Friday, November 23, 2012
As most people with Meniere's know, there are a lot of ups and downs in living this disease. When you're sick, you wonder if you'll ever feel better and, when you're well, you wonder when the beast will rear its ugly head again.
In July, after my last post, we travelled to Yellowstone National Park to visit my in-laws who happen to live there in the summer. We had been once before several years ago when the kids were little and before I had Meniere’s disease. We were excited to take the kids back now that they’re older and could appreciate the amazing beauty of the park.
I had been feeling much better in the months preceding our trip, thanks to starting allergy shots in the early spring. Even though I still was having some stretches of imbalance and fatigue, it was nothing I was too concerned about. So I packed my Valium and felt confident I could make the trip without any serious problems.
I did well on the drive up to Yellowstone, including our stops in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, but, 24 hours into our 4-day stay in the park, I began to have vertigo again after more than a year vertigo-free. The first time, I was all alone, with no cell phone reception, in the lobby of the Lake Hotel. It was very scary, but I tried not to panic, took a Valium and rested on a sofa in front of the fireplace for about 30 minutes. I was then able to meander back to our cabin across the parking lot and collapse in bed. It happened again in the middle of the night, as well as the next day on the drive to see Old Faithful. I felt terrible asking my husband to turn around and take me back to the cabin. At that point I knew I would not be able to even get out of the car and they would not be able to enjoy themselves worrying about me sitting all alone, waiting for them. I felt even worse the next day when my family decided to cut out our next planned stop in Jackson, Wyoming out and just get me back down to Salt Lake City. In the end, it did seem the 7,700-foot elevation was what brought the vertigo on and, thank god, it has not come back since.
Despite the fact that the vertigo again went away after we left the high elevation, I was off-balance and exhausted for the next two months. It was all the more stressful by coming home to many new changes. All in the same week in August, I started a new job, the kids went back to school, and my parents came for a visit. It was a very busy time and I was really struggling to just get through each and every hour.
To make matters worse, no one at my new job knows my history or even that I have hearing loss, so I really had to put on a good face and hope for the best. I really worried the constant dizzies and exhaustion might be my new normal and that I might not make a good impression in my new position. But, somehow over time, I have found myself back to a tolerable baseline with day- or two-stretches of minispins and bouncing sensations alternating with periods of feeling pretty good.
I try not to think too much about the future. I am pretty pessimistic about staying well indefinitely. My goal has always been to just get my kids raised and to give them as normal of a childhood as possible. I have 8 more years to go and will do anything to get through them as vertical as possible. In the meantime, I continue to just be grateful for each day I am able to leave the house on my own and contribute to the lives of those around me.