I’m just going to go ahead and make this day all about blogging, with a little laundry in between. Taking full advantage of nap time!
So, this is the post I have been waiting to write for months, and now I can finally do it! As most of my readers know my journey started in the beginning of September. I’m not going to go into details, but feel free to catch up here
For 6 months it has been such a whirlwind of emotions, questions, bills piling up, chaos and frustration. Needless to say, our household was falling apart.
Everyday Chris is not at work, he doesn’t get paid. You can do the math on how fast money was going out and nothing was coming in. Stressful doesn’t even describe the pressure we (mostly he as he tried to shield me from it all) were under.
Chris was taking off work to take care of me and the kids, because I could do nothing but lay on the couch or the bed for a good 4-5 weeks. Then when I could get up and do things, I had to be holding onto anything and everything to make sure I didn’t fall. Carrying a baby was dangerous, but I managed when I had to. Then it was uncertain when the dizzy spells would occur, five mins after I stood up, 30 mins after I stood up or maybe not for an hour or so.
I was living in complete Hell. Taking medications that only made me feel worse plus the weight gain on top of the post pregnancy plump aka PPP, and having to give up breastfeeding. Having to be dependent on someone, when you are dependent on their income, is never a good situation. Chris was growing frustrated. Not just because he knew what would happen if he didn’t get back to work soon, but because his wife was suffering from something that we had no answers for.
We have some great friends who helped us with dinners, being caretakers, to drivers and some family who sent a little green paper to help. We are eternally grateful for all you did!
Finally, by December I could go days without a dizzy spell. My balance was coming back too! Praise God, it was coming back!! Balance is a very important component to living. I was paralyzed, just not in literal sense. I couldn’t walk, carry my baby, cook dinner, drive and there were times, especially in the beginning I couldn’t lift my head. It had to be propped up on a pillow. Months of this was depressing, nonetheless.
From what my doctor told me, the inner ear hemorrhage I sustained is mainly seen in patients that had trauma to the head. I was asked repeatedly, if I had been hit and not remember it. I told the nurse that the only way was if Chris beat me that night, and I never remembered it. That nurse did not laugh, but I did get a smile out of my ENT doc. I thought it was funny.
My ENT told me that once someone sustains an injury like mine, you do not come back from it. The damage is irreversible. I opted for the $1500.00 steriod shot in my eardrum in hopes it would bring back some hearing and hopefully my balance would follow. I have about a 90% loss of hearing in my right ear.
This is what I know to date. Doctors still do not have answers for me. I was seen by a number of doctors, to only tell me “I’m sorry I don’t have an answer for you.” Do you know how frustrating that is? Spending hundreds of dollars for initial first time visits to specialist after specialist, thousands on testing and to get a ‘we don’t know’. Every doctor I saw was more than kind. They worked with me, stumped and obviously wanting to help. They just couldn’t understand why. I saw an Oncologist that I spoke to for a total of 15 mins, and had to pay close to 800.00 for that visit. Seriously? I had hope though. I thought if I had to pay that much, he would have some sort of news the next time I saw him with the results in my blood work. I was thrilled the next time I saw him! I was thrilled to find out I did not have cancer or some horrible blood disorder. After he told me that, he showed me my blood work. Most was normal, but I did have a few numbers that were borderlined. I cannot remember what that was off hand, but I found out I wasn’t dying. YAY! “Now what? What is your answer for me?” I asked. He said he had no clue. I cannot remember how many other doctors I saw before him, but I remember I was crushed to not know why this is happening to me. As the money quickly ran out, and the patience grew weary. I wanted to see another doctor, like I wanted more dizziness.
I was finished. Done.
