Ear Updates and all that Jazz

Well, back to the thing that has consumed much of my thoughts lately… my dumb ear and its inability to get its shit together.

Saw an ENT at the UW Madison yesterday and they were able to confirm that I have some slight hearing loss in my right ear.  They expect that it will fluctuate (get better and get worse) as the episodes of ear ringing / nausea / vertigo / ear fullness continue to happen.

The diagnosis is Endolymphatic Hydrops.

Endolymphatic hydrops refers to a condition of increased hydraulic pressure within the inner ear endolymphatic system. Excess pressure accumulation in the endolymph can cause a tetrad of symptoms: (1) fluctuating hearing loss, (2) occasional episodic vertigo (usually a spinning sensation, sometimes violent), (3) tinnitus or ringing in the ears (usually low-tone roaring), and (4) aural fullness (eg, pressure, discomfort, fullness sensation in the ears).

There is a chance it is Meniere’s Disease, but that official diagnosis comes after a few more tests rule out anything else.

Whether it’s Endolympatic Hydrops or Meniere’s really almost doesn’t matter because either way there isn’t really a “cure” and the treatment is the same.  Since they don’t really know what causes it, and can’t really predict “episodes” (a combination of the 4 symptoms listed above)… there isn’t anything I can take (like a magic bean) that makes it go away.

They recommend a low salt diet (under 1500mg), which surprisingly (and luckily) isn’t that hard when I’m really watching what I’m eating.  I already make most of my food at home and most of it pretty natural, so that isn’t so much of a game-changer.  They also recommend keeping caffeine and alcohol to a minimum. Which might sound bad to someone who does not get stricken with vertigo that moves the whole friggin’ world, but it all seems reasonable to me if it means longer spells in between episodes.

I’m still working out almost every day since that is recommended as well, gives your brain more information. You know like, “hey brain, lookey here… I’m not continuously on a roller coaster, nope nope”.  More brain info = good stuff in the long run.  I also journal so I can see the patterns in ear ringing (most common of my symptoms, about every other day), vertigo, nausea, etc.

All that being said, I had another episode this morning, the second ‘big’ one in two weeks, and it was just as awful as the first one.  I rolled over in bed around 5am and went from, “ugh, my ear is still ringing” to “for the love of god someone is playing basketball with the earth” to “I wonder if I can vomit here?” to “Who cares <insert tossed cookies>”.  Luckily I felt surprisingly good about two hours later.  Still very tired from the stress of my body not knowing WTF is going on… but other than that pretty decent.

So, since I have very little control over what’s happening… I’m trying my best to stay positive, mindful, in the moment… yadda yadda.  Some days are better than other days.  And some days are a mix of good and bad.

Luckily I still have 10 fingers, 10 toes, m&m’s don’t have a ton of sodium, and a sparkling sense of humor.  So, it could be worse… m&m’s could be high in sodium.

This is how people go crazy…

I’m on day 8 of on and off ear-ringing (tinnitus) in my right ear.  I now totally understand why people might jab sharp things into their ear… or run around with their ears covered screaming like a mad person.

About 1 week ago on a work trip, I ended up being escorted via ambulance to the local emergency room to address my acute symptoms of 1) ear ringing 2) vertigo 3) vomiting in waste basket at office… and then in ambulance.  I went from “normal” me to “puddle of vomiting sweaty person” in about 35 minutes.  The EMTs gave me some glorious medicine to stop me from vomiting, which was much appreciated by me… and my two coworkers riding in the ambulance with me.

Once I made it to the ER, and after peeing the last remaining fluids in my body into a cup… I then waiting to see the doctor for a good hour or so.  I was hooked up to an IV to give me some fluids while I waited… and waited… and waited.  Finally the ER doctor came in and after about 8 minutes of talking (after 2 hours of transport/sitting/waiting) she informs me that I likely have Menier’s Disease and that I should see an ENT.  And proceeds to let me know I can leave.

Hold the phone.  1) you tell me I have an incurable and chronic condition all nonchalant like… FU. and 2) give me some of these magic anti pukey pukey pills to take with me then.

