A Few Words...

What is written here is my opinion and personal experience only. I am not qualified to give advice - medical, legal, or otherwise. Please be responsible and do your own research regarding treatments, diets, doctors, and alternative therapies.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Mild Attack and an Observation

Post Script: I almost forgot to add the most important potential trigger and related comments about barometric pressure below.  Edited text is in italics.

After many weeks of feeling very well overall, I had a mild attack over the weekend.  Thank goodness, I am still vertigo-free after that little scare in Yellowstone this summer, but I still get random attacks that present as a warm, buzzing sensation in my ear, brain fog, and mini-spins.  For the uninitiated, a mini-spin is a dizzy spell lasting just a few seconds.  These are disorienting enough that they interrupt whatever I am doing and force me to focus solely on remaining vertical and calm until the disturbance passes.  During periods when I am having symptoms, I also have a general, persistent sense of dysequilibrium so I must be careful not to make any sudden movements that could bring on dizziness or a fall.

This latest episode began Friday evening with the telltale increase in tinnitus and that warm, buzzing in my ear.  Probably making matters worse, I stayed up until midnight reading The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck, as I just could not put it down.  I justified staying up well past my bed time by telling myself I would sleep in, but my body had other plans as I woke up at 5:30 am and couldn't go back to sleep.  When I finally got up, I could tell my balance was off and my ear was still buzzing, but I said I would just take it easy, no pressure to do anything that day.

As the day went on, we decided to get our Christmas tree.  But before we could do that, we needed to move furniture around.  With two cats, a dog, and three kids, that means a ton of dust bunnies flying around off the hard floors.  I do know that dust has a terrible effect on my ears and sinuses, so I took an extra allergy pill and shot of nasal steroids to head off the worst of it, but I could definitely tell I was feeling "allergic."

On the way to the tree lot, we stopped at Target for some new tree lights.  By this time, I was feeling very off balance and brain-fogged, so the crowds and noise were really doing a number on me.  At one point, I got separated from Phil and the kids and while turning this way and that, looking down aisles, I was hit with a pretty major, very disorienting spin.  I stopped mid-aisle and rested for a second.  Fortunately, it passed and I hooked back up with the fam.  I made it through the rest of the trip and rested when we got home.

In the end, I got through the evening, but cancelled plans to stop by a friend's holiday party.  I have found that I hate to use "not feeling well" as an excuse not to do something.  I feel like eventually people with think it is just an often-repeated excuse not do something I'd rather not do.  When I need to back out of plans because of my Meniere's symptoms or just because I know I need to rest instead, I prefer to give some other reason.  Weird?

I've never been one to find any tried-and-true triggers than invariably lead up to my attacks.  I tend to believe that, in my own case anyway, much of what causes attacks for me is beyond my control.  But I've recently decided to keep a detailed log of my activities, the weather, sleep, and food intake.  Looking back at the end of last week, if I had to try to identify one or more potential triggers for this weekend's attack, I'd have to narrow them down to:

1. Stress and overdoing it with shopping trips in the days prior.
2. A significant lack of sleep the night before.
3. The dust I was exposed to Saturday morning.
4. Being due for my weekly allergy shot.
5. Barometric pressure.  Specifically a drop in pressure related to storm fronts moving in.

The fourth variable, allergy shots, is one I want to track more closely.  I have thought on several occasions that in the day or two prior to my shot, I seem to have more, yet subtle, symptoms and usually within 24 hours, or less, of my shot, I tend to begin feeling much better.  In hindsight, I also wonder if this had anything to do with my attacks in Yellowstone.  While we were travelling this summer, I messed around with the usual weekly timing of my shots and delayed them a few times, taking them about 10 days apart.  It's something to consider and also ask Dr. Derebery about at my next appointment.

Barometric pressure is the one variable that I do feel triggers my symptoms.  Any time rain rolls in, in fact usually 24 hours prior to the rain coming down, my head gets foggy and I feel pressure in my ears and sinuses.  Often the tinnitus changes with the weather a bit, too.  I have asked for a digital barometer for Christmas to help me better track and correlate any symptoms with some objective data.

As I lay in bed this morning, dreading getting up, I wondered what it was I was feeling and why.  As I sat with my feelings and meditated through them, it dawned on me that what I was feeling wasn't depression, which was my first inclination, but rather it was fear.  Fear that I would feel bad again today (I don't, so far - yay!).  Fear that this might be it, the beginning of a long, unending downward spiral.  Fear of feeling nauseous, brain-fogged, off-balance, and isolated.  Once I knew that was what was stirring around in my mind, I felt I could get up and face it.  The biggest lesson that I have to continually relearn is not to place judgment on my physical and emotional feelings.  When I remember this, everything is so much more manageable.  It is what it is.


  1. I just wanted to thank you for all your thoughts and sharing. I had been going through a brief period of respite and enjoying sticking my head in the sand and pretending that I was "normal". Unfortunately that illusion, once again, dissolved into the usual spiral that is Meniere's.

    I stumbled across your blog this morning whilst doing some research on my first "drop attack" that occurred over the Christmas holidays leaving me with 11 stitches on my brow and a wonderfully festive shiner.

    I have been stealing moments away from the kids all day to read your blog posts and once again find comfort in knowing that I am not alone on this journey and there are others out there who share my experiences, thoughts and fears.


  2. Glad to have helped in some little way. Take care of yourself.