First when you get sick, you often have to distinguish if your symptoms might be from part of your chronic illness or illnesses. That can be very difficult sometimes. I often feel like I’m catching a cold but it goes away in a few days, so for those few days I don’t know if I’m really “sick” on top of things or not. I also have a lot of gastrointestinal issues due to food allergies and intolerances, it’s really hard to know if I have caught a bug or if I simply got a hold of something I shouldn’t have eaten. This can be very disturbing sometimes, and it can make me less likely to seek medical attention for things until it has been going on for a while.
(a lot of this post is a recap of what has been happening with me the past few months. Please feel free to skip this narration, I felt I needed a place to put it all in one place. The major points I want to make are in bold at the bottom. thanks for understanding…and if you read everything, you are an amazing person. *smiles* It took me three days to write this, between feeling icky and having a vertigo spell….so please forgive any errors…grammar, punctuation, spelling, even train of thought…yes brain fog is heavy these days. thank you my dear friends.)
I’ve written about how sick I’ve been over the last few months….I mean really sick, on top of my chronic conditions…what a mess. But I’d like to give you a run down of what happened and how I think I really goofed up and made this hang on longer than it had to.
The third week of October both Stuart and I caught colds, it delayed our leaving for Tucson by a week. At the end of the cold I had this nagging cough hanging on, I’d heard from many people who live near us that they too had been suffering from colds that seemed to hang on for weeks with a cough, so I wasn’t so worried. We started our trek across country, my breathing got worse, especially when we’d stop for the night. I assumed I was having a lot of allergies erupting on top of everything. Often our hotel rooms had a perfume smell, air fresheners, and one smelled like someone broke a bottle of cologne in the bathroom (we did ask to move from that room, but there was a convention in town and no more rooms were available). We would have researched and found more allergy free accommodations for me, but those places would not allow cats, and Max needed a place too. We do however always make sure we have a no-smoking room.
By the time we got to Tucson I was having a very hard time with the cough and breathing issues, but again, thought it was more allergies. I felt that most of the stuff was coming from my nose…but I was wrong, that was only part of it. Soon after we got here I started having severe vertigo attacks…Meniere’s was not kind to me. I know the trip took a lot out of me,and I hadn’t been watching my salt intake as much as I should have..so I just thought my one of my chronic illnesses was in acute mode. I still didn’t think I was really sick, sick. (big mistake) In the back of my head I knew I should go to the doctor for the cough, but I was so busy going to the doctor about my ears….and the holidays were upon us, it’s pretty hard to get in to a doctor as a new patient that time of year…so I thought I’d wait. (again, not a good idea) I continued to get sicker, no energy, coughing more, not being able to take a deep breath…..ect. I did not get to enjoy one bit of the holidays (oh how I wanted a family holiday gathering, but I spent all of it in bed). Finally, I told Stuart to, “Yes, please call and see if you can get me in to see a doctor.” (he’d asked many times before and I said no, really I thought it was allergies, ragweed was in full bloom here when we got here, and the house we are staying in had been empty for a long time so lot’s of dust…I didn’t think the doctor would be able to do much more than I was. Yes, I know…silly girl treating herself, but every spring I have severe allergies at home and I’m put on Flonaze, and 2 antihistamines. So I did that, I was also taking an expectorant to break up the mucus and get it out….really all good things, and the doctor agreed, but I needed more. And the Flonaze was causing me to have miserable nose bleeds. so that stopped.)
First trip to the doctor, (don’t you love a first trip to a new doctor, explaining all the reasons for your medications, all the things you have going on….ugh! She actually said I was a very happy person for having so much going on with me. I thought, well I could show the sad, depressed side of chronic illness all the time, but who would that help? I may be ill, but I’m still a good person.) I found out my minor Asthma (I haven’t had but a few attacks in the past 20 years or more, and only when I’ve been around strong allergens or perfumes.) has turned out to be pretty serious. And I have Bronchitis…the Asthma probably got so bad because of the Bronchitis….and allergens. So antibiotics, and a steroid….call in 10 days if not all better. Stuart called after about 7 days because I was worse. Ironic thing…my doctor had just gotten out of the hospital with pneumonia. Actually scared me a bit, what if I had pneumonia…many of the symptoms were there, even the cold chills. But then I laughed at myself…I had the pneumonia vaccine in May, I had to have it before I could get my Cochlear Implant. (that’s what I get for trying to diagnose myself with just the internet. We can get some clues from there, but I’ve learned never to think it’s absolutely true for me. Always consult a professional, or two.) So I saw my doctor again on the 21st, 2 weeks from the first appointment. Still not breathing well…ect, and my sinuses really hurt. Diagnosis? Still Asthma is going crazy, now bronchitis is considered chronic, and I have a sinus infection. I was given a stronger antibiotic, prednisone (oh joy, more steroids), and I had a breathing treatment in the office with a nebulizer, for the first time in months I could breath, it lasted for hours, I was thrilled. I was told if the cough was not much, much better in 3 days to call back and I would get a nebulizer for home. But that night I started coughing so hard I pulled a muscle in my back. I couldn’t walk without being in severe pain, putting weight on my left leg was almost intolerable. Thank goodness for my walker, but darn the fact that I haven’t found a bathroom door that my walker will fit through! So, I could get from the bed to the bathroom, then hobble inside. What a mess. I didn’t sleep that night, stayed on heat and ice, and luckily the next day it was much better. I still rested with ice and heat to insure it got even better, but I could walk with minor discomfort.