I got the drugs and was magically let go / ushered out in about 1/200th of the time it took to get in and be seen.  Like magic.

I spent the next few days on WebMD and other sites looking up Menier’s Disease… hyperventilating, looking it up again, hyperventilating, then just focusing on what I could control and moving on.

The most common things I am reading is “no caffeine, no alcohol, less salt, less stress”.  Okay, so for the last week I’ve been adhering to all those things, and yet am still having daily episodes of ear ringing and mild-medium episodes of verdigo.

I fly home from my work trip with no new/acute problems from my ears, thank the sweet baby jesus.  And start to try to get into see the ENT.  Which, as it turns out, is like trying to see the president of the united states.  WTF is up with that?  Isn’t there a fast track like,

  • Are you having acute symptoms now?
  • Have you considered Van Gough-ing your troublesome ear?
  • Have you considered what a pig ear replacement would look like, and yet are still considering it?
  • D – All of the above – plus the irrational urge to scare away normal patients in the waiting room to get their spot.

Yup, D.

So… again, in the meantime trying to not let anxiety take total control.  Focusing on the things I CAN control… Nutrition, Exercise, Logging of Episodes for stupid doctor to read when I finally get seen, Researching Essential Oils to use, Learning Pressure Points, Learning naked moon dances (haha – not yet, but I’d consider it) to make the symptoms less, or absent all together.

I’m holding out hope that it is not Menier’s, and maybe something else that causes ear pressure, tinnitus (ear ringing) and vomiting… and wrapped up in a bundle o’ awesome on the daily.

So, on day 8… I’d say I am still doing all the things I normally would, just a bit slower.  So, I consider that a victory.  Saying some prayers and doing some meditating towards an answer… naked moon dancing… here I come!!!!

 

 

 

Put me in coach… I’m ready to play…

Today.

I’ve been doing this life coaching thing since about February and I LOVE it.  It is such a great outlet for me to gently evaluate myself and where I’m at in life (physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, etc) and non-judgmentally decide if I should stay the course, or pick a new navigational beacon to follow.

Some of my favorite topics so far have been:

Courageous Conversations: The ability to have a conversation where you intentions are pure and you care coming from a place of kindness.  My tendancy is to fall back to a place of sarcasm and deflection when I’m in a conversation I don’t care for.  Which, I still do most of the time, it’s just now I am aware of this tendency and can evaluate it as it’s happening, or after it has happened.  Mostly I now have the opportunity to really think about WHY that conversation made me uncomfortable or upset… which is really the heart of the issue.  Once I understand that, the courageous part of the conversation really falls into place.

Triggers: This has become quite the buzz word while I’ve been in this program. I don’t what else to call them… “shit that makes my eye twitch and makes me want to slap you”… is really long, so I guess we will stick with trigger.  It is so interesting to me to have better tools to sit back and think about WHY I’m triggered about something or someone.  It helps remove the raw edge off the feeling and replaces it with a curiosity and puzzle-aspect.

Embracing Imperfection: Being fine with not understanding, not doing the right thing, freaking out when you weren’t at your best, etc.  We are human.  The thing is to NOT beat yourself up about something you’ve already done (it’s in the past).  The only thing to do is move forward and treat it as a new tool. Every experience (good or bad) is a blessing in a sense because it means you’re still alive.  It’s an opportunity to learn and grow.  To find out how to repeat positive experiences, or how to avoid or ease away from negative experiences in the future.

It goes without saying that these are not earth-shattering ideas.  However, with an open heart and mind… they mean so much more.  When you are kindly curious about yourself and life, you become kinder to everyone in it… which includes yourself!!  THIS… has been the best gift.  A kindness to myself and love for myself which is still a work in progress, but totally invaluable in the long term.

I can’t say enough about the benefits of life coaching in person, through personal development books, audio books, youtube videos, etc. The time is NOW.  There are SO many resources out there for anyone who is just curious enough to want to better understand yourself.

