I promise that I won’t turn this blog into a listing of my own personal ailments, as I know I’ve chronicled my knee surgery, cracked rib, etc., in an effort to at least describe how I’ve dealt with these set-backs in terms of nutrition and fitness. Thus, in the same spirit, I figured I would write a post about an inner-ear condition that started messing with me two weeks ago today.
On August 8 I felt pretty good, went to bed at a reasonable time, and when I woke up the next morning, my equilibrium felt a bit “off”. I didn’t fret too much, as we all can feel a bit “off” from time to time, and it wasn’t so significant that I couldn’t walk, work, or go about my day in a relatively normal fashion – I just didn’t feel great. I managed my way through the weekend and the next work week and saw my doctor the following week 8/16. He said that dizziness or vertigo (it’s partner in crime that brings a bit of false motion to the party) are incredibly common symptoms and that most people deal with dizziness and/or vertigo at some point in their lives. They can be symptoms to many different things, and he did an exam to screen out any urgent/significant problems, but said it would require a number of tests for a more accurate diagnosis. Thus, he said it was probably labyrinthitis (a swelling of the labyrinths in your inner ear), and the plan was for me to manage it as best I could for a couple of weeks and come back if it doesn’t subside on its own. As it turns out, I dealt with similar symptoms when I was 10 and 20 years old, so this was not a new experience for me, albeit not a really welcome or enjoyable one.
Unless you or someone you know had dealt with pretty consistent dizziness or vertigo it’s a bit hard to describe. However, I will note that being somewhat off and disoriented most or all of your waking hours, and having the symptoms intensify with movement is not an easy situation to deal with, and it makes a fairly simple day much more taxing and tiring. Luckily a lot of research has been conducted and it seams that the knowledge-base and treatment is a bit more refined relative to my last go-around with an inner-ear issue. There’s also a lot of information on the internet (which wasn’t even around when I was 20). I’m going to watch it over the next week and if it doesn’t subside head back to the doctor to explore additional steps to treat it.
In the meantime, since a healthy body and mind are your best allies to deal with any situation, ailment or adversity, there are a few things I’m doing to double-down on healthy habits while I deal with dizziness.
- Sleep Well – Good advice always, and given that some of the “inner-ear triggers” seem to correspond to those for migraine headaches (which I get from time-to-time), making sure I’m getting a consistent “good nights sleep” is key.
- Eat Even Better – When I don’t feel well, I take my nutrition to DEFCON1. This means really cutting down on the fat, increasing intake of fruits and vegetables, and given what I’ve read about inner ear issues, I’m also trying to substantially cut back on sodium.
- Maintain Training Schedule – Since my dizziness isn’t as significant as others who may struggle even standing or walking, I can stand/walk, I want to ensure I move as much as possible and keep a solid fitness regimen. Thus, I want to ensure my fitness and self esteem remain at a good level, while I’m not feeling great all around.
- Revisit My Friend Meditation – As you might expect, being dizzy is fairly unnerving. There’s a lot of research that links inner-ear disorders to neurosis, anxiety and panic attacks. Thus, I want to ensure I take the time necessary each day to give my mind some rest from managing the dizziness. A few minutes of peace, not dealing with motion, thinking about a million things, etc., is a good recipe always, but right now even a bit more important.
This too shall pass, and relative to those who deal with severe inner-ear issues, I feel quite lucky. It’s a good reminder for me to listen to my body and do what I need to do to manage my path to recovery, as inner-ear issues can vary in duration significantly.
Small steps add up!!!