Life Rebalanced Chronicles

Nine incredible vestibular warriors share their stories in a new docuseries

Life Rebalanced Chronicles features six episodes, which will be aired weekly starting August 17, 2021, in conjunction with Balance Awareness Week. Each episode is focused on a part of the human experience impacted by living with vestibular dysfunction--Body, Mind, Spirit, Relationships, Self, Life . . . Rebalanced.

Nicolle Cure

Nicolle Cure

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Secondary Endolymphatic Hydrops

Nicolle is a Colombian-American artist based in Miami, Florida. When Nicolle was diagnosed with Secondary Endolymphatic Hydrops, she decided to use her art to highlight the experience of people with this invisible illness.

Her signature series, The Colors of Sound, is a collection of fluid abstract paintings that explore the relationship between sound and life – inspired by her Sudden Unilateral Hearing Loss (SSHL) experience. In 2020, she released the continuation of this collection with a new body of work titled Supernova. Through her paintings, Nicolle illustrates her experience with sound and color, in contrast with how sound occurs in cosmic elements like Pulsars and Supernovas.

Nicolle has partnered with the Hearing Health Foundation and Vestibular Disorders Organization (VeDA) for several years, where she donates her time and art to benefit their fundraising initiatives. As a result of her work raising awareness about hearing loss and invisible disabilities, she was awarded the Leadership Scholarship by Americans for the Arts in 2018.

Nicolle's art has been showcased at Art Basel Miami, Beaux Arts Festival, and other art fairs in South Korea, China, and Colombia. She has been featured in several magazines, blogs, and other publications focused on fine art and hearing health. In 2016, several of her paintings were included in the "Imagen y Palabra," an art book highlighting contemporary Latin American artists based in the United States.

Her work is available at West Elm, Showfields, PxP Contemporary, and other galleries and platforms.

Nicolle earned a Bachelor's Degree in Advertising from the University of Florida and an Associate in Arts in Computer Arts Animation. She also holds academic certificates from the Sotheby's Institute of Art.

IG: @nicollecure_art

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicolle.cure.artist

Johan Galeano

Johan "The Chappiness Guy"

Vestibular Migraine

 

Johan, also known as “The Chappiness Guy,” is a extroverted, loving , family guy. When Johan turned 33 years old his world was turned upside down by a diagnosis of Vestibular Migraines and Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD). Before his illness, Johan felt like he was on top of the world. He had a successful career, had just bought a house, and was planning a wedding with the love of his life. Then,  on April 18th, 2019 woke up and the world was spinning. His symptoms included head pressure, ear fullness, neck pain, dizziness, loss of balance, and visual disturbances such as light sensitivity and inability to focus. After many doctor appointments with specialists and numerous tests, he received a diagnosis. Now, almost two years later, Johan is learning to thrive and live his life thanks to some much needed adjustments, such as diet changes, exercise, vestibular rehabilitation therapy , supplements and medication. Johan started a YouTube channel (Find your Chappiness) and hosts a show called, Vestibular TALKS, which has over 50 episodes with a variety of guests who have been kind and brave enough to open up and share their journeys, raise awareness, and inspire others living with chronic illnesses such as Meniere’s Disease, Vestibular Migraine, Mal de Debarquement (MdDS), PPPD, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), chronic migraine, and more.

Johan is a VeDA ambassador and he hopes to continue raising awareness and provide a positive outlet for others to share their journeys and connect with a wonderful community of Vestibular Warriors.

Lynn Johnson

Lynn Johnson

Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction

Autoimmune Inner Ear Disorder

Lynn's life became unbalanced Thanksgiving, 2015. She had been feeling off, and out of the blue woke up with imbalance and loud tinnitus (ringing) in her right ear. As days past, her symptoms continued to get worse. Five months and four doctors later, she was diagnosed with Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease (AIED) and Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction. Her symptoms include bilateral hearing loss, oscillopsia (jumping vision), and imbalance. Lynn says that if she had been given the correct diagnosis in the beginning, they might have been able to save her hearing. "This disease has robbed me of my hearing, my career as high school biology teacher, my ability to walk, to drive, and so many things," says Lynn. "But I refuse to let it rob me of my joy and quality of life." Lynn is a VeDA Ambassador because she is passionate about spreading awareness, educating, and advocating on behalf of patients like herself so that misdiagnosis can be prevented. She currently helps facilitate the Autoimmune Inner-Ear Disorder Facebook Group.

Rishi Bhosale

Rishi Bhosale

Vestibular Neuritis

 

Rishi immigrated from India six years ago to pursue his Masters degree. Living in New York, he currently works for American Express as a Senior Product Manager. He likes to live an active lifestyle and loves meeting new people. "Making new friends is my second nature," says Rishi. "I am super excited about getting on this journey. My motto is, life should be large, not long."

In March, 2020 Rishi was sick with the flu, when he was suddenly struck with a vertigo attack. After that, Rishi's life started spiraling downhill. "Lights bothered me and I had constant imbalance, complimented by anxiety and panic disorder," says Rishi. After months of doctor visits, Rishi was diagnosed with Vestibular Neuritis with hypofunction in his right ear. Now, after months of vestibular rehabilitation therapy and yoga, Rishi is on the road to recovery. "I do have off days but I am in a much better space," he says. "I am here for my fellow vestibular sufferers to guide them and provide tips and tricks to manage these symptoms, since there is no guidebook for how to life with a vestibular disorder."

