Followup ENT Appointment

I had my followup two weeks ago but got caught up in so many things (and dizziness, and lightheadedness, and migraines) I didn’t get the chance to write about it. And actually, there isn’t much to write about. The ENT asked if I’ve experienced any changes since my last appointment in November; I told him I didn’t. Things are not that much better but fortunately, not worse either. He essentially told me that nothing much can be done and I will have to learn to cope and live with MAV. His response didn’t surprise me, as in fact I had been thinking, really, can anything be done? ENT gave me an open date and told me to make another appointment if I ever need to. I guess that means I’m discharged and my case is closed. 

I don’t know if I should see another doctor. I’ve been to quite a few and I don’t think I can bear seeing more, and hearing the same thing over and over again. Plus, specialists don’t come cheap. Maybe I do indeed have migraine-associated vertigo and I should just accept it and stop questioning and wondering and doubting. Compared to many others, my dizziness hasn’t been very debilitating. I’m still able to function more or less normally, although of course I usually have to put in a lot of effort, and there are bad days too. Although I wish I could go back to my pre-dizzy days, I know that may never be possible, and I’m just grateful for all that I have right now.

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Updates and I’m 30!

I haven’t been in the mood to write. The past few weeks have been rather difficult. I had a few good days where the dizziness was minimal and I was  full of energy. Unfortunately, this good streak was followed by a not-so-good one. Since early February I’ve been feeling imbalanced almost all the time. “Almost” because there are pockets of time when I’m so distracted or focused on something I don’t notice my dizziness as much.

The past weeks have also been marked by many family gatherings and parties, all of which I pushed myself to attend. Some events I felt good attending; others not so much. I try my best to live my life as normally as possible but I can’t help feeling defeated by dizziness sometimes.

In an effort to be as “normal” as possible, I celebrated my birthday yesterday, even though I really didn’t feel like it just a few days ago. I didn’t have a big party. Just a simple, loving one with my family. I had a great day but was a little sad; who isn’t when their 20s are over? I’m now 30. A little older, but definitely a lot wiser. Here’s to many more happy years with more good days than bad!

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Versatile Blogger Award!

I never expected to be nominated for an award for my blog! Especially when it’s rather new and I haven’t posted as much as I should have…A big THANK YOU to Debbie from Faith, Hope and a Fighting Spirit and Maureen from sunshine and chaos for the nomination; I’m really honoured. Debbie and Maureen are amazing women who  inspire me to live a fulfilling life despite chronic illness.

Receiving this award involves listing 7 things people may not know about me and nominating 5 other blogs. Here goes the list:

1) Dolls make me uncomfortable. I believe the name for this fear is Pediophobia. It started when I first watched Child’s Play starring the evil doll Chucky. After that, whenever I saw a doll, I would think of Chucky. My daughter J loves dolls though and I encourage her to play with them, but every night before I sleep, I make sure the dolls are kept in a box, closed.

2) I majored in Psychology in university and worked in the defence ministry for a few years before leaving to be a trailing spouse then a stay-at-home mum.

3) I have a weakness for chicken wings and potato chips, especially the salty types. I’ve heard that people with vestibular problems should stay away from salt but I just can’t! I don’t think salt has any effect on my dizziness though.

4) I love wearing heels. High ones. I’m only 1.56m so I really love heels. However, chasing a toddler around the park/shopping mall/supermarket etc wearing stilletoes is a bad idea. So now I’m usually in wedges or flats.  If there is a special occasion, it’s always heels though. Oh, and strangely, I actually feel a little less off-balance in heels.

5) My favourite book is Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.

6) My favourite colour is purple.

7) *taking a deep breath* I was bulimic in university and had to go for counselling. And when my daughter J was born, I had postnatal depression and had to go for counselling again.

So that’s my 7! I don’t follow many blogs and most of those I follow have already received the award. Blogs like Debbie’s and Maureen’s, also Wendy from Picnic with Ants and Allison from Taking Life for a Spin.

I do follow two other non-health related blogs though:

– mun from Life After 38. mun has been following my blog since it started and has always been positive and encouraging. I enjoy reading her posts about life in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

– meiteoh from theScarfer . I’ve been reading her blog since her days in Singapore and now France. She’s an amazing mother and cook. I really wonder how she does it!

Thanks again for the award and I hope all of you enjoy the blogs!

