian grocery stores with some friends. Indian food is great because it has tons of flavor and it is easy to make it low sodium.

It is so important to stay engaged with life through this whole journey even if you feel like crap!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So You Wanna Know What Vertigo Feels Like

Thank God my days like this are few and far between! This video is a pretty good perspective on what it feels like when you have a dysfunctional vestibular system. Sometimes more is said when we say nothing at all.

http://vimeo.com/2882960

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Top 5 Positive Things About Having Meiniere's

1. I no longer need to drink wine to have that tipsy feeling. My funky ear makes
    sure I feel just loopy enough.

2. My carbon footprint is lower because I don't drive as much.

3. I've lost weight and eat a lot healthier. Vertigo contributes to this lifestyle
   change!

4. I finally have enough time to get rid of some clutter, since I am unable to have
    a regular job!.

5. The dog gets out for a lot more walks. Some days that is the only constructive
    thing I get done.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A New Journey

I long for the days of pre-Meniere's but I know that they are long gone. Now I just hope I can make it through the day without having any major symptoms. I have become accustomed to the daily tinnitus, ear pressure, brain fog, lightheaded feeling and  headaches. I am grateful that I am not experiencing the vertigo attacks quite so often. Back in mid October 2010 through November 2010 I was averaging one major vertigo attack per week for five weeks straight.I would no sooner start getting back to a more functional existence and I would be slammed with another one. Those were dark days for me and I can truly understand how one can get suicidal when being forced to live with a chronic illness.

I make the choice each morning when I wake up to either live my day to its fullest or to crawl under a rock and pretend I am invisible. Most mornings I choose the positive approach. Even though I may struggle through a day by spending most of it laying on the sofa with my furry little prozac pills (my 2 cats and a dog), I know I am blessed. I have a wonderful husband who is there for me 24/7. A son that cares enough about me to do things to make my life a little easier and happier. Two grandsons that make me smile and give me reason to go on and be there for them. As well as the most amazing group of friends anyone could ever imagine!

Yes, I choose to live in the light , but every once in awhile that light starts to flicker and I get scared and have to remind myself not to give up.