Instagram Personal account : @Riishii.b

Instagram Vestibular account : @vestibularbalanced

Sandy Brunner

Sandy Brunner

Mal de Debarquement

Vestibular Migraine

Sandy is the co-founder of Solutions for a Better Day, a speech-language pathologist, and a writer. Her voyage with Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS) and Vestibular Migraine started in 2018, when she was on a trip to Europe. After a few airplane, car, and boat rides, her whole world was constantly in motion. She felt and saw rocking, bobbing, and swaying, as if she was on a boat, even when she was stationary. She's been trying to get her land legs back ever since! Since then, her coping strategies and skills have improved, and so have her symptoms– very, very slowly. "I’m hopeful I’ll reach remission someday," says Sandy, "but until then I’m trying to ride the waves of MdDS and live my best boat life despite the dizziness!" Sandy decided to become a VeDA Ambassador to raise awareness and help other people live life to the fullest with MdDS. She chronicals her struggles and triumphs on Instagram and in her blog.

Steve Szhwier

Steve Schwier

Meniere's Disease

 

In the month of September, 2020, Steve Schwier rode an e-bike 1,400 miles from Denver, Colorado to Columbus, Ohio to bring awareness to Meniere’s Disease. His difficult and grueling ride is chronicled in his memoir, “On the Vertigo: One Sick Man’s Journey to Make a Difference,” which is now available for purchase on Amazon.

Diagnosed in 2013, Steve had been able to do little in that time but stay on his couch and manage his symptoms. But one year ago, Schwier decided to get up and ride his bike across America to be the voice of a suffering, silent minority.

Despite the horrendous nature of the disease, Steve tells his story with humor, grace and heartfelt reflection. His ride raised more than $10,000, all of which went to Meniere’s Disease awareness and research.

IG: @onthevertigo

FB: Meniere’s: On the Vertigo

Rupal Rajani

Rupal Rajani

Vestibulopathy with Visual Preference

Rupal is a broadcast journalist, with over 29 years experience working with the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). Around eleven years ago , Rupal was diagnosed with Vestibulopathy with Visual Preference. Damage to her inner ear has affected her balance significantly. She was able to continue work after an absence of around eight months with the help of the Leicester Balance Clinic and regular vestibular physiotherapy. The condition worsened again in early 2015, which led to her being off work for over two and half years.

Rupal is Head of Communications with Life on the Level, a support group and resource for vestibular patients. She rarely uses this title though, as her warm and winning personality is all she needs for her natural command of any situation. Rupal is also a Life On The Level “Balance Buddy” – helping their members with her own experiences, tips and support.

 Rupal works as a freelancer and writes about how the condition has affected her life and hopes to help others through her blog and YouTube channel.

Alicia Wolf

Alicia Wolf

Vestibular Migraine

Alicia was diagnosed with Vestibular Migraine in 2017, a diagnosis that changed her life. She went from being a fun-loving, world-traveling 30-year old to never leaving her house. Alicia was newly married when vestibular migraine hit, and she thought her life was over. It took a few months for her to find the right neuro-otologist and the right treatment plan. In the past two years, Alicia says she has become stronger than she could have ever imagined. Through the Heal Your Headache diet, vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT), supplements, and ballet, Alicia is back to living life to it’s fullest. Alicia started The Dizzy Cook, a diet and lifestyle website for those with migraine and vestibular disorders, as well as their family and friends. She share recipes and tips that have helped her get her life back in the hopes that it will help others in some small (or BIG) way!

Website

Facebook

David Morrill

David Morrill

Vestibulopathy due to Stroke

David's vestibular disorder was caused by a stroke that knocked out the part of his brain that controls balance. During his recovery he found himself struggling with constant dizziness and balance problems. He didn’t really know where to turn, until he found VeDA. "VeDA helped me understand my disorder with all the information and research they have done through the years," says David. "I knew at that time I had to give back, and focused all my energy on helping to educate the public so more could understand this disorder." The following quote sums up David's entire mission. "If we speak in one voice collectively we can make a difference.” David now facilitates the largest vestibular Facebook support group, which has helped thousands of people find help and hope on their journey toward a life rebalanced.

Balance is easily taken for granted

However, when the fragile vestibular organs of the inner ear and brain are damaged by illness or injury, anyone can lose the ability to balance. Vestibular dysfunction affects people physically, mentally, and emotionally. Simple tasks, such as shopping and doing laundry, become obstacles to overcome. People afflicted by vestibular impairment are forced to adapt to a "new normal," and in doing so, often discover a life rebalanced.

Life Rebalanced Chronicles documents the stories of nine vestibular warriors. None of them expected to be knocked down by a vestibular disorder. All of them have looked fear, anxiety, and loneliness in the face and said, "You will not define me." Theirs is a message of hope to millions of people who struggle with invisible chronic illness—you are seen, you are heard, you are valued.

Learn more about the cast from other platforms:

About the Director

Kimberly Warner is a filmmaker and photographer based in Portland, Oregon.

In 2015, Kimberly began experiencing unexplained symptoms, including constant rocking, bobbing and swaying, which was first diagnosed as cervicogenic vertigo, followed by vestibular migraine and Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS). Kimberly draws from her experience as a vestibular patient in her storytelling, honoring the lived experience of everyone who suffers from these invisible yet debilitating conditions. "From the outside we look normal," Kimberly says, "inside it's a messy, uncomfortable journey of being alive - with no fix in sight." Check out Kimberly's award-winning docu-series, "Unfixed."

Kimberly Warner

Thanks to our Generous Donors

Kathleen Stross, DPT, CHC, PhD