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Christmas Come and Gone

I’m always sad when Christmas is over. As I was packing away the tree last night, I  wondered  what life would be like next Christmas. Would J have settled well in nursery, would she finally be toilet-trained, would I find a new apartment, would my husband find a better job, and of course, would my dizziness be gone? And what about my neuropathic pain…?

A few readers know about my neuropathy but I’ve not written about it in this blog since I wanted to focus on dizziness. However, packing away the tree last night made me wonder if on top of dizziness, I’m going to be a chronic pain patient forever.

It’s a long story. To summarise, I’ve been experiencing pain in an area in my lower gums and teeth for about 17 months now. It happened after a cracked tooth and various dental procedures. The oral surgeons have not been able to find out what’s wrong. The official diagnosis is nerve damage, or neuropathy, and it may or may not go away. The pain has lessened considerably since that fateful day in August 2010 but it’s still there nonetheless. Like my dizziness, it is 24/7, with good and bad days. I’ve tried a myriad of drugs but they either don’t work, knock me out completely or give me terrible vertigo. Anyway, I’m off all meds now and coping well but there are always times when I wish I were pain-free.

Back to the tree. Removing the tinsel,  taking down the ornaments, putting away the tree, was frankly, depressing. And all those questions with no answers made me even more depressed. But a new year is approaching, and I should focus on hope, shouldn’t I?

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Busy Weeks

I’ve been trying to live as normal a life as possible these past few weeks. I went to supermarkets, department stores, DIY stores (these are unexpectedly tough), parks and gardens (anywhere with wide open spaces including the airport), ate at busy restaurants. I tried to face my “dizzy triggers” and do the things I would have done if I weren’t dizzy. Some days were more successful than others. Whenever I felt like I was going to be overwhelmed, I would go to a quiet corner (hard to find one during this time of year!), take deep breaths and try to relax. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I would try not to go home but there were a few occasions when I really panicked, rushed into a cab and went home.

I can’t really tell if doing all these has lessened my dizziness. I’m still dizzy almost all the time but I think pushing myself to do the above has helped to reduce my fear of going out. I haven’t tried going out on my own though, but with a companion, I feel I can manage my dizziness. I still experience headaches, but don’t know if the headaches cause the dizziness, or the dizziness causes the headaches. Hopefully, my dizziness improves, or I learn to live better with it.

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ENT Appointment

I finally went for my ENT appointment on Wednesday. He did a few tests, some which I’ve done before at the neurologist’s. I also had a hearing test done. The results were normal. Conclusion? He said I wasn’t having Meniere’s or labyrinthitis since my hearing is fine. Neither am I having BPPV as I don’t experience any severe spinning with sudden movements. Vestibular Neuritis (VN) was a possibility; my balance system may not be compensating well which can give rise to a constant sense of imbalance. However, he felt that given my history of migraines, Migraine Associated Vertigo (MAV) was more likely. Apparently, VRT doesn’t really help when it comes to MAV. I told him I still wanted to give VRT a go but he told me to see him again three months later for a review before deciding. Maybe things would be better then (not too sure about that!).

Is my dizziness really due to MAV? The VR therapist had also suggested MAV. Has anyone received a diagnosis of MAV? How did you manage your condition? Comments would be appreciated :))

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Poor J!

It’s been a traumatic week. Last Wednesday, my daughter J, had a temperature of 38C which rapidly rose to 41C in four hours. I quickly brought her to the Emergency department where she went into a fit. I wasn’t by her side when the fit happened; I was at the registration counter. But my parents were. All I remember was hearing a commotion behind me and when I turned around, I saw my parents and nurses rushing through a “No Entry” door. Then I heard the paging over the intercom and I knew something had happened to J.

When I went into the room and saw J, my heart just broke. The poor girl was lying on her side, an oxygen mask over her face, tubes everywhere and about seven nurses and doctors around her. I was so overwhelmed I cried. It was the worst kind of despair I had ever felt in my 29 years. Thankfully, she regained consciousness after a few minutes, although it felt like hours to me.

For the next two days, J was warded in the hospital. My husband took leave from work and we took turns to be with her. He did the night shift and I did the day shift. J’s temperature came down gradually and on Friday, we brought her home.

The doctors told me J had febrile fits and once a child has experienced an episode, the chances of another one happening the next time a high fever strikes is 30%. 30%! That’s a really high percentage. So I’ve been really paranoid. I take her temperature three times a day and I’ve even thought of withdrawing her from daycare. I don’t know if that’s necessary though; there are viruses and germs everywhere.

Fortunately, febrile fits usually stop occurring after the age of six. I’m praying really hard that another episode never happens.

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