I always had trouble with my ears and that nasty wax buildup, so one day in the spring of 2005, when my right ear was stopped up, I didn’t think anything about it. I went to the doctor and he cleaned out my ears, but my right ear was still extremely stopped up. The doctor made an appointment for me to see an ENT specialist the next week.
I went to my appointment. After noticeable hearing loss and an audiogram, I went immediately for an MRI to rule out tumors. After the test, I went back to the ENT’s office and was started on Prednisone to try and restore my hearing. The doctor said that typically when there is hearing loss, I should be seen within the first 24–48 hours for a better chance to restore it. Unfortunately, it had been a week since the hearing loss. Needless to say, the Prednisone did not help and my hearing didn’t get any better.
I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease, and within two more months my right ear had no usable hearing left. This is not typically the norm, but who is to say what is normal with this disease? It affects so many people in so many different ways.
I have never had a lot of trouble with vertigo and only a few episodes with vomiting. I have a lot of trouble with balance issues due to the hearing loss. In December 2005, I had surgery, and was fitted with a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid or BAHA in April 2006. I still have trouble in crowds but the BAHA has vastly improved my life.
I take a diuretic, watch my weight, exercise on a regular basis, and currently use Xanax to try and help with the dizziness and tinnitus. The tinnitus is always there, and so is the pressure and fullness.
I am currently Meniere’s free in my left ear, for which I am thankful. I know there is a possibility that I could go bilateral, but life is too short to worry about things that haven’t happened or may never happen.
I have extremely bad sinus and allergy problems, which seem to aggravate my symptoms. I take allergy injections on a regular basis. I also have a lot of trouble with weather changes; and stress is a constant threat to my health.
I only have one good ear. But now that I listen with my heart, the things I do hear are so much sweeter.
In the year 2000, my world changed again. I was standing in my room and it began spinning. I dropped to the floor and was sick to my stomach. This lasted about a half hour but seemed longer. When the feeling subsided, I called my primary care doctor and saw him the next day. He gave me a referral to an ENT doctor. I explained what had happened and gave him my medical history, including my experience with ovarian cancer. I was diagnosed with severe Meniere’s Disease that included 24/7 tinnitus and vertigo attacks. I had a hearing test that showed 20% hearing loss in the left ear and 75% hearing loss in the right ear. I cried. I was given medication and told what to do. My life changed and the adjustment over time was very difficult.
I was a preschool teacher for 15 years but can no longer work in any job. I have strong support from my husband who is my partner and best friend, from our two grown children, and from the rest of my family.
I see my ENT every six months. I live my life as normally as possible. Some things I used to enjoy are no longer possible, such as going to movies. The camera movement makes me dizzy and the loud noise is bothersome. Even watching TV is difficult at times for the same reason. But I live my life one day at a time doing the best I can for my husband and me.
Each day is like a journey of life. Some paths are smooth, some are rocky, and some are long and winding, but I manage to cope to the best of my ability. I am very thankful for the Menieres.org website and Meniere’s Resources, Inc. We must be heard and this disease brought to the forefront more and more.