Recent Epiphanies

August 22, 2017

I have not been feeling well this summer.

It started about mid-June. I suddenly felt slightly dizzy and nauseous all the time. Not pregnant! But, I had gotten both a new phone (Google Pixel, woot woot) and new glasses. So, I'd attempt alternating abstinence from each in hopes of nailing down the culprit. Unfortunately, I suck at that. My new glasses were cute and scratch free. My phone was a new toy, of course I'd play with it. Wash, rinse, repeat. By about mid-July I realized that on some days I could use my phone or wear my glasses with little to no consequence. Some days I did neither, yet wound up feeling terrible. And then...the headaches started. I am very fortunate to never have suffered from recurring headaches. I know this now more than ever. There were days when they got scary painful and my head felt like it was in a vice. So much pressure! Not to mention, anxiety had already taken over my thoughts. I spent about two weeks suffering silently from an unshakable feeling that I was terribly sick and would not be here to raise Kindred. It was the worst, even though I would interrupt the thoughts with "This is anxiety. This is not real." I still felt pretty immobilized by fear.

A couple of weeks ago, after waking up to a slight fullness in my left ear, I made an appointment with my practitioner. We tested hormone levels, ran a full blood panel work up, and discovered that I was running a fever. Aha! So, it must be some type of infection. Mentally, I began my descent from the top of Worry Mountain. It was low-grade, 100.3. She asked if I was feeling worse than I had been recently, but I wasn't. My head had started pounding in the waiting room, but that had become typical. She checked my left ear and saw no infection. I started climbing back up the mountain. She looked in my right ear and saw a little more fluid, so perhaps fluid is trapped in my left inner ear. We agreed to meet again, same time, same place in a week. After that, pending test results, we would talk MRI as sudden onset headaches can signify some trouble, she said. I confessed to having googled. She was very kind and told me that we all do it.

Once I got home, I began researching inner ear infections. Turns out, they are very different from what we are used to feeling when we have classic middle ear infections symptoms. With the inner ear it is more common to feel dizziness, headaches, anxiety, and fullness in ear without pain. And, it can last for a couple of months! I remembered that in early June, I had a bad summer cold. It was a couple weeks later that the dizziness started. I felt so much relief in that moment. Fluid from the cold was probably trapped in my inner ear. I started taking colloidal silver and Vitamin C. I was taking my temperature regularly to pinpoint if headache meant fever, and indeed it did. For the three days leading up to the appointment, I felt much better. But, on appointment day as I drove to the office, my head began to pound and fever registered 100.4. I told her about the summer cold I'd remembered. She went over my test results and that nothing had stood out as being terribly wrong. Her feeling was that a viral inner ear infection had gone bacterial. So, I'm on an antibiotic & Zyrtec as the colloidal silver was just not strong enough. I am feeling much better and only one headache has sidelined me since I started meds. Hopefully, all symptoms will subside soon. If not, we may have to get in there and drain the fluid, but I will still take that as getting off the hook easy. Score one for western medicine!

My epiphany lies in coming back home to how all we really have is the present moment. The anxiety was terrible, except that it served as a reminder of how precious time with my children is. How nothing else really mattered but them. I was reminded of how much I love my life and the people, the books, the scenery, the seasons, the songs that I am blessed by. My phone made me dizzier, so I didn't pick it up as often. There is no question that I was less distracted because of that. I was determined to go out and do things even though I felt bad, which made me appreciate how good I've had it in this healthy body I was gifted at birth. I haven't been able to do yoga in a really long time because going upside down would make the room spin around me, so that has been a bummer. But, I have still been able to get out and do other things I loved. Like, celebrating my son's girlfriend's birthday with the BEST CHAI TEA I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. Feeling bad, and fearing worse, really made me prioritize my life. I stopped getting on Facebook regularly. I was reminded to love and take care of this body I am in. As I have felt better over the past week, I started falling back into bad habits...politics on Facebook, eating the devil's delicious lemon sugar cookies, etc. But, the eclipse yesterday reminded me to stay mindful of my energy. We are all living through weird, trying, disheartening times...but, we are still living! Can we wake up in the morning and smile about that? Really tune into our senses as the day goes on and joyfully experience the sensation of being alive!?! This is my renewed intention...
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