So…yesterday Stuart called the doctor’s office…after 3 days, to tell them I need a nebulizer. (really, I can get a nebulizer, I need the medicine that goes in it) Unfortunately, they close early on Friday, and didn’t get the prescription called in before the end of the day…so I have to wait until Monday.
Another thing that I’m having trouble with. Migraines! Did you guess? I had very good results from the Botox injections, but they have worn off…I am looking forward to March 7th, when I can see my neurologist at home and have the injections again. (deep sigh) I’m having a hard time with pain medication. I was taking Hydrocodone, but it started making me itch, I’m allergic to Codeine (at least I’m told I am, I had the allergic reaction when I was pretty young, I don’t remember, but why would it be wrong?), Oxycodone makes me stop urinating, I’m allergic to Celebrex (I know this one is right, I have the ER trips to prove it.), and all NSAIDS hurt my stomach (thanks to an old doctor who had me taking Ibuprofen by the handfuls). Before I left N.C. my neurologist put me on Tramadol (Ultram), well it makes me itch too! So I’m stuck without a pain reliever stronger than Tylenol. It’s been rough. (I do still have other migraine meds, but sometimes you need a pain reliever…when I pulled that muscle it would have come in very handy!)
This post has become MUCH longer than I’d planned. I needed to put all of this in one place, and I wanted to make a point…but I think my point may have gotten lost. Here’s the summary of what I’d like for you to take from this post:
- When you are Chronically Ill, you need to pay close attention when you get sick. Do not assume it’s your “normal” ill feelings.
- Do not put off going to the doctor, if you don’t have anything worse than a cold, what did it hurt? (Yeah, our doctors may think we come in too often, but really if our doctor thinks that we should probably find a new doctor.) I’m sure we often feel we go to the doctor too much, but don’t play around with your health. Don’t be scared because if you are out of town and not close to your doctor. Who knows a fresh pair of eyes may be helpful in many ways.
- Often when you have a Chronic Illness you have less resistance to fight off sicknesses, like the “common” cold, than healthy people. I know my body works over time just to take care of me with my chronic illnesses, throw in getting sick and there just isn’t enough resistance in me to put up a good fight. I should have known better, and gone to the doctor sooner.
So the biggest point I want to make. Know your body. Know how you feel on a day-to-day basis, if you get sick, pay very close attention and take care of you. You are the only one who can say if you need to see a doctor. But don’t be like me, please see a doctor before things escalate into a more serious sickness.
I know I will always listen closer to my body than I have the past few months. Just because there are other things going on in my life doesn’t mean my symptoms aren’t something I should pay attention to!!
This is the third attempt at writing this post.
So I shall not try to explain things, or guess at things, I’m just going to tell what is happening.
Vertigo!!! Nearly constant. mini spins, mid-line spinning, and horrendous attacks. When I was diagnosed with Meniere’s I was told it could be one of the worst things you can get that won’t kill you, but you may wish it would.
For the past few weeks, I wish it would.
I’m so miserable. I can’t walk without aid, and then it’s very difficult. I often can’t move my head without going into a full swing. Right now I’m having a decent moment, so I’m trying to write.
I’m scared. I went to a doctor here, and he thinks it’s allergies. (I’m not so sure, I take 3 different meds for my allergies.) He put me on steroids and gave me drops to reduce the inflammation. No infection was seen. I feel have been worse since starting the medication. I’m supposed to see him again on Friday, the 21st, but Stuart is calling him tomorrow.
I can’t be left alone. We are having a hard time. Stuart needs to leave to go grocery shopping and such, but it’s almost impossible. He left for a bit last night to shop, and I ended up spinning and terrified. I called him, but of course I could hear when he answered, I just kept saying help. He found me in a lump on the floor. I know it scared him as much as it did me. I am not prepared to take care of these attacks by myself. I know I have, but it is terrifying even with help.
We came to Tucson hoping I would feel better here. Oh how wrong I was! I never thought I would feel worse! The same maybe, but not worse. I’ve seen family once the whole time we have been here. I haven’t seen any friends. I’m just so sick. I often can’t even move my head.
