My eyes twitched and my surroundings shuddered. My focus remained transfixed on the shaky backgrounds that enveloped me. Sweat glazed my body. The room's bright lights shined like halos. Suddenly, the walls began to tighten around me and the ceiling stretched high, like a cathedral. The hairs of my head erected themselves as gooey blood hammered my frosty veins. I felt a strong urge to vomit. My mother, crying, dragged me to the bathroom. I waved her off and hugged the toilet, for it was to become my best friend for the next month. My head was spinning like a mind blizzard; it was jamais vu. I tried to convince myself that the symptoms would go away, but reality came crashing down; The doctor was right. What I had developed, from a reaction to two vaccines on Friday October 13th, 2017, was a chronic disease known as labyrinthitis.
When I got home, my head was pounding. I struggled to walk myself home from the car as the floor swayed beneath my wobbling legs; I could feel darkness pervade my soul. Fighting mystifying forces, I fell. I had been robbed. I had fallen victim to vertigo.
The coming years were among the hardest I have endured. A fierce war began in my brain. I spent days in the dark with my head resting on my mother's gentle shoulders. My dreams crumbled. They were no longer possible to achieve. Instead, my happy thoughts acted like distractions that would only give me a few moments of ease, so I stopped believing in them. All of my favorite pastimes were gone; I couldn’t shoot a basketball nor could I throw a frisbee. I was in another dimension. Abstract art was no longer abstract. Whenever my heels struck the ground, my surroundings diffused into electric swirls that I could not recognize. It was then that I realized that my own stability was at stake; I needed to change.
With the assistance of the Balance Institute of Indianapolis and The VEDA Organization itself, I began to compile Vestibular exercises that could potentially improve my daily functions. I stumbled upon the VOR X1 and X2 exercises, each with research supporting their effectiveness. Armed with the exercises, I assembled a computer program known as “VOR Sniper” that I used to improve my function. The program is apart of my goal of making a free widely-available treatment method for those who suffer from vestibular issues. The program can be found here: https://studio.code.org/projects/applab/xPzEG_Q4Q-VIO3qz0Eza_GrXilJgOYl_.... Over a year later, I can finally say that I have improved drastically. I no longer struggle to walk; In fact, I am enjoying life again with those who matter most to me: my family.
I wish I could say that the past does not hurt me still, but I can’t. The truth is that my vertigo spells have shaped who I am. I have scars from the illness that I will always have, reminding me of the past years. Those two years were difficult, but I would not trade them away for the world. During those years, I worried I had gone mad. That my life was over. Regrets gnawed on my bloody insides. What will my family think? Is this how I wanted to be remembered? Having Labyrinthitis and experiencing vertigo made me reflect about the person who I was before. Throughout my life I had always raced to the next moment never leaving time to enjoy the one that I was in. When are we going to do this or that? I had been selfish. Looking back, I have changed for the better. I have learned to enjoy the moment, because I now know that the future is not guaranteed. I have learned to expect the unexpected. whenever life throws curve balls at me, I simply smile and shake my head, because I have learned a little secret: a lifetime isn't forever, so you must enjoy it while it lasts.