February 1, 2012

health update

As I alluded to in a prior post I've been having some health issues.  The vertigo is nothing new but it has taken a turn for the worse...every day - most of the day.  It comes and goes leaving in its wake an anxiety ridden hopeless frustrated feeling.  I made a trip to the eye doctor- they were bugging me too.  She said I have dry eyes...okaaaaay.  I've been using the fake tear drops and haven't noticed much of a change.

I then went to see my vertigo doctor in Seattle, I can't say enough good things about him.  He wanted me to have another VNG , definitely not my idea of a good time.  I had that done today. There are four steps to the process.  They strap on these horrible goggles (think scuba mask) which kind of produces a claustrophobic feeling.  The goggles are retro fitted with a camera that is hooked up to a computer where they track your eye movements during the testing.  It's pretty genius but not fun at all.  The worst part is the last-- here's a summary:

Caloric Testing
The technician will stimulate both of your inner ears (one at a time) with warm and then cold air. They will be monitoring the movements of your eyes using goggles to make sure that both of your ears can sense this stimulation. This test will confirm that your vestibular system for each ear is working and responding to stimulation. This test in the only test available that can decipher between a unilateral and bilateral loss.

I knew there was a problem when my left ear did not respond (as it had a year ago) like my right ear did.  I had to wait two hours until I could meet with the doctor.  Basically he said that there was deterioration in my left side due to my severe vertigo attacks (and this ear is probably where the virus started).  There is no way to determine where I got this virus and most people usually only have one attack.  I'm one of the 5% who have recurring episodes hence my official diagnoses of recurring vestibular neuritis.  The attacks have caused damage to that balance nerve and has made life pretty much hell these past few months...well past year and half but like I said it's been extreme lately.

The good news is I will be starting vestibular physical therapy which retrains the brain to recognize and process signals from the vestibular system in coordination with vision and proprioception. This often involves desensitizing the balance system to movements that provoke symptoms. I'm hoping it will work!

I don't mean to be a whiner but with anyone that deals with a chronic condition there is a feeling of hopelessness...can I really live like this for the rest of my life?  I have a great doctor and my family and friends are very supportive- so thanks to all of you that kept me in your thoughts and prayers!!  I'm hopefully on the road to recovery...even if it's a slow one.

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