I want to be home where my doctors are. I don’t know if Tucson is doing this to me, or if it would have happened any way, but either way, I want my doctors! But now, I don’t know how we would get home. Riding in a car is torture. I can only imagine what riding in a plane would be like. I often can’t lift my head without spinning very fast.
So that’s all I can write for now.
I made a huge mistake, I should never have left NC. Having family and friends close here is nice, we do have some people we can call on…but this is new to them, how long would the charity last? At home we don’t really have a support system….but I have my doctors….and that’s important! If I could have the support from those here, and my doctors in the same place, I would be a much happier person.
Anyone reading this who are close to us now. Stuart could really use some help….it’s hard for him to admit, but he is overwhelmed by all of this, I can tell.
(also my migraines are back with a vengeance. I think the Botox has worn off. It really seemed to help for a while!)
I always hoped I’d never need it. When I made up my emergency kit it was more a peace of mind thing, not a real thought that I’d ever need it. On Wednesday, I was so grateful I had that emergency kit! (TMI -This post contains information that may be too much for some people.)
The day started off so wonderful. You can see that in the last post….but later that afternoon I was hit with an attack, and I was in public! We decided to go out and check out a few stores that carry allergy friendly foods, but we were hungry and thought we’d grab a bite to eat. (yes I know, too much food out…too much sodium! But I had steamed chicken with vegetables and rice, no sauce….I ordered smart!) We were sitting in the restaurant and Stuart pointed out something to my left and over my head, I glanced at it and everything spun around. It scared the mess out of me! First I started to panic, then I felt it was slowing down. I thought it was Migraine Associated Vertigo and would pass after I took my migraine medication and emergency pills. Boy was I wrong! I took the pills and things didn’t get better. I was getting sick. Very sick, and the world was spinning faster and faster. I handed Stuart my purse and asked him to get my emergency kit. I needed to cool down, and I needed something to throw up in (just in case). I have cold packs in my emergency kit that turn cold when you twist them…or hit them really hard. This was a wonderful thing. I needed to cool down my core fast. We left the restaurant as soon as I could stand. It had slowed down so I thought the medication was finally working and we could get home with minimal discomfort.
I was VERY wrong again! We drove a ways fairly well, then the spinning got so much worse. I couldn’t stand the car moving. I asked Stuart to stop the car, he couldn’t stop where we were, and I started to panic….”Please just stop the car!” It was torture. I was actually screaming before he could get stopped. He stopped. Later he told me he was not in the best spot. It was pretty public and he knew I’d feel uncomfortable. Frankly, I didn’t care, nor did I notice. I was throwing up (thank goodness for those little garbage bags I packed in the Emergency kit), and I was losing control of my bladder. I was devastated. We were in Stuart’s father’s car, it had just been detailed….I mean like an hour before we left in it….it has leather seats! How could this be happening to me, in my father-in-law’s Lexus? (luckily it was his older car, but still, leather seats!!) Stuart swears when he went to clean it up, there was nothing on the seat, and no vomit anywhere. I did miss some the last time and got it on me. I’m so glad I was wearing a reusable pad, I use them for my menstrual cycle, but I also use them most of the time in case I sneeze or cough and pee a little.
We got home, and got me inside. I collapsed on the couch and passed out. I woke up an hour later gagging, but didn’t throw up. My body was spasming, it feels like I’m convulsing (not that I’d know what that feels like first hand), this lasted what felt like hours. I got very scared. I was having a hard time breathing with the spasms, and for the first time during one of these attacks I was afraid of dying. Then i passed out again, but only for a few minutes. When I came to, I decided I wanted to try to get to the bed. We succeeded. Not without much difficulty, but I was out after that for a few hours.
I know most of you have heard my horror stories of my vertigo attacks before, but the main part of this recount is how much my emergency kit helped. In it I have cold packs (to cool me down), small trash bags (to throw up in), large Ziploc bags (to put the soiled items in…and bags that have throw-up in them), wash cloths (to wipe my mouth, and help cool me down when they are wet), extra meds (we always have my emergency pills on us, this is an extra safe guard and it has more meds than I usually carry), a card explaining what is happening to me…and I keep a water bottle with me (normally this is just to drink from, but when I’m having an attack it helps to wet wash cloths and I need to rinse my mouth).
I will never think I can go without that kit again. I was recently thinking it was taking up too much room in my bag, no more! If I go out with nothing else, I will have my kit!
