Monday, June 11, 2007

Meniere's Disease

I know it's been awhile. Life keeps throwing darts in my path. Jason has been seriously ill these past few weeks, and all my attention has turned to making him better. It now appears that he may be suffering from Meniere's disease (see link in title), and we are trying to get it under control. It's caused by excess fluid in the inner ear, making you feel as if you have constant, intense motion sickness, even while laying down. At first, we didn't know what was happening and took several trips to the ER to have a bombardment of tests run to determine that whatever was going on was not life threatening. Baffled, the doctors seemed to shrug their shoulders and kept sending him home. Meanwhile, he wasn't eating and lost 15 lbs. I kept calling doctors, researching his symptoms, making appointments and demanding more tests until we could finally pinpoint something with his inner ear. Unfortunately, Meniere's is a lifelong disease with no cure. It's not very well-understood. It's also possible that he may have viral labryinthitis, which causes the same symptoms as Meniere's but eventually goes away. I'm praying it's the latter. Until then, he's on a myriad of drugs to treat the dizziness, nausea, and headaches. I've gotten him to eat again, although small bits--mostly gingerale, Ensure, and unsalted tortilla chips (he has to be on a low-salt diet) so he hasn't lost any more weight and is drinking enough fluids to prevent more trips to the ER.

It's been a crazy few weeks. The first week, I couldn't leave his side. The second week, I hesitantly returned to work (he's had to take temporary disability until we know more what's going on). I also forced myself to resume exercise because it's the only way I know to release the build-up of stress and help me sleep at night. I've also been scheduling more frequent massages and drinking more herbal tea (I haven't had to "share" his Valium (to treat the dizziness)...yet).

The exercise helps a lot. I ran with my group yesterday. They coaxed me into a slow 10 miles. At the turn-around point, in a cute little park, I saw a bluebird. A bona fide bluebird. He was so gorgeous. Phew! I'm out of shape! Afterwards, I went for a delightful ocean swim. For 20 minutes as I played in the waves, I felt like I was on vacation. I slept like a baby last night.

Jason seems to be getting a little bit better every day although the progress is slow. He can get out of bed for longer periods to shower and brush his teeth. He can watch t.v. without feeling naseous now. This weekend, I could walk with him in the park, and he felt okay. Tonight, he had a small episode but nothing as severe as last weekend. I'm worried after the Prednisone wears off, the dizziness will increase but I'm hoping for the best.

I saw a hummingbird at our feeder a few weeks ago when Jason was in the throes of one of the worst episodes of dizziness ever. I remember feeling so hopeless. Then I saw the hummingbird at the feeder. That feeder has been up since January, and I haven't changed the food once. I have never seen a hummingbird at that feeder until that day. I immediately ran to the store and got fresh food, washed out the feeder, and put out new nectar. I've seen at least one hummingbird at that feeder every day since then. Every time I see one on our balcony, it gives me hope.


Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Well that sucks. You may want to try stocking some of those chewable glucose tablets for him, for times when he's nauseous but needs something to keep his blood sugar from sagging. When I was ill with a stomach virus (not the same thing by any stretch) I noticed the glucose tabs didn't upset my stomach and they really helped!

Hang in there, girl! Tidbit and I are wishing you and Jason the best!

Kate said...

Oh no- poor Jason!

Hope the hummingbirds keep your spirits up- it sounds like you're doing a great job of taking care of him and yourself.

Anonymous said...

Argh! I had the same thing about two years ago. I remember feeling a bit dizzy one morning so I went to bed, next morning I could not even stand up. Then, two weeks of non-stop puking (because of the dizziness) and feeling really really crappy alone at the hospital.

I know just how he feels, and I send my best wishes.

The good news! After about a month I recovered completely and never had any problems since, so hang in there, it’s like climbing a hill on the bike ;) and it’s great that he has you to help out.

Happy thoughts from Denmark!

Anonymous said...

Are thoughts go out to you and Jason!

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Jodi said...

I am so sorry, Rachel! The sickness of a loved one is the most stressful thing a person can go through. Take solace in the fact that his condition is improving.

I'll keep both of you in my thoughts. Stay positive. It's hard, but it's amazing how powerful that is.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about Jason. It is very scary, those first Meniere's attacks. My first attack, I thought I was dying, and called EMS. There is support and information out there. I have a Meniere's site I hope can help, it has a lot of research links, videos, and articles. If you look at the 65+ friends in my friends list, every one of them has Menieres, we all have been through what Jason is going through right now. I hope you have a chance to stop by. It is a myspace, it started when a friend asked for all my personal research links/videos and I needed a place to upload them so she could access them and myspace was the easiest way, I was surprised to find how many people with Meneire's found this myspace and so I left it up and it has grown. Here is the address:

Cliff said...


One day at a time. Sorry to hear about Jason's sickness..he will be in my prayers...

Dances with Corgis said...

Geez, Rachel, that sucks. I'm sorry to hear about Jason.

At least they sort of have a thread to follow with treatment. It sounds like you are doing a phenominal job being there for him. The glucose tablets that bunnygirl mentioned are great, my boyfriend (type 1 diabetic) takes them when his bs drops below 70 and they are very effective. Also plain OJ.

Best wishes,