As I was drinking my coffee this morning and scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, an article popped up about Meniere’s disease and I was suddenly reminded that I once had this disease. It’s crazy, but I had truly forgotten about it.
Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss and the sensation of fullness in the ear. For me, it started around 13 years ago. One evening, I started to feel “off”; I felt dizzy and nauseous and ultimately I ended up passing out. I went to the ER and after IV fluids and several tests, the doctor couldn’t find anything wrong with me.
The days following were horrible: every time I moved my head or tried to walk around, the room would spin. I went to my general practitioner and she immediately referred me to an otolaryngologist. He suspected that I might have Meniere’s, but I wasn’t showing all of the symptoms and so he prescribed physical therapy exercises and anti-nausea medication. The anti-nausea medication and PT exercises made me even more dizzy and nauseous and after collapsing at work, I was referred to the Mayo Clinic.
This was not a fun time in my life. I was horribly sick; I couldn’t eat anything because of extreme nausea; I lost a lot of weight, and I had the constant sensation of being on a rocking boat. I started to become depressed because the doctors couldn’t seem to figure out what was wrong and I started to feel like I was crazy. It was very frustrating.
I went to the Mayo Clinic, but by this time, I was starting to feel better. Meniere’s disease will often go into periods of remission where a person will be symptom-free. The Mayo doctors thought that perhaps I just had a virus.
Several months later, the symptoms returned. My ear felt full and was always ringing; I would have a horrible dizzy spell and then would be nauseous for days afterwards. At the time, my boss, who was an orthopaedic surgeon, had a colleague who was a specialist in the otolaryngologist field. He agreed to see me, and after performing several tests, I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. He put me on a diuretic medication and I was restricted to a low-sodium diet.
I felt better with the medication and low-sodium diet; however, I wasn’t completely symptom free. The bouts of vertigo did not completely go away. Occasionally I would wake up in bed and the room would be spinning. Or I would be sitting at my desk at work and suddenly it would feel like someone violently shook my head and I’d have to take a Valium to calm the dizziness and nausea. The only thing that would make me feel better was sleep.
When I started eating a vegan diet over six years ago, all of my symptoms disappeared. I can’t tell you if the symptoms gradually disappeared or just immediately disappeared. I just know that I have felt completely fine. In fact, when I went in for my yearly check-up shortly after going on the vegan diet, completely symptom free, my doctor questioned whether I even had the disease.
Maybe I didn’t. I think I did. But I don’t have it anymore.
I believe plants healed me.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I’m just telling you what worked for me.
On another note, I’ve spent the week revisiting Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen after discovering an app for my smart phone that helps me keep track of the foods that I’m eating. The app gives you the daily dozen foods with a checklist. Last night I went to the grocery store to stock up on things that will help me meet the daily dozen quota each day. If you’re interested in the app, available both for Apple and Android phones, it’s called Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen.
Exercise has been hit or miss over the last couple of weeks. I can’t seem to get into any kind of routine. I’ve become bored with the 21 Day Fix workouts and I’m not running a lot. I need something new to renew my motivation. If anyone has suggestions, I’m anxious to hear them!