I have beenrecently diagnosed with Meniere's Disease. I am currently on the Z-Pack Prednisone treatment-going on Day 4.
Ihavea history of chronic depression andwas recently undergoing treatment for a recurrence of anxiety and deep depression before & duringthis first obvious onset of MD. They say that stress & anxiety is a trigger for MD and they also say that depression & anxiety is a result of the MD…so I feel trapped and worried about how this is going to affect the rest of my life….or at least how I will cope with current everyday life at the moment.
I was in the midst of fine tuning what’s been a complicated process of the right dosage/combination of anti-depressive medication during the first "unknown"onset of MD.I was having “brain fog” and fatigue all along, as my psychiatrist would suggest a different dosage or another supplemental med.We’ve been experimenting on this for going on 5 months.3 weeks ago, I asked him if the recent ringing and popping in my ears had anything to do with the new combo of meds.He said no, and since it is not his field of expertise, did not recognize it as a possible symptom of MD.
A couple of days later, my family and I went away for the weekend and I slept through the first dayand was a zombie for the rest of it.I blamed my “ear infection” but it wasn’t painful…just ringing & popping & dizziness, etc.I have low blood pressure and have been dealing with depression/anxiety for so long that I am always dizzy, so my family is pretty much used to it.Because I wasn’t experiencing pain, I really thought it was mostly depression.
After a week of continuous dizziness, brain fog, fatigue & ringing & popping in my ears, I finally decided to have my ears checked atour localswalk in clinic.I told the Dr. about my constant dizziness and when he checked my eyes, he said that he could see signs of vertigo.When he checked my ears, he said that he could see fluid.So he started me on Amoxicilin to address a possible ear infection.He said if that didn’t work after a couple of days, to start a light daily dose of Prednisone for 5 days.
I almost canceled my participation in a show that I was supposed to be in (I am a performing artist/dancer)…instead I got a ride with one of the other performers and I barely managed to supervise the show & coordinate the music.I could not wait for it to be over, go home and go back to bed.
Well, the brain fog and dizziness persisted.I called my psychiatrist and told him that I was suicidal and ready to commit myself.De-sensitized to comments like this, he suggested that I increase the dosage of my Wellbutrin from 150mg to 300mg.
So, I take anti-depressive meds once daily, in the morning.I also started taking Ambien at bedtime to help with insomnia.I now had to take Amoxicilin and Prednisone for my “ear infection” twice daily, morning & evening.Well, brain fog at its best…for at least one night or two, by accident, I took EVERYTHING before going to bed. (accidentally doubling up on my anti-depressive meds)I just reached for each bottle and went down the line.(but I didn’t know this until a couple of days later)
The next day (Saturday) I was Linda Blair from the Exorcist.I was suicidal, dramatic, paranoid, etc etc.Nice people at a suicide prevention line talked me through it and I was able to handle the day with my husband and without my young children knowing what was going on (other than Mom’s dizzy & tired again)
Thinking this is all depression related and that I was having a nervous breakdown, I was ready to be institutionalized because I could not deal with this any longer.I wanted this taken care of, once & for all because I’m thinking that the depression has gotten so bad that I’m losing my mind!
My husband and I made a plan to seek out the most aggressive & intensive treatment for depression that was feasible and affordable.To start, I found an Integrative Psychologist right here in my town.I called her in a panic on Sunday afternoon and got her voicemail.I told her that I was experiencing a depression nose-dive and I wanted to see her first thing Monday morning if possible.She called me back right away to make sure that I wasn’t going to slit my wrists or do anything drastic.I said that I wasn’t.She graciously squeezed me into her busy schedule the next day.
That evening, when I went to take my bedtime medications, I suddenly recalled taking “all” of the meds the night before!I didn’t know if I had done it for one or two nights, but I immediately realized what I had done & was relieved to know the cause of the Linda Blair nightmare that I had experienced the day before.
I actually laughed about it, out of relief, and was quite embarrassed when I told my husband what had happened.Okay…I’m not “really” nuts- just a DITZ.This made me feelabitcalmer and I was able to function better the next day.That evening I met with the therapist, Audrey, and I liked her immediately.I like her manner and communication style and think we’re on the same page with life philosophy and sense of humor. She's into holistic &Shamanic healing…all the hippie stuff that I can relate to…and she's an LCSW that acceptsour medical insurance! So far, I feel comfortable and confident that she can help me.Her foremost recommendation was that I go away and decompress for a weekend alone.It was like music to my ears.She suggested a Women’s Wellness Retreat in upstate NY.The weekend will address women’s issues such as:
  • Recognizing your mind, body, and spirit as one integrated being
  • Discovering more about who you really are and how to make life-affirming choices from your inner wisdom
  • Learning simple tools to alleviate stress and anxiety, and positively affect your hormones, metabolism, sleep, and energy levels
  • Harmonizing your personal biochemistry through nutrition, vitamins, and herbal medicine
  • Receiving cutting-edge information to enhance breast and bone health
  • Understanding the role of hormone balance and how it affects your mood, physical health, and immune system
  • Using life’s challenges to heal the wounds of the heart
Okay, so we have a plan.In addition to weekly therapy with Audrey, Iam registered to attend the Women’s retreat at the end of the month.I am so thrilled and hopeful that this will help me make necessary changes to get back in control of my life.Nature, silence, yoga, meditation….Aaaahhhh….
In the mean time, I am still dizzy and out of it.I’m blaming the meds. I’m getting more stressed out and anxious because I am so foggy, dizzy & fatigued that I don’t know how I am going to handle all of the upcoming performances that I had scheduled that week and the week after and functin as a Mother of 2 little ones & a teenager.
I had another semi productive day…but drained by the end of it, followed by another dizzy, foggy, unproductive day.I attributed it coming down from the overdose from the weekend, which just may have been.
On Wednesday, I rummaged up the energy to meet a friend for lunch.I had to take a nap that morning, but made it to my lunch appt.While driving to the restaurant, I receive news on my cell phone that my 43 year old nephew had died of a heart attack the day before.I parked my car and things started to spin a little.However, the dizziness passed and I made it into the restaurant and told my friend about the news and called my husband.My appetite had not been very good in the past month, but the bowl of “Chinese Golden Noodle Soup” was delicious- Every bite of it.However, I noticed that it was slightly on the salty side, but still good. (BTW, sodium triggers MD symptoms!)
I had plans to do the show that I was scheduled for on Thursday night.I knew that I couldn’t put out my best, but I would fake it and improvise as much as I could.I didn’t really know how I was going to do it because I really felt like **it.That morning, I could not lift my head off the pillow without the room spinning like mad.I knew this was a full-on vertigo spell.I’ve had these before.This time it was accompanied by a vice-grip type of headache starting from above my ears and wrapping around the back of my head.My husband brought me back to the walk-in clinic.I walked into the waiting room grimacing in pain & dizziness…everybody was staring at me.When the doctor walked into the room and saw me in the state that I was in, after reading my chart, he immediately said he wanted me to be seen THAT DAY by an ENT.With much concern, he said that he hopes that it isn’t Meniere’s Disease.
The ENT was able to see me that morning.The car ride was nauseating and the headache was excruciating.The process of getting checked in and finally seen by the Dr. was like an eternity.But after finally being seen by the Dr, having my sense of balance and hearing checked, the Dr. agreed that it looks like Meniere’s Disease.He was a bit blasé about it.I had Googled my symptoms the night before and MD had come up, which I ironically had emailed to my husband, so we were both familiar with it.I asked if it was common and he said, he has a lot of patients with it and he said he would start me out with a Z Pack Prednisone treatment and send me for an MRI next week. It was like take these pills and call me in the morning…
And here I am.I have insomnia again, because of the Prednisone.I am making myself crazy because I am obsessing over trying to figure out if the dizziness/brainfog/fatigue is the meds, the MD, anxiety or am I imagining the whole thing like a hypochondriac.I am obsessing about being able to sleep at night.I am obsessed with guilt about not functioning around the house.I canceled all of my shows for the upcoming week in the most professional manner possible, which mentally drained me, but I got it done.I am paranoid about a vertigo attack coming on, so I try to move my head as little as possible.This makes my neck stiff which gives me a headache, which makes me dizzy.I get tired, but I don’t want to sleep during the day because then I won’t be able to sleep through the night.
I have an appt with Audrey tonight.I have been awake since 3am.It is now 6:30am and my family is starting to wake up.I’ll make breakfast for the children before the headache I feel coming on gets worse.Hopefully it won’t.Think positive.Okay…today is another day.
  1. ancientgeekcrone 11 years ago

