4 months later, almost back to normal. Part 1

Last post was about me going on a business trip, which in the end I just canceled. I simply could cope with the thought that with all my vestibular and neurological problems I would need to travel half way globe. With the trip canceled and another one planned in 2+ I sort of got into a pattern that would allow me to function on a manageable level. I was still having all the symptoms, but no huge bad spikes. I was celebrating new year 2017 in quite optimistic mood. I also decided that I need to tackle the driving problem, I was going to drive my daughter to school every morning no matter how a felt. 

First time I had to drive her, it didn’t go quite well, I was anxious, was afraid to pass out, the usual. But eventually after 2+ months the morning trips have become a lesser challenge, and I’ve started feeling pretty normal. Not 100% normal, but close.

And I had to go on another business trip again, actually two trips. The first one I was a wreck but I got through it, the second was better. 

During those trips I’ve started meditations. I’ve never done those before, but right from the start I could tell that the meditations have been helping. I use Calm application from Apple App Store even today, and I think it is a great app with very good meditation sessions. 

Anyhow, I got through these two business trips, overall I was better, better at driving, better at not caring about annoying loud noises. I could go in a new place without feeling much of a discomfort. And I was getting ready for longest trip yet: 15 days away from home; eight flights; 3 countries…


The revelation: I have got Vestibular Neuritis!

The two months of me constantly wining to my wife about how bad I feel and my wife’s Googling for the symptoms have finally paid of. Two days¬†after I purchased the chiropractor package, she has announced that I have got a vestibular neuritis. I’ve checked the symptoms, everything matched. Okay, so I didn’t have a heart attack and I’m not getting crazy from some unknown disease. Great! Gotta make an appointment with ENT. Which on the next day confirmed the diagnosis. He gave me more Betaserc and anti dizziness pills, told me I’m gonna be fine in a month or so (since VN normally take three months to recover and I was on my second month) and off I went.

So in that regard I was relieved, at least now I knew my enemy by its name. My spirit have received a boost, physically I wasn’t feeling much better. One of the symptoms was that I would sit on a couch and I would start having this worrying feeling, I hadn’t been scared, but was just nagging worrying feeling that is hard to describe. And that wording feeling made me worried that I’m going nuts or something. Normally I would have it in the morning and in the evening. I guess while I was working during the day, I didn’t have much time to notice it.

Getting out has continued to be a major struggle. So I was mostly venturing outside with my wife by my side. I’ve tried jogging, but I started running, about 200 meters in I felt unsteady again, my heart rate shot up and that was it, I’ve decided to put running on hold. Instead I’ve started doing vestibular exercises. I could do most of them without an issue, I wasn’t feeling dizzy much. Except may be when I had to do the eye movements. Don’t know if those did me any good, I’ve stopped doing those after about three weeks or so.

Meanwhile I started doing to regular chiropractor neck adjustments. I would have an anxiety and fear going into each session and then after each neck adjustment I would feel a floating sensation in my head and tightness in the neck for about 3-4 hours after each session. So obviously I hadn’t been looking to a next chiropractor visit. About a month into sessions I read about a death of some sort of C-list celebrity, which died from torn artery after a neck adjustment. This made my even more anxious and afraid of each neck adjustment.

Eventually I decided enough is enough, got a letter from ENT that I’m not supposed to do neck adjustments and canceled my contract with the chiropractor clinic.

Overall I’ve been getting better in terms of not feeling “unstable” and being afraid to pass out on the street, at the same time the level of anxiety of being on the street, of meeting people, of social visits, I think it had been actually rising.

I was supposed to go on a business trip in a month, the first one after the acute VN phase in July. Reluctantly I’ve booked the tickets. I had no idea how I’m going to survive it; inside I was just panicking…

A month in a limbo

So I decided it is time visit my GP and get a referral letter to a doctor, for some reason I decided an ONT would be a good choice. My GP gave me a referral, some anti-dizzies medicine and beta blocker Betaserc. None if these made any difference as far as I could tell.

I went see an ONT, he took my blood pressure, listened to my symptoms and told me that the problem is caused by little crystals in the inner ear. Right… He prescribed some anti-dizzies medicine and also Lexotan. I had no idea what kind of drug Lexotan is, I was just taking everything that the doctor prescribed.

So I have been taking all the prescriptions for a about a week and I started to feel much better, my mood has improved, I had no problem with driving and I’ve started running again. I though I was cured. At this point it has been about 5 weeks since my vestibular neuritis had started.

I had to see my GP for some another reason and during the visit told him about Lexotan. That’s when I found out what kind of drug it is and that it shouldn’t be taken for prolonged period of time. I stopped taking it the same day. And in a few days all my symptoms came back with vengeance. Dizziness, unstable, afraid to go out alone, you name it.

Meanwhile, since I still didn’t have a concrete diagnosis what is wrong with me, I sort of thought may be it is a problem with my neck and I need to see a chiropractor. Which I did. “Of course”, he said, “dizziness can be caused by a problem with the neck”. “How about we sell you 4 months package for regular neck adjustments?” I was desperate, so I agreed. And paid for it. They also did a neck adjustment on that day. About 20 minutes after I was done, I felt rush of adrenaline, it felt just the time when my vestibular neuritis started. FUCK!!! I thought to myself, I’ll need to experience that torture¬†three times a week for the next four months.

