Participant Page: From Dizziness to Becoming A National Champion
When I was 13 years old, eustachian tube dysfunction on a commercial airline flight resulted in bilateral perilymph fistulas and secondary endolymphatic hydrops--I immediately became dizzy and lost the sense that we all take for granted... the sense of standing on solid ground. My world has been in motion for the past 19 years now. It was much worse in the beginning, but thanks to VEDA, my family found the best doctor to operate on my ears. Because of Dr. Black, I am able to function in a somewhat normal life despite being told that I would be on disability for the rest of my life. Patience, perseverance, and persistance have gotten me to where I am in my life today. I never gave up on my dreams. I might have taken a longer road, but I refused and I still refuse to give up on my dreams. Flashforward to today, I am entering my third year of naturopathic medical school at the National University of Natural Medicine. I recently took a three week road trip to get to the USATF National Masters Outdoor Championship where I competed in the 5k and 10k race walk events. There, I won my first national title by finishing first overall in the women's 5k race walk. I placed second in the 10k to an athlete who had just competed in the Olympic Trials.
I still have many dreams left to turn into a reality, and one of those involves being able to fly again in order to compete and train internationally for race walking. I have not flown since the tragic event in 1997 out of fear that it would happen again and that my life would once again spin out of control into the dizziness. Recently, we lost the great physicians who treated vestibular disorders in my area to retirement, passing away, or moving. So what will I do if this happens again? I don't know. We need more research, better treatments, more doctors, more public education and outreach about vestibular disorders. I'm pleading for your help--please support VEDA and help defeat dizziness!