    You write an exciting blog. My heart was racing by the time I go to the end of it. I have symptoms with the ear, dizziness and I wonder, if I have that. I do know that my ears are not balanced with each other; but then, neither are my eyes so I don't have stereo vision like others, which makes driving an interesting proposition. I also have ringing in the ears. The medics keep close track of me, I will ask about this. I hope you find resolution soon. In the meantime; I'm off on a search of my own. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  2. Lioness88 11 years ago

    Thank you for taking the time to read my lengthy blog.  It is so nice to receive thoughtful and supportive words…it really makes a difference. 

    Its funny to re-read my last blog entry…what a drama queen…LoL…but I guess I needed to vent.

    @CaliGirl- Thank you for your kindness & input …I'm a lot more calm & accepting of the MD symptoms I am experiencing.   My "shrink" knows that I am on Prednisone and didn't have any concerns.  My sinuses feel clear as a whistle, but my ears are still popping and I'm still foggybrained and dizzy.  He is monitoring my Wellbutrin-Zoloft-Ambien regimen and I am in contact with him.  However, I had researched all of the side effects and was aware that insomnia, anxiety & depression are on the list.  (what isn't, nowadays???)  I have finally "let go" of figuring which came first, the chicken or the egg…and just ride this wave.  One wave at a time, right?  Its not a Tsunami, I'll survive… 

    @"A-G-C"…look into Meniere's Disease (I hate calling it "disease")  Your hearing may be inbalanced because of fluid in your inner ear.  It helps to put a label on the symptoms, but the fact that this is a "mystery disease" still keeps the "condition and symptoms" ambiguous.  There are a few websites and blogs on it.  Many people suffer from it in varying degrees.   Because no one has really heard about it and it isn't life threatening, MD patients get very little empathy or understanding.  Just like depression, we can look fine on the outside and sound fine when we speak, but feeling foggy-brained, dizzy, light-headed and not being able to function for a period of time is difficult for people to comprehend.  I feel like I look like a hypochondriac, lazy slacker.    "Hope you feel better soon"…or "Its because of stress, you'll feel better when you relax"…or "I know somebody who had it and it went away in 2 days"…or "You'll feel better when you do more Yoga" are the comments I'm hearing from people.  It is a legitimate medical condition, but to others not experiencing it, they won't be able to relate.  Its like telling people you have depression.  You know what I mean.  Anyway, I am so out-of-it that I don't dare drive.  I feel constantly "buzzed" and hungover…it was so bad, I accidentally O-D'd!!!  That's bad!  I even got nauseous trying to play a board game with my daughter….and emptying the dishwasher…

    MD patients have to avoid sodium because of fluid retention.  I also have to stay away from caffeine & alcohol.  (things that are bad anyway)

    So I'm trying to handle it physiologically and not psychologically.  One day at a time, manage my anxiety and stress, and just ride the wave…

    Thanks so much, my DT buddies!  You be well, too!


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