I’ve been working on this post since Thursday, the day after it happened. I’ve had days and days of extreme disequilibrium. I couldn’t move my head at all without seeing the world move. It was like it just didn’t keep up with my head….strange. I just started walking some unaided yesterday. Today I feel better and can get around by myself, but I still feel a bit wobbly. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t just a Meniere’s attack. My hearing in my right ear did drop significantly, and hasn’t returned to its normal level…that’s weird for me, normally after the attack ends the hearing comes back…at least almost to where it was. We think I had another spinal “blow out”, and my Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure (CSF) dropped. Stuart suggested the first night after the attack to not take my medication that controls the high CSF, it’s a strong diuretic and I couldn’t afford to lose any more fluids. But I started taking them again the next day after I was sure I was well hydrated. Then things didn’t get better. I was scared that I would feel that way all the time. I was having a big pity party for myself (sorry I didn’t invite you all). Yesterday morning, Sunday, I woke up feeling much better. I took my CSF medication, then I got up and fixed myself some breakfast. After making breakfast I turned and the world spun, dang-it! But it was at that time I realized my CSF pressure was too low. I had all the symptoms…the wooshy head, a headache when standing..ect. I went back to bed and lied down flat and the symptoms lessened and went away. Ah…yep, low CSF. So yesterday I spent the day lying flat. I’m holding off on the high CSF medication until I get signs of high CSF, then I’ll ramp back up on them.
Today I’m feeling much, much better, but still weak. My main goals for the day are a shower, and finishing this post…not necessarily in that order.
I’m sure I’ll feel better and better. The weather here is still gorgeous. We had an overcast day, but it was still nice. Today we have the windows open and are enjoying the fresh air.
Where have I been you ask? Or perhaps you haven’t noticed (don’t tell me, I want to think I was missed) I haven’t been commenting as much on other blogs, or chatting away on mine (I know for a while I’ve been a little silent here so you probably didn’t notice), I haven’t even been able to answer emails in a timely manner. I logged on today and I had over 230+ emails in my inbox. Normally there are about 30…so how many days has it been??
I’ve been much sicker, if that’s the word to use, lately. I’m not really sick, it’s my chronic stuff, plus a little oops added in. First I’ll tell about my oops.
I know in my last post 30 things you may not know….. I mentioned how hard it is for me to wash my hair. It’s normally easier in the bathtub than the shower (I’ve fallen too many times in the shower), but I’ve decided that my bathtub is evil. I’ve had heart palpitations in the tub and nearly passed out, I’ve slipped a few times trying to get out, once I smacked my head against the wall. My latest fight with the tub? I pulled the tendons in my left ankle, and knocked everything out of whack on that side from my foot to my lower back, while I was lying in the tub. Yes, I said, LYING IN THE TUB! Only me right? Ok, it was a little more than just lying still. I had scooted down in the tub to rinse my hair, then I pushed with my feet to scoot up – my left foot slipped and went in a direction it shouldn’t have. But I must say, it really didn’t hurt. When I got out of the tub I could stand fine as long as I didn’t go up on my toes. So I’m thinking, no big deal. Then Stuart looked at my ankle and said, “Oh My!”. My ankle was very swollen!! My lower back hurt, but my ankle really didn’t. If you touched the swollen area it hurt, but not much. This happened last Friday night. On Wednesday the swelling was down and I had a massage, she helped the leg and back, but last night my ankle was swollen again. (not that I’ve been on it, I had vertigo all day yesterday so I was in the bed.) So now you know. I am afraid of my tub and shower….makes it pretty hard to keep up personal hygiene, but I manage….thanks to that darling man of mine.
What else had been causing me frustration and just plan fear lately? I was supposed to have the Botox shots for my migraines on the 18th, my doctor was sick and they had to reschedule….they wanted to make the appointment in November! We are leaving for Tucson, AZ the last week on October, we won’t be here in November. So they scheduled it for October 20th…I cried. I had the worst time with migraines this past month. Right before my period started the pain started…they gave me special medication for that time of the month, it didn’t work. I had 15 days out of 20 were spent in a dark room, often without any hearing device on because the light and sound would make me throw up. Throw in some vertigo, and we have a great party going on. Luckily, the appointment has just been changed to October 3rd. This should be during my period, so it will be a real test. Big problem now? If it works I need to have another shot regimen in 3 months, we won’t be here. I’m not sure I can find a neurologist in Tucson who would be willing to see me just once to give me Botox injections. Actually, I doubt I will be able to, so it will be more like 5 months between injections.
Recently I’ve been having more vertigo, and constant disequilibrium. Frankly, it scares me. I’m pretty sure some of this is Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure. We changed my medication that controls the high pressure to a times released form instead of the kind I have to take numerous times a day (I kept missing one). Since I’ve been on this new version of this medication I’ve been having symptoms like I did when my pressure was too low. I started back on the regular form of the medication yesterday, I hope this really is what’s wrong. Because the vertigo is scary. I’m proud of myself about how much better I’m dealing with it. I don’t panic as much, I’m sure I would if it was a severe attack. My biggest fear I have is that when a severe attack hits it will never end. I’ll give you an example of my days…Yesterday I woke up to the word spinning, slowly, but still spinning…this went on all day. Luckily, I was able to sleep through some of it. Then when it actually got to be bedtime, I couldn’t sleep. So many things going through my head. I kept thinking, something doesn’t add up….but I’m not sure what…at least I finished Uncle Tom’s Cabin…and still laid awake until 5am. Today, I’m not spinning, but I can’t walk straight. I can’t move my head at a normal speed or I will fall down from the disequilibrium. In the past 48 hours, I’ve been to the bathroom once unaided.