If you want information about the life coaching program I’m going through, message me through the blog and I’d be happy to share.  I’ll be sharing some of the personal development videos, books, etc on here as well.

PS – Go get a massage.  You need it, even if you think you don’t.  You’re welcome.

Epiphanies Abound…

This year is definitely shaping up to be the year of growth for me.  Not physically of course, I’ve been 5’4 since as long as I can remember… and that hasn’t changed… but growth emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc.

I’ve always had a fascination for “why”.  Why do we do the things we do, think the things we think, act the ways we act… so when I find little nuggets of knowledge that explain some of that… it’s very exciting.

Some of my recent epiphanies have been:

  1. I don’t in fact have to share everything about what’s going on in my life with everyone.  As a self-diagnosed “diarrhea of the mouth” sufferer, I tend to over-share about my life.  My life is in fact my own, my journey is my own, and I can choose to share (or not)… This might seem obvious to some people, but to me it was like permission to keep my own secret until I was ready to share it.  Which really felt like a gift to myself.
  2. Treating uncomfortable situations like experiments.  Have you had situations in life that you weren’t sure how to get around, deal with, handle?  Relationships, friendships, coworkers, careers…?  Well, when it was suggested to me to treat how I dealt with just one of those things as an experiment to better understand myself, it was a HUGE relief. There was no longer a right or wrong way to do it… just different experiments that would either have results that I liked or I didn’t.  This new lens at looking at perceived obstacles… was a welcome change for me!  I like solving problems, so it changed my perspective from anxious and negative, to interested and curious to see the outcome.
  3. Finding my tribe.  This, is something that sounds so awesome to me.  I love the idea of finding my niche.  However, I quickly discovered that sitting around waiting for my tribe to appear out of thin air… wasn’t how it worked.  I then started just kind of awkwardly asking people to be a part of my tribe…. and let me tell you something… being a mid-30’s person asking for someone to in essence be your friend, is SUPER vulnerable.  Even that wasn’t a wildly successful endeavor (as far as finding my tribe goes).  The people that were open to it, didn’t just start calling me every day to be a part of my life.  So, I found that (as with all things) I had to focus on myself.  Once I was more clear on the vibe I wanted to put out, and more true to that vibe… my tribe would then form a bit more naturally than just crossing my fingers and hoping.
  4. Standing in my truth.  What now?  Since I’m a visual person, I imagine standing in truth cement.  It’s a secure place that I want to discover, mold, create, where I can communicate more truthfully with others in my life.  When I’m backed into an uncomfortable communication corner, I often resort to humor and/or sarcasm to deal with it.  At the end of the day it does no one justice.  I don’t feel good when I have not been my authentic self, and sending out mixed signals with humor/sarcasm don’t get me to the end result I want out of most situations.
  5. The scale is a fickle bitch and can’t be trusted.  However, it can be used as an informational tool – if it must be used. I am an every day scale user. There is probably rehab for this sort of thing.  I definitely in the past have been emotionally tied up in what the scale showed me in the morning.  Since I started workout programs that included more weight lifting, I have a MUCH kinder relationship with the scale.  I treat it more as, “oh, I did XXX yesterday and the scale did YYY this morning”.  I’m not perfect, I still flip off the scale on mornings that I don’t like the numbers… my husband still offers to throw it in the trash and get a new one when I kick it and declare it must not be working right (he’s a good sport).  However, about 80% of the time I just shrug it off now… which is a HUGE accomplishment for me.

There is something so emotionally cleansing about having epiphanies and “aha” moments.  Moments where something that has been nagging at your subconscious because clear, anxious situations become bearable, and waffling on decisions turns into confident action.  Those moments to me feel like soul massages.  I feel lighter, less weighed down, and ready to take on whatever is next on this fantastical life journey.

Cheers to epiphanies, may they be pleasant and abundant!

c8251f2aa9e6d28f0698a530d19ac3bd

3 Day Refresh – Review

A few things you should know before reading any further:

  1. I am a beachbody coach.
  2. I only completed 90% of the first day of this program before stopping.
  3. I love beachbody, their vision, and their programs (including the workouts and shakes).
  4. The 3 Day Refresh… was not for me.

