For Dawn, it started with strep throat, a double ear infection, and a sinus infection. Five rounds of antibiotics and two rounds of steroids later she still had a sinus infection that stumped her doctor. She experienced dizziness, headaches, brain fog, tinnitus and cognitive issues. I’m sure many of these symptoms are familiar to you.
Later, Dawn was diagnosed with bilateral superior canal dehiscence – a thinning of the bone in the semi-circular canals of the inner ear. She had her first surgery in September 2014 and her second two months later. The only improvement was a slight lessening of her headaches. Can you imagine going through the pain and trauma of TWO surgeries for so little return?
Then Dawn was diagnosed with bilateral perilymph fistulas – a tear in the small, thin membrane that separates the inner ear from the middle ear. Four surgeries later there was still no improvement in her symptoms. By this time Dawn had to leave her job and could no longer drive. Name, if you have faced the loss of independence to work and drive, I’m sure you can relate to what Dawn was going through.
Finally, Dawn was diagnosed with bilateral vestibular hypofunction, which has left her with such a complete loss of balance that she needs constant support to keep her from falling over. If you have ever experienced this, you know how frustrating and taxing to the mind and body it is.
Dawn is learning to accept her limitations and move forward with her life. She finds purpose in giving back, and has started a Facebook group to provide a safe space for other patients to share their stories and learn new coping strategies. I’m sure you recognize how important this type of support is.
“I believe I have purpose and can still contribute and move forward with a happy, productive life.”