OK…I know this is another venting post. But I’m scared. What if the change in medication doesn’t work? Then why is this happening? We’ll figure it out, or I’ll learn to live with it! Right?
The other night I was talking to Stuart and told him that sometimes I envy people who don’t have to feel like I do. Of course, he said that’s natural, part of self-preservation and all that…. I then told him, I would gladly be the only person in the world who had to feel this way if no one else ever did. And I mean it. The thought that others go through this is heart breaking to me.
I do have some good news about my hearing! (unfortunately I had to cancel the last 3 appointments I’ve had with my audiologist because I was too ill to go, so I can’t tell you what she has to say, but I have some Wow! news.) Stuart got The Lorax DVD from Netflix and we curled up in bed and watched it on the computer. I used the direct link cable and linked the computer sound up to my processor. I didn’t expect to hear any better than I hear the TV, I thought I’d mostly read the movie, as usual (thank goodness for closed captioning!), but this was different! I heard the movie!! I heard the characters the way they were supposed to sound! I really heard it all, just right! Isn’t that amazing? That gives me hope that one day my CI will give me sounds that are normal. Right now, I hear better with it than my hearing aid, but sounds are a bit off, however, I understand things more. It’s coming along! And The Lorax is my new best friend!
September 10 -16 is National Invisible Awareness Week – If you’d like to get involved check out the official site.
30 things about my illness you may not know.
(warning, some answers may give too much information, but it’s not detailed)
- The illness I live with is: The main illnesses I live with are Meniere’s, chronic Migraines, Bipolar I disorder, and chronic hip and pelvic pain. If you are interested in my other illnesses please see the the tab above titled The Ants That Bite.
- I was diagnosed with it in the year: I don’t remember any more. I think I was diagnosed with Meniere’s in 2001, Migraines (I’m not really sure, I’ve had doctors tell me on and off since my teens that I have migraines, but they became chronic in my late 20′s…I’m 49 now), chronic hip pain and pelvic pain – they haven’t figured out what is causing all the pain, so no diagnosis. Bipolar I – 1990 then was told they were wrong – re-diagnosed in 1994.
- But I had symptoms since: Meniere’s – the first attack I remember was in 1993. Migraines – the first one I remember, I was 11. The pelvic pain – in my early 30′s, in the mid 1990′s. The hip pain – 2008. Bipolar – in my teens.
- The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: These are a few major ones for me…. Losing my hearing. Not being able to drive. Not seeing my friends like I used to. Realizing that I will never be cured. Not being able to have a sex life without pain. (but I’ve dealt with, or am dealing with all of these. They will not keep me down.)
- Most people assume: I can do much more than I can, after all, I don’t “look” sick. And some assume I use my illness to get out of social situations, but honestly I hate being so solitary
- The hardest part about mornings are: Never knowing what the day will bring. I often wake up with a blinding headache, I know what that day will bring. But if I wake up feeling decent I never know if I’ll continue to feel that way, or if I’ll be hit with a Meniere’s attack or Migraine. However, I try to make the most out of every day.
- My favorite medical TV show is: Ummm, funny, I used to watch some medical TV shows, but I don’t any longer. I think I see too much of the medical community in person.
- A gadget I couldn’t live without is: I suppose I could “live” with out most gadgets, but there are some I wouldn’t want to! My Cochlear Implant, I can hear so much more now. My laptop -so many of my friends are in there!
- The hardest part about nights are: Trying to sleep, and trying to stay asleep. Fear. Fear of having an attack just as I’m falling asleep (this happens more than I’d like to admit), fear of waking up with a blinding headache……However, each night before I sleep I acknowledge my gratitude for the day, and plan what I’d like to do the next day. I always have hope I will have a good day, and if I don’t I still know I’ll get something out of it.
- Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please) 18 daily (this included the total number, not different medications), 5 as needed, 4 vitamins daily, and one B12 shot a week.
- Regarding alternative treatments I: have tried many, including chiropractic, acupuncture, certain vitamin routines…. I found medical massage helps my migraines and hip pain a lot. I also use a special diet to treat gluten and fructose intolerance.
- If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I don’t think anyone would choose to have an illness, but I’ll deal with the hand I’ve been dealt.
- Regarding working and career: I don’t work. I don’t have a career. Takes a lot out of conversations with others. My doctor suggested I look into filing for disability, but I haven’t done it yet.
- People would be surprised to know: I often don’t wash my hair for a month or more. Water on my head is a trigger for me, especially if I have to close my eyes. Luckily, my hair is pretty dry, and it’s long so I just tie it back.
