There are much better places to get your technical info on Meniere’s Disease so I’ll refer you there. You can learn all about the tests, like how they put cold water in your ear just for the fun of it, yay! So while I’m not the medical expert, I do know how miserable it is to live with Meniere’s. I don’t constantly have the worst symptoms, but frequently there’s something going on to remind me it’s there. For me, it’s a disease with “flares” so there are definitely worse times than others.
The last few days I’ve noticed a flare coming on. Some doctors compare Meniere’s with Migraine ~ a neurological condition that very little is known about. There are technically only four recognized symptoms, but if you talk to people with Meniere’s you may see a pattern with anecdotal symptoms. Headaches, fuzzy head/brain fog, eye movements/tics, etc.
Here’s what I’ve been feeling:
My brain gets woozy. I don’t think so well. Sometimes I have to re-read a sentence because simple words do not process in my brain. That’s frustrating. I also have to work harder at finding the correct words I want to use. This combo has the effect of making me feel really STUPID! 🙂
Headaches. My head tends to ache more during these events. I don’t know if it’s related to my woozy brain or not but it’s not fun!
Slight dizziness. This isn’t the full-blown vertigo that comes with the flare. This is just slight episodes of dizziness, perhaps when I focus on something too much or sometimes just sitting here.
Ear discomfort and sounds. I generally have problems with tinnitus. It sounds like static from a radio station. Low static, but when there’s nobody around and all is quiet, there’s always this sound. When I’m heading for a flare I will also notice that my ears feel “uncomfortable”…ummm, not really able to describe it, I guess I could say it’s like there’s a tiny bit of pressure in my ears or something like that.
When I hit a flare, the symptoms get much worse. I will have constant vertigo (spinning) regardless of whether I’m sitting, standing, or trying to sleep. Sometimes it’s much worse to even try to close my eyes. With the spinning, I get terrible nausea so eating is difficult. Sometimes I have to hold onto a table or chair if I try to walk.
My ears feel pressure, like when you’re flying or your ears are plugged.
I can experience a great drop in my ability to hear.
My eyes develop tics which can make reading or watching things a fun challenge!
I often have palpitations. While palpitations and eye tics are not symptoms of Meniere’s, I and many others do have these symptoms. Whether it is Meniere’s-related or we have an altogether different condition, I don’t know. But knowing that the palpitations aren’t anything apparently heart-related helps to know.
But, like with anything else, there are good challenges in living with a condition like Meniere’s. I’ve learned to balance my time better. To be more patient with myself. To give myself more time when doing my lessons. Generally, I am quick in my lessons but during flares I understand I have to take a bit more time to keep up. I’ve learned to be better prepared, don’t slack on my lessons or work that needs to be done when I’m able to do the work! Continue to keep my home tidy and things I use often within reach. I always keep foods that are easy to eat around in case of flares. Carrots (my favorite!) Miso. Rice for rice balls. Fruits like banana, strawberries and mikans. Senbei for senbei and tea. American-style rice cakes. Tea and barley soymilk.
It’s difficult to live with a condition like Meniere’s but like the rest of life, if I choose to see it as a challenge I don’t get so distressed by it.