I'm so dizzy... (another update)

Last week I posted an entry about my first series of medical tests in regards to my ongoing vertigo issues. I just wanted to update people after the second round of tests at Dr. Epley's clinic on Wednesday. The following is the email I sent to friends and family yeasterday:

I feel a bit wobbly, and in a fog, today after the second round of vertigo testing yesterday. I had a videonystagmography (VNG) test yesterday - and it was an interesting "ride." The test determines if there are problems with the balance system in the inner ear by measuring eye movements, which are recorded by an infrared camera mounted in a pair of goggles. Disturbances in the balance system may cause involuntary eye movements called nystagmus.

The first stage of the exam involved remaining stationery while following vertical and horizontal light movements on a screen with my eyes. Just keeping my eyes open long enough for the proper recording of information (30+ seconds) was difficult and the faster the speed of the light on the screen caused me to be dizzy.

The second part of the test involved shaking my head back and forth at a variety of speeds while keeping my eyes open and focused on a stationery light. There were four levels of speed at which I needed to shake my head - and I really couldn't do it quick enough at the fastest light speed. In fact, I started feeling nauseous.

In the third part of the exam I had to move around in various positions, with the examination chair position changed a couple times, in the complete darkness of the goggles, while my eye movements were recorded. When I was still on the chair it felt as if it was spinning counter-clockwise.

In the fourth test, the "calorics," small balloons were inserted into my ear canal, and cool and warm water inflated the balloon (ouch!) and was circulated through the balloon. In the darkness of the goggles I had to keep my eyes open as long as possible while my reactions to a bright green light was recorded. Again, when done it felt as if the chair was spinning.

At the completion of the tests I felt really disoriented and dizzy. The times I experienced complete darkness with the goggles seemed to cause the most issues with my balance. (No night driving for me) I also kind of felt as if I was on the verge of a panic attack. I couldn't get out of the doctor's clinic fast enough to wait on a park bench outside for my partner Ed to pick me up.

When I got home I was exhausted and went directly to bed. After sleeping for about 1.5 hours I got up to dizziness and the left side of my face being swollen, tingling and numb. Today I woke up to feeling dizzy and in a fog - and I knew better than to even attempt driving a car anywhere. Over the course of the morning my face has gotten increasingly numb and tingling.

I called the clinic about the numbness and Dr. Epley said that with some patients the testing causes inflammation and swelling in the ear and head. I'm now being put on a five-day course of methylprednisolone to relieve the inflammation, swelling and related symptoms. Luckily, I can just walk over to the drugstore to pick up the prescription. Of course, the drug has a wide variety of side effects - including vertigo!

This stuff is all kind of a P.I.T.A., but I told Ed that I really am feeling the best I've felt in years - simply because I feel like I'm doing something positive about the problems and finding a possible solution.

Next Thursday I go back to the clinic for another consultation with Dr. Epley, where the testing results will be reviewed and possible treatments will be discussed. At that time I will also most likely get to go for a ride in Dr. Epley's Omniax chair.

It's been three years since my vertigo issues began. Yesterday I was told that the average patient has experienced vertigo for eight years before getting to where I am today with diagnosis and possible treatment. I think I'd go crazy if I had to deal with this for that long.

Thanks for all your support. Thanks also to Lisa Horne and Ed for being my personal chauffeurs.

I will keep you posted as things progress....

© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives


morealyera said...

Wow, Jeff - what an ordeal! I wondered what was involved with diagnosing vertigo; it was interesting to read over your experience.

It sounds like you're staying positive through all of this, and that's definitely a good thing. I hope that you find an effective treatment so that you can put all of this behind you soon.

Stephen Tiano said...

I wish you the best, Jeff. Almost 20 years ago, when my high blood pressure was first caught, it took a dizzy spell in the middle of the night to make me get the message. I actually fell out of bed in the middle of the night, I was so disoriented and dizzy. So I can only imagine how horrible your vertigo must feel. I hope your tests give a fast handle on it and the doc hands you a fix. If we ain't got our health, my dad used to say to me as a kid—and, come to think of it, he still says it now, thankfully—we ain't got nothin'.

Good thoughts to you, man!

Patricia said...

I'm glad that you're starting to get some relief and most of all that you now have a reason of why you've been feeling this way. I hope that your treatments continue to go well!