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Living with a Chronic Disease

 

I would never actually say that I have a dis-ease. I don’t. This thing doesn’t define me. My body needed healing and I needed to figure out what was the root issue.   

In my college years, I started experiencing the world’s worst vertigo episodes. This wasn’t like I-stood- up-too-fast kind of feeling, it was more like 24 hours of riding Disneyland’s Tea-Cups-from-hell. 

To try to explain these episodes is challenging. My world wouldn’t stop swing around me. Most often, the vertigo was so awful I wouldn’t be able to stop vomiting.  I couldn’t move because my balance was completely off. I couldn’t walk. Sometimes I couldn’t even crawl. Noise was horrible. Light was worse. The tinnitus is my ear was loud. The only thing I could do was TRY to sleep it off. And it would usually take no less than 24 hours to feel normal again.  

To make matters worse, these episodes would come out of NO WHERE. Sometimes I would wake in the morning with a vertigo attack or I could start to feel myself go in the middle of the day. It happened at work. It happened at home. It happen when I was traveling. It violently happened when I was cooking dinner. It happened when I was at Disneyland. It happened when I was driving. There was no rhyme or reason. No food, stress or any obvious consistent trigger. I was at the mercy of these episodes.

The episodes got exponentially worse when I became pregnant with my first child. This was concerning but even more alarming when I was alone with a four-week old baby and had an episode (apparently nursing wasn’t helping the illness). It wasn’t until I feared for my baby’s safety that I decided it was time to see a specialist. 

Why did it take me so long to see an Ears Nose Throat (ENT) doctor about this? Honestly, I didn’t believe that doctors would have answers for me. I had ended up in the Emergency Room several times because of these episodes and the doctors were completely baffled.  I have also had a previous record of mysterious issues that no one could figure out what was happening or why, like chronic ankle pain in high school. Since I couldn’t identify any kind of pattern or triggers, I wondered how they could tie it to anything.

When I finally saw an ENT, I was (slightly) relieved that he could give me a name for it. “Ménière’s Disease.”  But no surprise to me, the doctor hardly had any advice.  He told me it’s attributed to “high salt diet” and there is only one way to try to cure it which included sticking a needle into my ear and hoping I didn’t lose my hearing. 

I actually considered this for a hot minute…Then I woke up. 

What in the actual F?! That’s all you got, Doc?!

Science has come a long way. Yes, I am grateful for all the knowledge we have but when it comes to my own personal experiences, they say “there isn’t anything you can do!” way too often.  How can eating a low salt diet (which didn’t  help, I tried) and putting a needle in my ear be the ONLY solution?! 

I call BS! 

With so much wisdom in the world, we don’t have to limit ourselves to just western medicine. 

While I was coping with the random episodes, my lifestyle was drastically changing since becoming a mom. I started:

  1. Reading labels and educating myself on ingredients
  2. Consciously eating more whole foods (fruits and veggies), less meat and less gluten
  3. Seeking out non-gmo and organic options 
  4. Replacing pharmaceuticals with DōTERRA essential oils & taking their Lifelong Vitality supplements on a daily basis
  5. Eliminating toxins and fragrance from the home (i.e. cleaners, soaps, personal products, air fresheners, etc)
  6. Avoiding toxins put directly into my system (i.e. flu shots & vaccines)

As my whole lifestyle changed, the episodes seemingly decreased. By the time I became pregnant with my second baby, I stayed proactive and sought out acupuncture. These sessions combined with my whole lifestyle shift continued to keep my episodes at bay. I didn’t have a single episode during my most susceptible time, while pregnant or while nursing with my second child!

I can’t help but get emotional looking back and realizing how far I have come from the days of agony and confusion. I kept living my life and making the changes I needed to make one piece at a time and it’s given me over two years (and counting) of freedom. 

I would never wish Ménière’s Disease upon anyone and I pray that someday I can help or inspire someone who struggles with a chronic disease such as this one. 

 

By |2019-05-02T14:41:01+00:00March 15th, 2019|Chronic Disease, Chronic Illness|0 Comments

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