I learned I couldn’t plan anything. I had to do things as I felt that day, in that moment. Because it would all change in an instant. After not getting any direction from the doctors I saw, I started to pay attention to when my dizzy spells would hit me. Not to go into too much detail, but I learned it was based on my cycles. Then I looked back to the first awful day where my life changed. It was on my first day, of my first cycle from having Sophia. I was breastfeeding her, so hormones were all over the place as it was. Every month, BAM I would be hit with debilitating vertigo. So bad, I couldn’t move. One moment I would be fine, the next I would be collapsed on the floor vomiting having my son go get daddy, or the neighbor or anyone. I started to take notes, on every single day during a months time. It would take me days to recover from the vertigo. The dizzy spells would last anywhere from 5-10 days. More days Chris had to take off of work, or arrange his schedule. Then the overwhelming exhaustion, so bad it took everything I had to get out of bed.
I did not want to be left alone, ever. I ran so many ‘what if’s’ in my head it was ridiculous. I was scared. There were many moments I would be in bed, and a pain would shoot through my head to my ear and I thought that was it. Or, pains shooting through my neck to my brain, and thinking any second a vessel is going to burst and kill me instantly. I was afraid I was having some sort of relapse that would kill me. I began to think the doctors over looked something on my MRI scans and I was really dying. I would tell Chris if he was up late working, to check on me throughout the night, and to ALWAYS make sure I was still alive before he left for work in the morning. I did not want my children to find me in my bed, dead. I went over emergency plans with the kids in case I collapsed when daddy was at work. How to use a smartphone, and to run to the neighbors. I prayed all the time. Even when I was frustrated and angry, my mom would tell me, just pray. So, I did.
Which leads me to what we did.
Chris is a certified FDN (Functional Diagnostic Nutrition) practitioner. What is that? As I am writing a book as it is, here is an explanation on that. He put his certification into practice on me back in November. We ran a hormone screen. (His whole thing is body function, as a whole, and not to try to identify one thing. Our bodies are a linking system. Everything is linked. Such an example is something as simple as tooth pain, it can be a result in an upcoming heart attack.) We found out my body had bottomed out, hormone wise. Basically “presenting” as premenopausal, and at Stage 2, Adrenal Fatigue. My body has never been regular. I didn’t think much of it, that was ‘normal’ for me. I have never been like clock work, so after the 3rd child I think my body just crashed. The hormone balance was so out of whack that the other parts of my system then tried to compensate, or that’s the way I understand it. I cannot say it is a direct link to my inner ear hemorrhage, but the fact that it happened when it did, it is the closest thing to an answer we have. To follow the FDN model of D.R.E.S.S to restore function in my body I had to address those very things-Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress Reduction and Supplementation. In which case, I have only done a few of them. For the stress reduction that is a work in progress….I cannot get rid of Chris, ya know. 😉
My diet was horrible during and after my pregnancy with Sophia. If it wasn’t caked with sugar I didn’t want to eat it. As most of you know white sugar is poison in itself. I’m not going to go into all the nutrition part of it, but realized my diet had to change. I retain a lot of water during my cycles, so much so, it can look like I am 6 months pregnant. Perfect! After lots of note taking, I noticed on my ‘fat days’ my head feels so full, especially my ears. The pressure is horrible, and that is when my hearing is the most sensitive. So, going back to the inner ear hemorrhage being linked to my cycle, it’s not unlikely it burst because my body was too weak and too out of sorts, that the extra water weight could set something like that off.
What did I do? After testing, first thing I did was I started on Bioidentical Hormones. Why not just take synthetic hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are plant based and work with your body to fix itself for the long haul. Sort of like a reset. To reteach a path way and not necessarily replace it. They are structurally identical to the hormones in your own body. They match your own individual hormonal needs, as the synthetic uses a more “one size fits all’ approach.
Synthetic hormones are chemically based compounds that are not identical to what the human body produces. In which case can have some crazy side effects. I always laugh when I hear of birth control ads on TV, Heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, weight gain (which I DO NOT need more of) and other things are just some examples of things I would like to avoid. As in this 10 year NIH study that was shut down after 5.5 years because the benefits did not outweigh the risks.
