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Dizzy

While I was in grad school, I had as many as five dizzy spells a week. They were so bad that I had to be carried up stairs on multiple occasions and gave up driving. I would have to leave class and lie on the floor of my office, and frequently had to call friends to sub for me in the classes that I taught.

I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease and told that there wasn’t any good treatment for it. The disease causes sufferers to eventually lose hearing in at least one ear.

About two years later, the vertigo went almost as quickly as it came. I started a full-time job with regular hours and began driving again. Not long after that, headaches, which I’d had for years, became too strong to ignore. A year later came the correct diagnosis of migraine. At least I wasn’t going to go deaf.

In the last six months, my old friend vertigo has been hanging around. He now stops by only at night. If I lie on my back I can usually fall back asleep, so his visits aren’t too disruptive. Then he broke the rules by showing up yesterday morning.

After two attempts at getting out of bed, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. My headache wasn’t too bad, but I was dizzy. Not even terrible the-world-is-turning-turning-turning kind of dizzy. It was just enough that I couldn’t be up longer than two minutes without becoming nauseated.

I felt so crippled. I know approximately how long and how painful a migraine will be, and I can always pop pills to take the pain down a notch. That lets me feel some amount of control. Lying down and waiting it out is the only treatment for vertigo.

It’s now 1:20 a.m. on Tuesday. The dizziness let up about 7 p.m., but I feel like I have the mental and emotional parts of a migraine hangover. My body is wide awake, my mind is barely working. Little things frustrate me beyond belief. I feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of life.

Vertigo could be another manifestation of migraine for me. Or maybe I forgot to take my pills. Some days it’s all too complicated.

6 Responses to Dizzy

  1. Terri says:

    kerrie, so sorry to hear you are experiencing vertigo again. that’s a real bummer. i could be a vestibular symptom of migraine, but hopefully it is just a brief episode and will pass. dizziness is very hard to deal with. my mom had a severe episode recently, accompanied by nausea, and the doctor didn’t know what it was but told her that many many things can cause the dizziness, ranging from brief upset to the fluids (like from infection) to stroke or meniere’s or so on. hers passed, luckily, after treatment with a drug called SERC. definitely see your doctor, as it could be anything and not necessarily migraine! i also had one scary episode of dizziness that lasted about 3 days. i was totally off-kilter, could barely walk, and not at all straight, and couldn’t drive. it was like this total disequilibrium. pay attention to all the features, like is the room spinning, does it change when you move, etc. and try to be descriptive to your doctor. the subtle variations in its presentation are helpful for them to tell what it is. mine was never diagnosed, but i did see a neuro and he did an MRI. he said it could have been a migraine-headache thing, but didn’t seem too convinced. dizziness is like the most complicated thing to suffer from and they have a hard time figuring out its cause. don’t just chalk it up to migraine if it continues. an aunt of mine has meniere’s and it sounds brutal. hang in there and we’ll hope it passes. it could also be a side-effect of meds, if you were taking something different….write it all down so you don’t forget when you talk to your GP. take care and hope you feel well soon.

  2. Angel says:

    Just curious, did it pop back up after your trip, or did it come back before you went?

    I get vertigo now and then (honestly never attributed it to my headaches). But after my cruise last year, I had severe dizziness for a few months (mal de debarquement). But I would imagine that flying could affect your vestibular system too.

    I’m sorry 🙁 Just when we think we have enough on our plate, life throws another curveball :/

  3. Willene Gabrels says:

    I Have severe dizziness alot here lately.The doctor says I have fluid on my ears.I don’t know but the medicine I take is not getting rid of it. Sometimes I can just turn my head or get up quickly and it makes me dizzy. All I know is its no fun to live in these conditions. I hate it and I wish something could be done to help me thanks willene Gabrels

    *********
    I’m sorry you’re suffering so much. I know how terrible dizziness can be. I have no tricks to make mine go away — it just waxes and wanes on its own. But, CBS recently ran an article on chronic dizziness that I think will be very helpful for you: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/20/health/webmd/main2494787.shtml

    Best of luck in finding a successful treatment.

    Kerrie

  4. Graham says:

    My dizziness started with a total loss of balance caused by a virus in the base of the brain. It is a condition called laberynthitis and I would not wish it on my worst enemy. I also suffered double vision. The doctor prescribed tablets called Stemitil which were very effective and almost cured the problem. I was told that the condition does stay with most people forever but the tablets do make a difference when it re-occurs and I always keep a supply handy. Maybe they would help others but please see the doctor first.

  5. beth says:

    I have had several episodes of vertigo, the first of which was completely debilitating. I threw up, couldn’t work and couldn’t stand for several days. My doctor diagnosed labyrinthitis. However, after two months of low-level symptoms I had further tests and a specialist told me that people with migraines often suffer from residual vertigo after an initial viral episode. Because of “spreading depression in the brain stem” associated with migraine, the sensation of vertigo is never fully repressed, as it is in people without migraine. Has anyone else had this experience?

    *********
    I’ve never heard the “spreading depression” thing before, but do know that vertigo is a problem for many people with migraine. Some people have intermittent episodes and some have chronic episodes. This post is old, so not a lot of people will read it now — yu may get more information from other patients by asking your question on the online support group and forum: http://www.thedailyheadache.com/forum.

    Take care,
    Kerrie

  6. Scott says:

    I woke in the middle of the night 3 nights ago and when I turned, I could feel that I was dizzy. That day I did go to the office but felt out of energy and disconnected. 3 days later, still feeling a bit dizzy and cancelling alot of plans. If this is what vertigo is all about, man I wish someone would find a cure, fast! This is getting old real fast.

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