- The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: There are a lot of times I have to say” I can’t” or “no” to people…and to myself. Losing most of my independence. Not being able to drive. And not being able to have a normal sex life.
- Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Find the positive. Become my own advocate. Fire a doctor.
- The commercials about my illness: The only one of my illnesses I’ve seen commercials for is Migraines. Commercials are always drug companies wanting you to talk to your doctor about their drug. I’m not comfortable with this, and normally the side effects they list are pretty scary.
- Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: I miss being able to go places alone. (the answer to this question changes often, but right now, not being able to go anywhere alone is very difficult.)
- It was really hard to have to give up: My hearing. Even with technological help, I have a cochlear implant (CI) and a hearing aid, it is still very hard to hear at times. I know my hearing with the CI will get better, but it has been very hard to loose all my hearing in one ear, and almost all of it in the other. Without technology, I can’t hear anything.
- A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Blogging. Reading a lot! I’ve always liked to read, but now it’s almost an obsession. (thank you to Kym for my Kindle! Oh. another gadget I wouldn’t want to live without.)
- If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: I would be so very thankful!! Then I’d spend a day pampering my husband, in and out of bed. ; )
- My illness has taught me: To be my own advocate. To be more tolerant…I thought I was tolerant before, but I realize I needed a wake up call on that one. That I’m not alone….this one relieves me because I needed to feel that someone understood, but it makes me so sad that others have to go through what I have. And that I can handle much more than I ever thought I could.
- Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: Any form of, telling me I’ll get better. “When you get better….”, “You will beat this….” NO, I won’t. This doesn’t go away. I may be able to find something to make it more tolerable, but it will never go away. And often treatments that work, stop working. I also hate it when people say, “You don’t deserve this” I know they are trying to be kind….but I never thought I deserved this! And one more….”But you look so good.“
- But I love it when people: Tell me how they are doing, want my opinion, want to talk to me as a friend…..Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind if someone asks about my illness, if they are interested and want to know more about it. But, sometimes I feel like people forget I’m anything more than my illness.
- My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: This may not be the life I expected, so I’m changing my expectations. I don’t know if this is a quote or anything, it’s simply something I thought one day and it has helped me through accepting a lot of things that have had to change.
- When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: Often people who have been recently diagnosed find my blog and it scares them, so I start off telling people: Everyone’s journey with Meniere’s is different. Most do not get to the stage I’m at, so please don’t think you are going to lose your hearing….or any number of things I’ve been though. I’m in the very rare group. I let them know there are many treatments to keep Meniere’s under control, and point them to sites and other bloggers who can give a different perspective. Most importantly, I assure them, they are not alone. They can contact me any time, and there are online groups.
- Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: That my husband and I have gotten even closer. Thank you to our therapist, I think having to go to a therapist about all of this surprised me too. I was not handling losing my independence very well, and hubby wasn’t communicating very well. But by going to a therapist we began to communicate out needs much easier, and recognize our needs. Another big surprise is that people will reach out to me. I’m very surprised that I’ve touched people, and made some honest friendships with people I’ve never met.
- The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: (This does not include things my husband does for me) Come to visit me. It doesn’t happen often, but I do enjoy other people’s company. I hate that I often have to cancel when someone wants to do something with me. I’m already so isolated, and if I have to cancel people often think I don’t want to see them, or I’m just too much trouble. I don’t blame them, most of my friends have families, and they have to work their schedule around a lot of things. So missing a visit makes it harder to make plans the next time.
- I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: Because I have more than one. Some people I love and care about have invisible illnesses. We need to let people know we are still people, but don’t judge us by how we look.
- The fact that you read this list makes me feel: That you care, and maybe you understand some things about me you didn’t before.
There is so much to tell, where do I start?
I think I’ll just make a list of things that have been going on, then I’ll expand on them later….with some pictures.
First, the day after I wrote my last post be got a Foster Puppy. (that’s why I promised the next post would be happier.) For 2 weeks, we have the love of a 5 month old lab/Shepherd mix…this is a big puppy. But he was adorable, and we loved spending the time with him, fortunately Max (our cat) did not share our enthusiasm. I’ll write more about that later.
Then I had a migraine that lasted for 5 days without letting up, my meds would take the edge off a little, but not much. I spent those 5 days in our bedroom with blankets on the windows, and the doors closed. Most of the time I also had my hearing devices off. The light and sound was so unbearable. I really hate have hormone headaches. And this month was horrible. The cramps, the ….well you know what happens during that time of the month, but I will say, this was one of the heaviest periods I’ve ever had. I’ve heard that some women right before they start menopause they have worse periods. But I really don’t know about that. I need to look up much more about menopause.
Hearing with my CI is getting better. Stuart and I went to a restaurant that I can never hear in, and I heard the waitress, I ordered for myself! I carried on a conversation! This are still a bit distorted, but I’m beginning to tell male voices from female. Some things sound as they should. More on this later.