Bioidenticals tend to take longer to notice a change, especially in this quick fix society. In fact, I came very close to throwing in the towel. I think people can only take so much of things. However, I truly believe God’s hands were on me and keeping me patient. If he wasn’t I would have gone mad long ago. Chris and I would get into arguments because I would tell him, it wasn’t working and I needed a quick fix NOW! Patience is a virtue I tend to not possess. There is a prayer that I have heard, and said many a times. God, please give me patience and give it to me NOW! He always showed me who was in control, and would show me small blessings every now and then, usually when I needed it the most.
Second was cleaning up my diet. As part of Chris’ FDN certifcation he also runs tests on food sensitivities. I haven’t had this done yet, but because I was so desperate to get off this vertigo whirlwind I would do anything. That meant drastic changes. I cut out sugar, wheat, dairy, eggs, alcohol and peanut butter. Oh man! Sugar and dairy were my 2 hardest things to get off of. Every day I had 2 green smoothies which consisted of Kale, celery, carrots, apple, lemon, and parsley. I thought I would spit it out once I drank it, but it actually was not bad. It even got better as I went days without sugar. I was retraining my taste buds. That was another God thing. I couldn’t have done it without Him. I was actually doing better at surpassing the goodies than Chris was.
Lastly, exercise. The very thought of showering put me into a lethargic spiral, so how in the world was I going to exercise?! I didn’t until just recently, like a couple of weeks ago. One thing I haven’t fully recovered from is the constant over stimulation I feel when I leave small spaces. Things that I can just now do, 6 months after: Going for walks, going to stores (Walmart, Grocery stores, department stores, anything like that), being with big crowds. The over stimulation I feel is something I cannot quite get the hang of explaining. I guess the only way I can explain it is, this is how newborns must feel. And, since we cannot remember what it feels like to be a newborn, you may not really get what I am saying. I go grocery shopping when I know Chris is coming with me. I have to push the cart or the feeling of falling over is too great. Not that my body can’t stabilize, but the feeling is great. Again, I don’t know how to explain it. Chris still does the grocery shopping for me, in all reality I just don’t think I am there completely to do it by myself, yet.
March was an exhausting month. Chris’ dad died of cancer March 16th. We drove back to Omaha a few days before and was gone for over a week. While all this happened, I got off my schedule. The eating schedule, sporadic hormone taking, no exercise and back to sugar and all things bad. Not only was it exhausting it was stressful. Driving straight through to Omaha with 3 kids, 1 who hates to travel plus the death of my father-in-law, and then getting news my dog at home is dying and I had to put her down while I was away. I figured I was up for some major sickness.
I was waiting for the massive hit of vertigo any day. Any hint of a clue it was coming I popped a pill. Charting my symptoms and all, I found out even the slightest temperature change can set me into a dizzy spell, if it was either during ovulation or the start of my cycle. I waited and waited. I would get bits of a possible feeling, and then it would go away. I was armed and ready.
It never came! Now being in April, and just getting off of a messed up cycle, I did not have 1 dizzy spell! NOT ONE!!!! I felt what has become the normal changes in my hearing, my ear pressure, and my ear ringing was back, but the vertigo never followed! I cannot tell you how huge this is, people. HUGE!
Six months of this crap, and hopefully it is gone for good. God is good. I have prayed and prayed for this, as well as my mom and many other people prayed for me. Prayer in numbers is amazing, just amazing!
I’m just now getting back to my old routine, so kicking out sugar, dairy and wheat for good. No doubt in my mind that had as much to do with it as the hormone therapy.
On my recent walks, the walks do not seem to be as bothersome as before. I don’t feel as over stimulated as before. I hope to one day start running again, but I cannot do anything that bounces my head. It is very uncomfortable, and I haven’t tested if it will put me into a dizzy spell lately or not. It’s not important enough for me to find out right now.
Finally, I am enjoying photography again, and well as being a mother. I couldn’t tell you how many times I wanted to just go to bed and not deal with anyone or anything. It’s finally coming around, and I cannot be any more grateful as I am.
I knew this would be long post, but in reality how could it not be? This is a big thing for me. Thanks for sticking around and reading it.