Why am I dizzy? The beginning of my journey.
According to those who love me best, I have always been a little dizzy. Now it has gone to my head. I think it was sometime in December when it started. I would wake up in the morning and get dizzy for a couple of minutes. Sometimes it would be brief and then I would be fine, and other times it came over me in waves as I got ready for the day. Usually by the time the kids got up, it was gone and I would forget about it. At first I wasn’t too alarmed. I was fighting a cold and figured it was just part of a virus.
But as the cold went away, the dizziness didn’t. I realized that this was happening three, four, or even five days at a time. The spells were lasting anywhere from a couple of seconds to a couple of hours and ranged from being lightheaded to feeling like everything around me was spinning; or worse, I was the one that was spinning. I looked drunk when that happened, it was hard to walk. There were times when I could sense the vertigo coming on and was able to fight it off, and other times when I just had to let the waves wash over me. Usually I could continue to function and it rarely made me nauseous. If I had the time I would usually just go back to bed. Once or twice I got so dizzy in my sleep that it woke me up and one night I remember dreaming that I was dizzy. Still, just about the time I would start getting concerned, it would go away for a few weeks and I wouldn’t think about it anymore.
As the months went by, it became harder to ignore. I would get annoyed when, after a week or two of being fine, I would wake up dizzy again. I would be lying perfectly still and just after I gained consciousness the world would start spinning. I knew I should probably get it checked, but I am an excellent procrastinator and I just didn’t feel like making the effort. I hadn’t been to a doctor in almost 15 years and the last one I went to was truly a quack. I remember him telling me that something wasn’t right about my blood work but he didn’t know what it was. And even if he could diagnose the problem, he probably wouldn’t know what to do about it. He said my problems were likely related to the stress of getting married which put as much stress on a person as the death of a parent. And he assured me that he knew what he was talking about since he had been married four times. His suggestion was to go on a diet of broth and cabbage( I had gained over 40 lbs. in one month after going on birth control-but that’s another story), and have an EKG. Which he admitted wouldn’t really tell him anything but was always interesting. Can you see why I wasn’t very motivated to find a doctor if I didn’t really need to?
In March I thought I had better start tracking my episodes in case I actually decided to find a doctor. I started hinting to my husband that this was a possibility. I told him I should probably find out if I had low blood pressure or a brain tumor. I was only partially kidding. A few years ago I had experience severe dizziness. I was unable to move without spinning so much I wanted to toss my cookies. I spent quite some time in the bathroom doing just that. At the time I had a friend who was a PA. She had me come in and I was diagnosed with vertigo and given some medication. I was fine the next day. I remember her telling me that this is one of the worst symptoms for a doctor to hear. Apparently there are a lot of things that can cause dizziness and some of them are scary, including tumors.
My dizziness was still mostly in the mornings, and when it did happen during the day, it was brief and didn’t interrupt my life. I noticed that it seemed to happen more often when I would lie with a towel roll behind my neck, or after I had been lying down for a while. Occasionally, I would start to get dizzy when I was volunteering up at school and had been counting papers or working at something that would make my eyes go funny. A few times, I had gotten dizzy at the chiropractors after being on the massage table. These were some of the worst daytime spells, but I would usually feel better once adjusted.
We were having family come and visit us in April and I had decided to find a doctor after they left. Of course, once I decided that, I had no symptoms for most of the month. Then just as the end of the month drew near it happened again. This time it seemed a little worse, lasting longer and invading my day a little more. And this time there were only two good days within a two week period. I started asking my friends if they could suggest a doctor. Apparently I’m not the only one who doesn’t go to the doctor. Finally someone had a name for me and I made an appointment. I saw Dr. Izabella Musial on Monday, April 30th. I was glad I did, because the next day I got dramatically worse.