Tonight my hubby made homemade chicken soup for me, can you guess why? That’s right, I woke up in the middle of the night last night with a cold. I can’t remember the last time I’ve sneezed so much, and where does all this stuff that’s coming out of my nose come from? Ick! (btw, that’s not a serious question)
I probably have more to tell, but my head is hurting too much now. And I should try to get some rest….and some tea…oh yes, some tea will make it better.
The chicken soup was AWESOME! if you’d like the recipe you can find it here: http://wendycooks.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-best-chicken-soup-ive-ever-eaten/
Stuart did change one thing. We just made a huge pot of Chicken Stock, much richer than the broth the recipe makes, so he used that for the liquid. Sure is funny how chicken soup can make a cold sufferer feel so much better.
It has been a very hard week. I won’t go into details as it concerns people in my family, and I won’t talk about my family on my blog again. I’ve been contemplating all week simply closing my blog and disappearing, or making it private. But that’s stress talking, I’ve found so much support here and I want to think I’ve given a lot of support and information here too. Plus I need a place to go and just get it out. Even when I can’t talk about all of it. Let’s just say, it’s settled for now….maybe.
On the 15th, I got hit with a huge stessor! I was under extreme stress and confusion for hours. Finally, things were calming down. I was relaxing in bed, tying to breathe in the ill feelings I felt towards me, and breathe out happiness and goodness to all. I decided to have a little pineapple Greek yogurt, with a banana and nuts for desert. It is delicious. Well, what I got to eat of it. Right when Stuart brought me my decadence, I had that Wonky feeling in my head…so I took my pills and hoped it was just a blip on the radar. (Yes I know, how could I think of eating if I was feeling Wonky, but I’ve been having a lot of Wonky spells that just turn into nothing lately.) Unfortunately, before I was even finished with my treat the world was in full spin! This was one of the longest attacks I’ve ever had….and one of the strangest. It was Meniere’s, not vertigo caused by a migraine. I went through all the stages…and all the grossness. (some how while throwing up I bashed my elbow on something, and it has had a knot on it since then. It’s getting better, but I was afraid I had broken it the next day.) Again, all the throwing up and losing all bodily functions. Not being able to lift my head, except to put it in a bucket. (I even threw up on our brand new carpet….not much, thank goodness, but Yuck!)
So the vertigo kept changing speeds, it would be wild, so fast I couldn’t recognize the things spinning by, then it would slow down to the point I thought it was going to stop any second….I even dozed off a few times, just to be jerked awake by vicious spinning again! This went on for over 16 hours. Luckily I didn’t throw up the whole time, I did keep heaving though. Even before I threw up the first time, I would have the worst muscle spasms and just heave, like I had dry heaves, but nothing had started yet. This often happens to me when I have an attack, at he beginning at least, I can’t figure out why. Why does it have to hurt so bad??
Even after the spinning stopped for the next day I kept feeling like they would start back up, I couldn’t walk straight. It was a very rough 2 days.
On Friday I had an appointment with my headache pain specialist (neurologist). I was supposed to get Botox shots for my migraines. Many people have had good results from this procedure. I was a bit nervous, they do 31 shots in your head and neck/shoulder area. Alas, I did not get it done. Once again our insurance did not send a pre-approval, they didn’t deny it, but they didn’t approve it either. Just like with the Cochlear Implant. What a pain in the butt that was. Luckily, they did pay for most of it. They didn’t cover a procedure that cost about $500, testing the device after they hooked it up to me to make sure everything worked right. Can you believe? What if they hadn’t tested it, and later found out part of it wasn’t working? I’d have to go through another surgery to replace it. How bizarre. Stuart called the insurance company on Monday, I have been approved for the procedure, it just seems no one knew it. So now I have to get another appointment with this doctor…..hope it’s soon.
Sunday I had another scare. but not with vertigo. Really I wasn’t scared, it’s happened before, and I’ve been checked out, still it’s uncomfortable and yeah, it’s a bit scary. I had heart palpitations. I figured out why, but it lasted a long time. I wasn’t as careful Sunday about what I ate or drank. I do not drink caffeine very often, and if I do, it’s just a little bit. I also don’t eat much sugar. Well…I wasn’t so bright on Sunday. We were out and I had Mandarin Orange Green Tea, not thinking that Green Tea has caffeine. That would have been fine, but later in the day we were at a store and I started feeling funny, and very thirsty, we couldn’t find anything that didn’t have either caffeine or sugar. I decided to take the caffeine since I wasn’t sure if the sugared drinks had fructose. I only drank about half of the soda. After dinner I decided to have some ice cream we bought, it is Fat Free, and I was thinking Sugar Free too. Not bright. I only had about half a cup, but it was enough. I started feeling strange. I thought my blood sugar had dropped, so I ate some protein. But it didn’t work. I was sitting on the couch watching TV with my hubby and I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. The doctor told me to massage one side of my neck, and it should help, she also said to put something cold on my wrist. Well I did both, for a long time. This lasted longer than I was comfortable with. Finally, things slowed down….and all was alright.
