Wednesday, March 4, 2015


There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

In every persons life there are changes. Some we make ourselves, some are a natural part of life, and some we have no control over. We are born, grow,find interests of our own, pick a career, lose a job, age, and develop injuries and illnesses along the way.

Everyone experiences change. Some good, some bad. Some easy, some very difficult. 

As a young person, I was blessed to "know" what I wanted to do for a living. I always loved my cows, and decided a future in dairy farming would be my life.  I didn't need time to "find myself".  My sincerest solicitude goes out to all young people I talk to that have no idea what they want to do for a living. I can't even imagine what they are wrestling with.

I attended school for dairy production and then returned to the family farm where I took an average herd of cows and made it one of the top 5 in our county, then to a grass based dairy, then certified organic.

Part of the reason for the the changes in management came from my disease. I no longer was willing to climb 70 foot tall silos or operate potentially dangerous machinery, so we switched to a different way to feed them. Different, easier, safer ways to manage them.

When Meniere's decided to rear it's ugly head again in 2013, there were more changes in store. I have to admit, I fought them.  Stubborn pride and not wanting to accept the changes caused an internal battle.  My head told me one thing, my heart another.  Farming was my life, but it no longer made sense.

It is safe to say that from June of 2013 to June of 2014 was the worst year I have ever put in due to Meniere's. It caused more mental anguish than ever before, along with the physical ridiculousness of being deaf in both ears and complete inability to know if, or when, the next attack was coming.  It was just no way to run a business when I could barely run my life.

I reached a point where I just needed a break. A chance to regroup and catch my breath. Regain some perspective on my life.  Many I have talked to have applauded me on being able to recognize this. They see far too many hang on far too long, regardless of the career they are in.

It was decided in the fall of 2014 to seek a change of careers. The cows were sold, the land will be.

Easy? Not on your life.

I still miss the cows every day. I miss many of the blessings of being my own boss. I hate that I am now just another "statistic", another farmer who is no longer one. As a farmer, there is the culture of passing on the farm to the next generation, something I can no longer do, and I feel terrible for my children because of it.

I, for the first time in my life, don't know what I am supposed to do with the rest of it. It is incredibly humbling.

For the best? Yes.

I have a new outlook on life. I am much less stressed. I am, over all, happier.  I could see what was happening to my confidence. I was just no longer comfortable working around large animals or large equipment. 

Will it have any influence on my disease? Doubtful, but that is not the reason I did it in the first place.

A good friend of mine reminded me of a saying from the past that if God is knocking, maybe you should open the door.

In my case, I guess he needed to use a wrecking ball.

'Til next time


Just a guy trying to live with an invisible, potentially debilitating illness


  1. I so feel you. From one Meniere's patient to another. I so feel you. <3

  2. Judy McNamara TrippMarch 5, 2015 at 5:17 AM

    Dennis, I was very moved by your "My life with Menieres disease Changes" I think we all see ourselves between your words. We yearn for our old lives and the ability to be 'fearless' and spontaneous, not worrying about when the next attack is coming, how we will handle it, and if you're a parent the effects of your illness on your family. When we have periods of remission we try to build ourselves up, in an attempt to regain ourselves once again, only to have another series of attacks make the rebuilding process a continual (exhausting) work in process.You faced your changes with such bravery; you're an inspiration!

    1. Thank you so much, Judy! I am very moved by the comments I have been receiving. I truly appreciate them all!

  3. thank you for that! I have had a hard time dealing with it! Been the hardest in not being independent that i was use to.

    1. You are very welcome. And thank you for taking the time to read it.

  4. Judy McNamara TrippMarch 6, 2015 at 4:46 AM

    Dennis I believe we receive 'a different type' of healing from connecting with others who live with Meniere's, Be well

    1. I agree. I have a post coming up that addresses that as well. Keep tuned!

  5. Thanks Dennis for expressing how this disease tears apart our lives. That's how I understood your message. I lost my ability to work at what I loved. I lost the ability to ride my motorcycle. No one in my family understands. I made it up. I was faking it. I do not have any family or friends close by. I hate life...and I don't know how to change that. I don't think it is possible because the damage has been done.

    1. I am sorry you are having such a hard time. Life is truly still worth it, just different. I hope you can see the good in all of it at some point. Be well.