I remember when my mom was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. People get dizzy and they get over it. How can being dizzy put you in bed for days? I’d been dizzy before…it comes over you like a wave of wind: you can’t see it but you can see it affects-you’re off balance and then you get over it. Right?
I can’t believe I was so naive, so ignorant, so judgmental. It’s almost funny. The one thing I didn’t understood and didn’t “get” I got.
It was a few weeks before Christmas 2014 and my husband was giving me a hard time for not listening to him (again). I told him (again) that I never heard him and asked if he could repeat himself. This happened several times a day. I finally got frustrated and told him that I really wasn’t hearing him and I make a side comment about how I’m probably loosing my hearing. He then, very seriously, looked at me and told me that if I really thought I was loosing my hearing that I needed to see an ear doctor and get my hearing tested.
I made an appointment with an Ear Nose Throat doctor and had an appointment right before Christmas break. Dr. Kreutzer was so thorough and professional. He said that based on my hearing test that I was loosing my hearing in my right ear but he didn’t know why yet. He wanted to run some more tests but I couldn’t see him until after I got back from the Valley after Christmas. He asked if I was ever dizzy and I told him I was but I thought it was normal. I would become off balance and slightly dizzy throughout the day, but it left as soon as it came and it never really bothered me. Dr. Kreutzer said that I could have Meniere’s and I responded,”My mom has that!” He looked straight at me and said,”Well, then that is the problem! You have Meniere’s disease too.” He said he’d run the tests after Christmas just to rule brain tumors and cancer out, but it was 99% likely that I had Meneiere’s Disease since it was highly hereditary. He prescribed me some medicine for the meantime to reduce the amount of liquid in my ear and help with the dizziness and told me to immediately cut salt from my diet.I cried a little on my way home but it didn’t hit me for a few weeks until I was in Texas for Christmas. I was experimenting with my medication (bad move, I know) because I felt dizzier on it than off it and then one day, it happened. I was outside holding Lore, chatting with friends and suddenly I lost all ability to stand up straight. I was falling over like a pillar. It happened slowly enough that I handed/tossed Lore to my husband, but fell over I did. Thankfully someone caught me before I hit the ground, but it was really scary. The next morning I collapsed while working out. I couldn’t pick up my head for 20 minutes. I finally cried. I cried a lot. I was loosing my ability to balance and my hearing. You see, this disease is chronic AND degenerative. Chronic means no cure–I’ll always have it and it will only get worse.
relief.My medicine is now working. I can stand upright and I don’t get dizzy that oftenanymore but my hearing loss is permanent and there is no cure. I’ve lost about 30% of my hearing in my right ear and it always feels FULL like when you’re in an airplane and your ears won’t pop.
For a while I was depressed about it. I cried, fought God, and even tried denial for a bit. When I’m on my medication it is easy to forget that I have this until I forget my meds and I start having dizzy spells again. Then I can’t stand upright and I’m like oh yea…i have this thing.
I’m now able to be more optimistic. One good thing I’ve learned is that the disease only attacks one ear at a time and after it’s laid waste to one ear, it may take years to move to the other side. At least I’m not going deaf in both ears at the same time! Like I said…trying to be positive. I’m much better now and some days I don’t even think about it. I am able to be much more positive about it and I’m not upset anymore.