I hate how much I have to watch everything I put in my mouth. It would be difficult enough if that was all I had to deal with, but dealing with all my food issues and my other health issues is hard! I’m dealing with it, and I’m lucky I can eat as much as I can…right? I just need to be more diligent.
Well that’s all for this past week.
I promise my next post will be on a happier note.
Tuesday, July 31st, I woke up to this beautiful site:
I had an appointment with Dr. Kaylie to check my incision at 1pm, and then I saw the audiologist immediately afterward.
Dr. Kaylie was pleased that I didn’t have as much pain or vertigo with this surgery. The incision looked great, and all was a go for activation….well, to get my processor. Dr. Kaylie already checked to make sure the Implant was working when I was in surgery, so that wasn’t a worry. The implant was already working, but I couldn’t hear anything without the processor. It was time to get the processor. So off to see Sara, my audiologist.
It was very interesting to have the processor hooked up. At first I just heard a series of beeps, (that’s what I was supposed to hear). She was determining the volume each frequency should be. Then I was able to hear speech, and when I first heard her talk I busted out laughing! She sounded like a cartoon, then I heard Stuart speak, and he sounded like a cartoon…heck, I sounded like a cartoon. I kept giggling every time someone spoke. Everyone still sounds cartoonish. A very silly cartoon, like on Rodger Rabbit. It’s amusing but also quite difficult. Sara reassured me that all of her patients tell her that it gets better, but everyone is different. My brain has to be trained to hear a different way. Now I’m not hearing as a normal person, I’m hearing by having my auditory nerve stimulated. That kind of blows my mind. (I know my hearing will get better and better as time goes on, but I also know I may never hear like normal ears hear any longer.)
You would not believe how much stuff I got with my processors. Two HUGE boxes full of stuff.
I was joking in the last picture, I was shown what everything did, I just need to work with everything to make sure I understand how it works without anyone telling me, or me having to look it up. Especially all the connections to hook the processor straight up to the iPod, or things like that. The different ear hooks for different things with the Harmony. All the accessories just to make it different looking and some to clip the Neptune on to me, like an arm band and a lanyard…ect.
I have a drying box to keep the processors free of dampness. Each processor came with one, but I like one better than the other. There are different carrying cases, but neither will help organize all the pieces. I feel like I got some very useful items, some fun items, and some useless items. But it’s been like Christmas for a couple of days just playing around with all the pieces and figuring out how to wear them.
Here’s some photos of me with my CI hooked up with the different processors :
So there you have it. Me and my Cochlear Implant with the 2 processors I picked out.
Remember, picking out a processor is a very personal thing. I would never say mine is the best, if you are getting a cochlear implant, do as I did, read up as much as you can on all the ones available, then decide which one will fit in you the best.
Also. Everyone has different experiences with their CI. I’m hearing words, some people do not hear words when it is first turned on. Others hear words that are much clearer than what I am hearing. Some of it depends on how long you have been deaf, I don’t know the other factors…I just know we are different. So don’t think my experience is the same experience you will have.
The wonders continue!
OH….I did hear my cat purr last night, and it sounded like purring! I was thrilled! The one sound I’ve had a hard time getting used to is my own breath. I feel that’s strange….hopefully I’ll get used to it soon. Breathing shouldn’t be this loud….should it? I’m sure it’s something that will end up just going into the background. I remember when I got my hearing aids the sound of my hair brushing against them drove me crazy….later I didn’t even notice it.
Sorry I haven’t posted, and unfortunately this post won’t have photos, I promise they will be coming soon.
My surgeon told Stuart that my surgery went “perfect”. Yay!
Of course, I’m a weird patient….I had a reaction to the antibiotic. Not a severe reaction, but I looked like a clown. I had very red cheeks. Nothing serious, and it faded the next day, I didn’t even have to change my antibiotic, but we had to keep a watch out for a little while.
I also had a reaction to the adhesive they used to attach the heart monitor to me. I looked like I had huge hickies from an octopus hugging me. But again, nothing serious.
The pain isn’t bad. But it is there. Yesterday was worse, probably because I hate taking pain medication and was tired for feeling drunk. I am swollen, but I think it’s better than it was yesterday. I’m very tired, and I’m having some killer migraines. That’s why I haven’t posted before now. The migraines made it way too uncomfortable for me to look at the computer.
So….everything is fine! I’m doing well!
My Cochlear Implant will be activated on the 31st.
I’ll get photos up as soon as I get them off of my phone! They look much like the photos from the endolymphatic sac surgery…same smiley cup and everything. Wait until you see how much hair is gone! (really, not much at all, you can barely tell!)
off to sleep some more.
Thank you all for so many get well wishes.