To be continued…


Vistibular Neuritis: Day two

The morning has arrived. I was still feeling shaken, unstable, with the tightness in my chest. But in overall I was a bit better than the evening before, I guess my body adopted a little to the initial shock. Still it sucked. Somehow I made it through two days of meetings. But when I went to a company dinner I was just shaking while sitting at the table and trying to appear normal while holding chitchats with my colleagues. I didn’t know at the time that I shouldn’t be drinking coffee or alcohol and I was drinking both. So when I had a couple of glasses of wine, I started feeling spacious and anxious. Btw I didn’t know or rather didn’t use anxiety or panic attack terms at that time, I learned about those latter. Anyhow I lasted about half an hour at the table and then had to come up with a reason to leave. After that I was sticking to in-room dining. 

Last day, time to fly home. I was feeling a bit better, in particular because I thought I have figured the reason for the dizziness: I was taking an antibiotic at that time, a common side effect for those being vertigo and disiness. Once I’ve found that information I was sort of relieved, I have found the reason for my sickness, now I just need to stop taking antibiotics and in a few days I will be alright. Hence the reason for my better than average in the past few days mood. But the morning had a surprise for me, there was a revolt in Istanbul, my flight was canceled and I had to fly via China with China Air. I barely made it to my connecting flight in Frankfurt, I had to run between terminals to be able to catch my flight. It was my first time running in a week.  I made it to the flight. The plane, the food, and Beijing airport sucked balls. But that’s a differen story. I made it home. I was relieved. 

I was still feeling unstable, but not as much. Next day, while driving I had this sudden tightness in my chest, I sort of froze in fear, couldn’t even speak. In a minute or so I was able to take control of the situation and appeared to feeling normal again. But it was the first sign of the driving problems to come. 

In two days I had to leave on another business trip. Not much to tell about it. I kept feeling unstable and scared. I had to bail out on another dinner with colleagues, because I suddenly felt spacious and had a floating sensation. I made it back home. More worried than before. The time has come to talk to a doctor…

Vestibular Neuritis: How it all started

Navigating the waters of a vestibular disorder is a terrifying ordeal

It was a middle of July 2016 and the day hadn’t been promising to be a particularly good one. I was on a business trip in Germany. On that day I was supposed to meet a guy who had suggested that we drive to visit several customers. Upon checking the map i had found out that between three meetings we would need to drive about 800 km in two days. I had no problems with driving, except too fast driving, my body doesn’t like it. And since we were in Germany I was expecting some fast driving. 
Quick skipping through the day by the end of which I was totally exhausted. And not by the fact that at time we were driving at 260 km/h per hour. But mostly by the fact that the driver, while driving at that speed was talking to another passenger at the back seat, at times not holding the steering wheel. “My car has line and collision assist” he said “so don’t you worry”. Fuck it!

Anyhow, on the second day we were supposed to drive 300km only and after that, I had promised to myself, I would never sit in a car with that guy again.

About half way through, on an autobahn, we had a flat tire. The car had stopped in an unfortunate place that made evacuation a problem. We had to call for police to block the road. But I was releaved, after the tire change, we could just slowly drive to the airport. We were in some small German town I have never heard about. I’ll remember that town till the rest of my days. 

While waiting for the spare tire to arrive we went to have a lunch.  While waiting for the order to arrive I felt sort of cold rush at the back of my head and I thought to myself that I might pass out. This was a new feeling that I had never experienced before. I excused myself and went out to get some fresh air. It helped a bit, but I was feeling shaken and not stable. I couldn’t understand what is going on. Somehow I managed to finish the lunch with my friends and we started walking back to the auto service. I wasn’t feeling myself and told that to look after me, I might pass out. Another first for me.

At the dealership I thought maybe coffee would help, it didn’t. Drinking more water didn’t help either. I just was feeling right and that was something I had never experienced before. Frankly I was getting scared that I’ll end up ina hospital 10,000km away from home. So I decided we need to go to ER. Luckily a hospital was just a few kilometers away and the staff was speaking English. That took my blood preasure, which was a bit elevated…not surprising so and blood test. EKG Turned out okay, so did the blood test. The doctor looked concerned, but my test were fine, I didn’t have a stroke (I started to think I had one due to tightness in the chest). But I kept feeling unsteady. In the end, after three hours, they let me go. 

We drove back to the hotel. During the ride every time the car was speeding up, I was feeling a passing out sensation. We made it to the hotel at Frankfurt airport. The hotel there has a glass design. Basically to get into rooms you take an elevator and you exit in the middle of a glass bridge. When I stepped out of elevator I was almost ready to crowl through the bridge, I couldn’t stand, my body was feeling drunk. And I kept asking myself what the fuck is wrong with me? 

Next morning I had to take a flight to one of our remote offices.

To be continued…