Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An update on me

I am still experiencing mild dizziness, mild anxiety and I cannot sleep BUT I can tell that I am getting better with every day that passes. I have been going to an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor), a masseuse, an audiologist and I have a holistic doctor appt. tomorrow. It has been crazy with all the running around lately but it seems that I am following the correct path to recovery.

12/23-The ENT diagnosed me with vestibular neuritis over labyrinthitis. The only difference is labyrinthitis sufferers experience hearing loss and my tests have came back normal so far. The audiologist tested me before I saw the ENT. She found that the virus is likely in my right ear. She did lots of testing for hearing and balance. I passed the hearing test but my balance was off which indicates that one of my inner ears isn't functioning properly (duh, we already knew that, lol). She had me close my eyes and march in place for about a minute. When I opened my eyes, I had moved forward (which is normal) but then I turned to face the right side of the room. That is an indicator that the damage is in my right ear. This is all preliminary but we will have a further diagnosis soon.

12/29-I saw the audiologist again for a VEMP (Vestibular-Evoked Myogenic Potential) test. I had to turn my head to tighten my neck muscles during it. I had electrodes on my neck muscles and just below them. She placed a plug into one ear at a time and then it would play some loud sounds while I strained my neck muscle. It was awkward but didn't hurt. I don't know what the results of the test were but it will be a piece of the puzzle once all of my testing has been completed.

12/31-I have an interesting appointment with a holistic doctor up in Fort Collins tomorrow. It's strange how I got hooked up with her. I have never been a person to believe in natural medicine (where are the good drugs???), lol. What happened was I went to the spa to get a massage earlier this month (Clayton bought me 3 for Christmas-gotta love that man!). My masseuse knew exactly what I was going through on the anxiety side. She had suffered major anxiety attacks stemming back 5 years ago when she was involved in a car accident, lost 3 family members and her mother was diagnosed with cancer. She had really been put through the ringer that year, to say the least. We compared symptoms and we had many similarities (fear, withdrawal behavior from normal activities, headaches, inability to sleep, mind racing, distorted vision, etc.). I asked her what all she did to get rid of the anxiety and she told me that she tried lots of different methods that involved all sorts of doctors, counselors, gurus, quacks, etc. The one person that helped her the most was the holistic gal that I will be seeing tomorrow. She told me that I needed to be open-minded about my experience and to trust her. It's worth a shot, in my opinion. If my masseuse can go through all that misery and come out okay on the other side then this gives me hope.

1/7-My VNG test is scheduled for this day but I keep trying desperately to get the appt. sooner. This will be the best test I can do to pinpoint my inner ear issue. Once I get this test over with, the audiologist will be able to help me regain my eye coordination using vestibular rehabilitation therapy. Basically, I have to retrain my damaged nerve to work correctly so that it can function properly. I dread the prep for this test because I won't be able to take any meds 48 hours beforehand. Ugh, I don't need Valium all that often (only when my ear starts to bother me and I get dizzy or anxious) but not taking Ambien is going to be hard. I did somehow manage to go to sleep on my own last night so hopefully I can get back into my normal sleep habits before the VNG. I just don't like knowing that I won't be able to take anything 48 hours before it. That scares me just a little bit. 4 hours before the test, I can't eat or drink. I hope that I don't get a headache or lightheaded.

1/14-All the tests will have been interpreted by now so the puzzle will finally come together. I will hopefully know exactly what I am dealing with at this point and how damaged my vestibular nerve is. I will begin VRT (vestibular rehabilitation therapy) on this day with exercises that have been prescribed just for me and my condition. I can't wait!!

2/3-I go back to the ENT for a check-up. This will have been 6 weeks since he diagnosed me with vestibular neuritis.

I know that is alot of jibber jabber but I needed to write all of this down so that my family back home can track my progress. Sorry for the lack of fun stuff. I do have some pics to post soon of my family ice skating and on Christmas morning. ;)

The vestibular system is the part of the inner ear and the brain which helps control balance and eye movement. Although your balance system is located primarily in the inner ear, it is connected with the brain, the eyes and the sensory nerves throughout your body. Each of these centers sends and receives messages to the others causing you to feel dizziness when there is damage to the vestibular nerve.