Journal entry from July 27, 2011:
I’m feeling a little better tonight. I’m more alert and present. My focus and cognitive functioning seems better. It’s almost like a cloud has lifted and the brain fog I was feeling is gone. I didn’t feel any movement when laying down to go to sleep last night, which was great. Reading and using the computer is easier too. I hate having to sleep on the couch, but for some reason I feel much more secure there. I can prop my head up on the big pillows and tuck myself into the corner. I’m much less likely to roll over or fall off the couch this way. Our bed seems so high up. What if I fell off at night? As much as I dislike sleeping on the couch, for now it will have to do.
My appointment with the physical therapist was moved up by a week due to my persistent calling. A one week wait didn’t seem so bad. It’s certainly better than two weeks! Since I was feeling a bit better, I used some of my time to research the different causes of dizziness. I found a great website with a forum called dizzytimes.com. What I read on the site comforted me, yet terrified me at the same time. I watched a video posted on the site about a girl and she shared her personal ordeal with Labyrinthitis, or Labs, as it is called for short. I sat and wept while watching it. As bad as I felt, my experience seemed to pale in comparison to hers. I cried tears not only for her, but for myself as I wondered what I might possibly face in the future. Would my symptoms get worse? I was learning a lot reading the message boards and saw that there were many things that could cause dizziness. All the symptoms were like pieces of a puzzle that I was trying to solve. I was playing doctor, yet I was the patient. As I read the stories of others suffering from dizziness and correlating symptoms, I thought of the statement, “God will never give you more than you can bear”. I struggled with that thought, I still believed it, yet a sliver of doubt began to taunt my mind. I thought of Jesus as He bore death on the cross and the agony He endured. If you’ve ever.seen the movie “The Passion of The Christ,” you know what sort of torture Christ went through to redeem us. I thought of people who had suffered some really bad and unexplainable things- things that don’t seem fair or right. A scripture (2 Corinthians 12:9) comforted me: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. I asked myself “What is God asking me to bear”? “What is the purpose of this “? I knew that this was testing my level of trust in God and also my faith in who He says He is, and all that He promises to those that are believers in His word. I’d either trust Him or I wouldn’t; this is where the rubber was meeting the road.
The next few days were a mixture of good and bad. There were times I felt like I was being pulled towards my right side, as if a weight or magnet were pulling me over. I never fell, nor was it noticeable to others, yet I felt it internally. Sometimes when I would be on the computer the computer and desk would be moving forward and backwards and my eyes would hardly be able to focus. I’d have to turn it off. I went walking quite often not only for exercise, but to keep my spirits up, most of the time it felt like I was swaying when I walked, yet I had a normal gait to anyone that would have observed me. If I stood still and closed my eyes I would feel a backwards pull. I didn’t do that very often! I’d also noticed something new, a feeling of fullness mostly in my right ear and occasionally in my left. It felt plugged up. This feeling would come and go.
I didn’t really go many places for a few days, I was almost becoming housebound. The fear of what would happen out in public stayed in my mind. I’d read about so many horror stories that I didn’t know what to think at this time. I did decide I wanted to go to church. I wasn’t going to let fear and the devil keep me from going; besides, I really needed to hear God’s word. His promises became something I clung to even more so than ever before. Unfortunately, my experience at church wasn’t good. Everything felt different. It was like a strange place to me, a place I’d never been or one that had morphed into something different. My perception of my surroundings were so changed the sights,sounds, lighting, everything that usually brought such happiness, joy and peace were making me very uncomfortable. Of course, it wasn’t my church that made me feel this way, it was the BPPV or whatever I had that caused me to feel this way! I’m usually in choir, but I was certainly not ready to be up in front of hundreds of people at this point. Our family decided to sit near the back. I needed to be by a door in case I had to make a quick exit. What if I had a huge spinning attack and fell on the floor and vomited in front of the whole congregation? How embarrassing would that be! Our sanctuary is laid out like a lot of churches. The floor slightly angles down to where the platform or alter is. I could now feel that slight angle much more magnified. I felt as if I were leaning forward, and as my eyes scanned across the assembly of people it was overwhelming to my senses. Strangely, when we stood up to sing our praises to the Lord I felt somewhat better. When it was time for our Pastor to preach I had a hard time focusing on him. He looked blurry, it was like I needed glasses, and I felt mental fatigue and brain fog set in. My hands were clammy and I grasped the pew trying to hold myself together. My anxiety level was at a 10!. Having read the message boards on Dizzytimes.com I learned that with dizzy disorders anxiety is one of the symptoms that often accompany those suffering with dizziness. Having made it through the service, my family and I slipped out the back door quickly so as not to have to talk to anyone. People were praying for me, that I knew, but I just couldn’t talk to anyone at this time. I wanted to get home. At least there I didn’t have such severe symptoms, and who doesn’t want to be home when your sick? There’s nothing like having your own bathroom for those types of emergencies.
When I got home my anxiety level went from a 10 to a 6. I wondered if I’d ever be able to get back to choir. Singing is my passion and singing for the Lord is an absolute joy to me. I wondered if I’d feel the peace and joy that I’d always felt at church before, instead of anxiety and sensory overload that I was experiencing. I was pretty depressed the next day. My life was like a seesaw. You probably remember them being in neighborhood parks. Basically a seesaw is a plank where each end would seat a child and you would take turns pushing off the ground to raise the other side up. It was always so much fun! You go up and down, up and down. That’s how the each day and even each moment of each day was for me. I was up when my symptoms weren’t too bad and down when they were. Part of the problem was the pattern of this illness. Every time I’d been sick before healing would follow a general course. I’d get sick and gradually the symptoms would reach a peak and then finally fade away. Case closed! I couldn’t understand why I’d feel better and have times of almost feeling normal for a few hours or a day only to feel completely different later. Wrapping my mind around it was almost impossible.
I went ahead and rescheduled my appointment with an Orthopedic Doctor in the meantime so that I could have my arm and shoulder checked. I was having limited mobility. I could barely reach back past my hip and raising my arm to reach things on upper shelves wasn’t quite like it had been. I had to stand on my tippy toes to get stuff and not because I’m short. So I waited for two different Doctors appointments. Had I prayed for patience or perseverance? Maybe they are the same?
- Headaches and Dizziness (everydayhealth.com)
- Soulful Delight! (psalmsofpraisewomensministries.wordpress.com)
An Epic of Dizziness (Part 3) by Melissa Jo Elliott is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.