November has been a tough month. Mostly because when something is wrong, it’s my instinct to hide it. Ignore it and pretend it’s not happening. I’m incredibly good at rationalizing away whatever bad, scary thing is happening until it overwhelms me.
In early November, I stared having episodes of dizziness and lightheadedness. Feeling like I was rocking when I wasn’t–it reminded me of motion sickness. I thought it was stress. Then I blamed a virus.
I pushed myself to keep going because this wasn’t serious. I was fine. I was fine. I was fine.
The episodes grew more frequent and started interfering with my thinking. Everyday tasks became harder to perform. I had to focus to make breakfast. I started doing things out of order. I was mixing up words when I spoke. My short term memory was hazy. I felt like I was drunk without touching a sip of liquor. My mind wasn’t mine anymore.
I didn’t say anything. Because if I said something that would make it real and this was too scary to make real.
Finally, I decided it had to be a bad ear infection. That’s how I convinced myself to go to the doctor. By telling myself it was simple and treatable. When I went to the doctor, he ran a few tests and ruled out certain things. Unfortunately, it’s not a middle ear infection.
Right now, we think it’s an inner ear issue. I have to wait two weeks for a test to determine what inner ear issue it is (there are over a dozen possibilities) or if it’s actually a problem with my brain. (They cannot treat the vertigo until they are clear on what is causing it.)
A week ago, things got really bad. I started talking slower and having trouble organizing my words into sentences. My ears started hurting–deep inside my skull. And ringing–constantly ringing.
I had trouble walking. The dizziness and lightheadedness and spinning feeling all became constant. The nausea was overwhelming. I’d forget to eat because I was so sick. Headaches became my daily companions. My scalp tingled and I got these weird rushes up the back of my head like I was going to faint, but I didn’t.
Right now, that’s all still happening.
If I sneeze, laugh, cough, or blow my nose, I lose all sense of balance. It feels like I actually move a foot outside of my body going either up or forward. I have to grab onto something solid or risk falling over.
It’s incredibly scary. So I wanted to be honest with you, my readers and my friends.
I can’t function like I used to. I can only be on the computer for limited amounts of time because it makes all my symptoms worse. It’s no longer just me spinning, the ground actually feels like it’s undulating beneath me and the room sometimes tilts.
The scariest part is feeling like I’m losing myself.
I wear sea sickness bands to cut the nausea down. I lie in bed and watch movies because that makes the world and me stop spinning. And I try really hard to do some of my normal tasks like dishes and laundry. They require so much more focus and energy than they ever have.
But I’m still here. And that counts.