Friday, June 17, 2016

I guess I'm in it for the long haul

My last blog mentioned that it has been three years since this last round of the fight with Meniere's began. Part of the counter-attack that my ENT used was a diurectic. Specifically, he put me on Diazide, or the generic name, Triamterene, at a 37.5 mg daily dose. The reason for the use of this particular diuretic is that it preserves potassium while helping to eliminate sodium and therefore, fluid, from a persons body.

The importance of preserving K is that if you deplete the body of it, you get muscle cramps. That would not be an acceptable thing.

I am not complaining about taking it. I have handled it well with no major side effects. It does stink to not be able to take being in the sun like I was used to. I burn easier. The funny thing is, even though I read the literature on the drug, it didn't click with me for a while that this was the reason I got sun burnt easier. It is a small issue and one that can be helped by sunscreen and lotion. Now if I could get in the habit of actually using them.

These types of medications are primarily used for high blood pressure, which makes it interesting for me. I've never had high blood pressure. I always run low. Even before taking this med, I typically ran 100/60. After I had started on them, I had a routine physical with a Nurse practitioner. As she was reading through my chart she got a bit upset and asked "who put you on this med? You don't need it!"

Naturally, I needed to do a bit of education as to the use and I gave her the name of the ENT at my clinic if she felt the need to follow up. After explaining what the purpose was, she calmed down. I don't think she appreciated being out of the loop.

The point of this rambling is that it has been three years of continuous use. I thought it might be worth asking the question if my ENT's plan was for me to stay on it for the rest of my life, or if they had other thoughts. Again, I'm not opposed, I just thought it would be a good idea to check. I haven't seen my ENT in person since my second Cochlear implant surgery in April of 2015 and we didn't discuss my Meniere's. The last real time we discussed that may have been June of 2014.

Last week I sent them a note and asked what the plan was.

A couple of days ago, I got a phone call from a team member saying that it was the intent for me to remain on them at the level I am at for the foreseeable future. She laid out the reasons behind it and it sounded a bit like "since you have not had any major issues, why risk it?" She then suggested that sometime in the next year, maybe I should just schedule a follow up to talk about how things are, or aren't, going.

So, that's where I'm at.

I guess I am on them for the long haul.

I'm not really upset about it, nor am I overly thrilled.

I think I may agree with the ENT team, and if something seems to be making some kind of difference, why risk changing it up?

I certainly wish I could get by without, but I definitely can do without a return to the days of endless hours of vertigo and vomiting.

'Til next time


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

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Time flies when you're having whatever it is that I'm having
June of 2013.

Prior to this time my life and health had been pretty good, considering. Sure I had some vertigo attacks. Sure I was deaf in my left ear. Other than that, life was good.

It really started earlier in 2013 than June. Sometime in early 2013, my hearing in my right ear went south, then came back, then went south, etc. I had more bad hearing times than good, but I could handle it. It wasn't overly pleasant, but it could be much worse.

I knew the beast had flared back up, but I also knew that, typically, by the time I make an appointment, get to the appointment, and see the Dr. there was a very good chance that it would once again calm down. That's what Meniere's disease does. It waxes and wanes. Combine that with the fact that I'm a man, and I toughed it out. 20 years experience with it will teach you a lot about tolerance.

Then came June. The hearing really hadn't come back. I knew that was part of life with this. I'd been through it with my left ear. What really is the point of seeing a Dr. when they can't stop it anyway. I hadn't had any vertigo, it was just my hearing..............until.

It doesn't take long to remember that falling without warning on concrete hurts. A LOT.  I've written about that drop attack in some of my other blogs and how it could have been a much worse outcome than dislocated ribs and a really bad circular bruise on my back.

What I wasn't aware of was how much my life would be changed because of the chain of events that followed. That attack was the start of the worst 8 month's I've endured with Meniere's disease. I went from a self assured, middle aged guy, to a broken shell of the man I used to be. The fight that was so necessary to work the career I had been doing since 1984 was nowhere to be seen. The ultimate depth that one could reach was where I bottomed out-asking to die rather than endure another attack.

Medical doctors, Pastoral counseling, professional talk therapy, Chiropractic, and the ever present barrage of people willing to tell you that they had the answer to my illness. These were the things I dealt with in addition to the fact that this bloody disease can be relentless.

In reality, it was all training for my future. I just didn't see it at the time.

The things that snapped me out of this downward spiral were time, friends, faith, and allowing myself to admit that I couldn't fight this alone anymore. In reality, being a man is admitting to yourself you need help, not bearing the world on your shoulders. That doesn't mean I'm the poster boy for social butterflies, it just means I know my limits.

I've written at length about the benefits and blessings that have come since June 2013. In all honesty, none of them would have come my direction had I not had that drop attack. No cochlear implants. No hearing again. No relationship with a ridiculously talented ENT, or the staff of the clinic where I am monitored in my hearing journey. No friends from around the world due to my hearing loss. No new found friends and acquaintances made while back in college. No praise heaped on me from unexpected sources. No sign of a new career. Even this blog would not exist.

Does that mean I'm glad 2013 happened? Not on your life. I miss my old life. I miss my old career. I probably always will. Most days I long to go back.

It just means that in the last 3 years I've been knocked down, way down, worked my way up again, and am seeing that perhaps this was the direction my life was meant to take at this point. It doesn't make it better, or worse, just different.

I think I get the meaning of the quote I'm going to paraphrase. At my oldest daughter's graduation, the Superintendent of schools used it in his talk to the graduating class. "It's Ok to have an end to the journey, but in the end, it's the journey that matters."

To that end, this three years has been quite the journey. Not all of it enjoyable, but all of it has been important in my overall life's journey. I'm not sure where the end is, but, with all my effort, I'm going to attempt to enjoy the journey.

'Til next time


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