There’s nothing like a start to a blogging series that begins with a drop attack, is there? To help bring awareness to Meniere’s disease, I’m using this blog to recount my own journey with the disease and to search for a cure. I’m focusing on health, happiness, adventures, reflection, and humor. Today, I begin with health. Stay tuned to more as I recount what Meniere’s is as well as I manage mine.
Nearly 7 years ago, I had my first “drop attack.”
I was setting up my classroom for the start of my fourth year of teaching when I started to feel a little dizzy. I had battled dizzy feelings for several years so I wasn’t too concerned but thought it best to go home.
I barely got into my apartment and set my stuff in before I dropped to the floor. I still can feel that sensation. I lost all balance. I could not see straight. Until that point, I thought dizziness was something you could work through. At that moment, though, I knew this was something a lot more than just dizziness. I could no longer stand. I could not move. In effect, I was paralyzed.
I could not focus my vision on one thing. I was terrified. My heart was racing. I could not see or move enough to call. Things were moving so fast.
And, then the vomiting came. I threw up twenty times in a matter of an hour that day. I could not stop.
After four hours of near paralysis, I could begin to make out some of the objects in my bathroom, so I crawled to my bedroom in the next room, praying I would not start vomiting again.
That’s when the fatigue and migraines set in. For the next 20 plus hours, I suffered from strong migraines and extreme fatigue.
And, for several days thereafter, my eyes burned and I felt residual dizziness.
That was my first Meniere’s attack.
I try to explain what it’s like to others, but until you can see it, it’s underrated.
I continued to have an attack a month for the next year. I never knew when it would happen. I started hating driving. I hated going swimming. I hated climbing mountains. These were things I used to love, but now I feared having an attack during one of my excursions. I thought it may be fatal if it happened while in the water, behind the wheel, or on a mountain.
It changed my life.
The attacks scared me, but I wasn’t prepared for the “extras.”
Two years into my disease, I started having 24/7 ear ringing, or tinnitus. Five years later, I have not had a second where my right ear did not ring.
Then, the brain fog set in. I stopped being able to recall names. I found myself in a state of confusion during meetings. I had a hard time focusing. In effect, I felt like I had attention deficit disorder.
My right ear started popping one year into my disease. I pop it about 300 times a day. When I go under water, it won’t pop so the pressure builds up and can be fatal.
I get dizzy sleeping on my sides. I get dizzy sleeping on my back. I get dizzy sleeping on my stomach. So, I have to sleep on my back, with my head propped up by 3-4 pillows. That has resulted in countless neck and back issues.
Seven years ago, I never knew what dizziness was.
Seven years later, I know everything about dizziness and then some.
Today, I search for a cure. Today, I continue to travel the world, hang glide, race bikes, hike, and live.