Participant Page: Dizzy Daisy
My Dizzy Story
In 2011, I had a very long MRI. After the initial 40 minutes, I was in the machine with the magnet turned off, quietly awaiting part two of the test. I suddenly experienced severe vertigo. This was unexpected because often, people who experience vertigo have it when their head changes position. However, my head was immobile, having been strapped to the table for the MRI. I was pulled from the machine, screaming. I had the sensation that my surroundings were spinning violently and even closing my eyes didn't stop the horrible feeling. Each time I moved my body, my head or even my eyes a tiny millimetre, the violent spinning would resume. It took medication and nearly 2 hours for me to be able to move enough to leave the clinic.
For the ride home, the rest of that day, and for days after, I experienced severe vertigo if I moved my head or eyes even slightly. I slept in a chair and prayed that I would wake up not spinning. For weeks after, I was extremely nauseated and had to take constant medication in order to keep from throwing up or fainting, all day and all night. At pre-Christmas gatherings, just looking around tentatively at other guests made me feel violently ill. For months after, I had to re-learn standing, walking, looking around. For years after, I haven't been able to move without thinking about vertigo first.
On the Road to Recovery
Of course, your brain does "re-learn" which way is "up" over time. Despite having vestibular therapy, it took mine nearly 3 months before I could walk down the street without having to hold my arms out to the sides to keep my balance. Since that time, I have returned to work and "normal" life, but my balance has never completely healed. I am, thankfully, able to do lots of things including ride a bike, do weight training (although many things have to be adapted) and dance. As long as I keep my gaze directed forward and don't look around too much or bend too far in any direction, I'm pretty steady. However, I continue to sleep propped up on pillows and whenever I walk on uneven ground or look around (or talk with a friend) while walking for more than a few minutes, I experience severe sweating that is disproportionate to the activity level, because my balance system is having to work so hard.
These days, most people won't realize there's anything wrong and I'm grateful for that. I have an incredibly supportive partner. Life is good, even with this vertigo stuff. But, it DOES affect me and the people who love me, every day.
Many adults experience vertigo as either a temporary or chronic issue. In my personal circle: L, S, R, C, B, B, V, E, S and J, just to name a few. Being dizzy is no fun. But, awareness helps! Thanks for taking a moment to find out about it.