Battling Against Ménière’s

I once was what I would call a “super mom” way back 2009. I would write for my clients in Upwork, and take care of my family at the same time. My work day starts at 7am and ends up at 2am most of the time. 11pm is already early for me. I can write non-stop and finish tasks fast with a high batting average for accuracy. That all ended when I got struck by Ménière’s in 2011.

It all started with feeling dizzy and hearing ringing in my ears. I did not pay it any mind since I was told in nursing school that ringing in the ears is quite normal. Eventually, I got headaches that get worse whenever I get stressed or did not get any good sleep. The symptoms doubled when I had to take care of my post-stroke in-law.

It Finally Came

I started feeling weak. I got alarmed when I had severe headache for 3 days and I could not even move. It was as if my whole body was turned into lead. I already suspected Ménière’s, but my EENT refused to acknowledge it since I was hearing quite well… back then.

My hearing gradually deteriorated, up to the point where I have to ask people to repeat what they say twice. It irritated my daughter, of course. Then came two weeks of constant dizziness with severe headaches and annoying body weakness. I was confined in bed. I can’t do anything. I can barely stand. Food had to be given to me, or I totally refused to eat because I feel I might throw up. My mom and sister eventually decided to send me to a specialist. After some tests, I was diagnosed with Ménière’s Disease.

Lifestyle Change

Gone now are the days when I can work ungodly hours and take care of my family at the same time. I can no longer function the way I used to. I have to say goodbye to my not-even-started nursing career – I spoke to a nurse and said I must not disclose my condition if I wish to work as one because there’s no way a hospital will take someone with Ménière’s. Painful it may seem, I have to agree. No hospital will accept someone who will eventually have to go on a leave every month or two.

I had to lower my salt intake so I became sensitive to salt. Bland food tastes okay for me, while adequately seasoned food tastes salty. I can’t sleep late at night, or I have to wake up late to make sure I get full 8 hours of sleep. Relaxation is no longer an option – it is a must-have for me. Even four hours of rigorous activity with my daughter triggers an attack.

Anticipating What’s to Come

I know that my hearing will eventually give. I’ve been telling my daughter to say her words low, slow, and distinct. I’m planning on taking sign language to lessen her frustration in communicating with me. It’s good that I have a job that is not that stressful, or I will be in deep *beep* right now. Still, I plan to enjoy as much as I can with my daughter. She’s 13, and we all know how teenagers can be.

Are you suffering from Ménière’s, or know someone who is? Let’s share our experiences and maybe even form a writers with Ménière’s support group (lol).

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