I have a disorder. It has affected me from the time I was 15 and it will be something I will have for the rest of my life. For years, I have been in denial that I have it. i’ve always been a strong, independent warrior of a women. Nothing can get me down. Then, like a cruel joke, I’m hit with vicious, relentless symptoms of disabling vertigo, nausea, vomiting, numbing hands, brain fog, and constant ringing of my ears. Not to mention the progressive low frequency hearing loss that makes it difficult these days for me to hear anyone on my left side.
I have recently been hit with an 11 day continuous bout of Menieres. I was dizzy, light headed, my ears ached so deeply. I could barely function at work and was sent home twice to go straight to bed. My roommate came home and found me in bed miserable and barely able to move. Even the tiniest movement made my head spin. My roommate sprawled out across me, concerned and unsure of what to do. I sensed she was uneasy with seeing me in the state I was in. It’s a question I am asked often by friends and family. “What can I do?” The sad truth is, there isn’t anything they can do. Although, I love wholeheartedly when people keep me company so I don’t feel so utterly alone when I’m hit with my illness.
In the past 5 days, some light has been shed on why my body has been rebelling against me. For those with a chronic illness, it’s maddening, heartbreaking, frustrating, and sometimes down right depressing to be completely at the mercy of your body. I can control everything else in my life…..but this. I’ve been a vegetarian for the last year. I decided to go veggie for a multitude of reasons but one of the main ones was FOR my Meniere’s. As it turns out, it was doing more harm than good. I was informed by my acupuncturist last week that I have a blood deficiency and a spleen deficiency. The spleen is nourished by the proteins in meat. And guess what I haven’t been eating for the last year. Meat.
After hours of research and reading articles about how some people’s bodies just can’t handle vegetarianism well, I realized, I am one of those people. I’ve become more susceptible to illness around my cycle. My cycles have been more painful and exhausting than ever. I develop sick symptoms every time. Fever, chills, malaise and more recently Meniere’s symptoms. In addition to my deficiency’s, I have learned through NET ( neuro emotional therapy) that stress is my biggest trigger which stems from a traumatic event from when I was 9 years old. It’s amazing what can affect the body. I sat in my chiropractor’s office, tears streaming down my face, hopeful that I had possibly found some sort of relief. Everything fell into place and made sense. My body needs to be nourished. As does my mind and soul. My body has been giving me clues the entire time, however, I wasn’t listening to the right cues. Therefore it reacted with some serious ailments to make me open my eyes to find the root of the problem.
Since I am a Meniere’s patient, we are more susceptible to depression. I allow my depression to get the best of me at times. I stop working out. I stop writing. I stop doing things that fill me with joy. My body suffers by gaining weight and I become stressed out about the weight I’ve gained. Doing things I like, hiking, walking, running, biking becomes difficult after months of non practice which makes me feel discouraged. I stop reading which helps keep my brain active and inspired. I stop meditating which helps keep me centered. I stop practicing yoga which helps keep me limber, relaxed, and elevated. I haven’t stopped to really look at what my current lifestyle, diet and my mental and emotional state have been doing to me.
I have started to push myself to walk every other day. I also started hiking again. My lungs weren’t too happy about that. But after hike numbero tres, I was able to do the entire hike without stopping. Was I huffy and puffing the whole way there? YES….but I felt amazing afterward. I even want on my first run. And here I am today, craving a work out. My symptoms are mostly gone, just lingering tinnitus remains which is tolerable.
I feel for those with Chronic Illness. It’s so hard and the last 2 years, I have done it without the use of medicine. I find relief in the form of holistic healing and I am such an advocate of alternative medicine. I’ve found that acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, massage, herbal supplements, and other things such as energy healing ( Reiki and Sound healing) have done absolute wonders for me. I had been prescribed two medications a few years back at the onset of my worst Meniere’s symptoms and had such terrible experiences with both. I was prescribed Valium and Ativan for anxiety and in turn was having hallucinations. When I alerted my doctor he just told me to cut the pill in half, not really providing any help. Secondly I was prescribed a water pill also known as Triamterene which helps to reduce fluid buildup but also landed me in the ER with Hypokalemia. Hypokalemia is a deficiency of potassium in the bloodstream which is a potentially life-threatening imbalance. After I was released, I threw all my pills away and looked into a holistic approach to handling my illness.
Although I have relief today, I know that I will experience some bumps in the road and I have a ways to go to help start healing myself. I am thankful for alternative medicine and the resources and the job I have which allows me to get the help I need. I am thankful for understanding friends and compassionate co-workers/boss who accept that I have an illness that sometimes interferes with me functioning completely.
I would have found it hard initially to be thankful for my symptoms flaring up, but I am as it’s helped me realize the healing I need and the road I must go down to really truly help myself.