I know so many people have had wonderous luck with this program.  People have lost between 3-10 pounds in just 3 days, their cravings were gone, their tummies less bloated, and overall looked and sounded pretty happy afterwards.  So, please do not let my opinion sway your overall decision, but I do want to give an honest review of how I felt it went.

Day 1 (and as it would turn out the only day):

  • Wake up and drink a cup of water – nbd, I like water.
  • Drink a vegan chocolate shake – I don’t like the vegan shakes, so this kinda bummed me out since I usually have café latte or regular chocolate shakes and I prefer their flavor and texture over the vegan chocolate.  I added some strawberries to the shake (per the plan) and threw a few in my mouth as well (since you get 12 of them).
  • Water, water, water (pee, pee, pee)
  • Have a glass of tea – nbd, I like tea as well
  • Water, water, water (pee, pee, pee)
  • Fiber sweep – there were a lot of bad reviews about this online, but I didn’t mind it.  I mixed it with 10 ounces of water and downed it faster than a college kid at a frat party.  Kinda lemony, but it didn’t bother me.
  • Water, water, water (pee, pee, pee)
  • Lunch – Vanilla Fresh Shake (kind of tastes like cereal milk, without the cereal).  With fruit, veggie and hummus.  I think my husband put it best when he said, “I found myself licking the container to try and get every ounce of hummus out of that thing.”  Because the shake was drank with it, I was relatively satisfied after lunch.  Full would be a strong word, content would be stretching it… but definitely not still hungry.
  • Water, water, water (pee, pee, pee)
  • Snack – veggie and hummus again.  Again – violation of tiny hummus bowl (2 Tbsp) commenced.
  • Water, water, water (pee, pee, pee) hungry, hungry, hungry
  • Have another glass of tea – nbd, I like tea as well — however, super hungry and the tea wasn’t really cutting it.
  • Dinner – Vanilla Fresh Shake again, and an option from the dinner list.  We did the stir fry veggies.  My husband sat across from me and next to his son.  He picked at his veggies while drooling over his son’s canned raviolis… bless his heart… my husband was holding out for me.
  • Water, water, water – still holding fork – staring down husband – reconsidering life choices – remembering why I never tried out for survivor, naked and afraid, or any other show where food wasn’t guaranteed.
  • Dinner 2.0 – Added a chicken breast and packaged up the rest of the refresh contents to return via the mail.
  • Day 2 – resumed normal eating, but my stomach was SO upset and bloated. Not sure if it was something to do with the shakes being different?  But my stomach didn’t feel right until what would have been Day 3.

Basically – it just wasn’t for me.  I spent the entire day worrying about what I was going to eat, when I was going to eat it, how I was going to gum 12 strawberries to feel more like 27 strawberries. I didn’t have much weight to lose, my husband was only doing it for moral support… our hearts just weren’t in it… and our stomach’s and resolve were empty.

Again – I do believe that this is a good jump start for people looking to jump start their body and minds onto a new path.  With the right mindset, and the okay-ness with a lack of solid food… this could totally be the program for you!

I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about it, just know I chose not to finish it… so I can only speak to what I did complete.

Peace out!

8aef1a6e6aa040ec775ac4b83def8758

February Follies

Month two of 2016.  Today went pretty well as far as Mondays go!  Had a good work day, got laundry and dishes done early in the morning, got my workout(s) in, ate healthy all day, booked more stuff for my birthday trip to Napa Valley and also booked stuff for an awesome trip in March to celebrate awesome ladies supporting each other, networking, healing, learning, growing <– need I go on?  And… it’s in Orlando.  PS, that’s a helluva lot warmer than Wisconsin in March.

I have had so much on my mind lately.  The days are flying by and the nights are filled with weird stress dreams.  I have discovered a few things about myself lately…

  1. I do not like booking my own travel arrangements for vacations.  There are SO many options, prices, experiences, adventures… man oh man.  I’d much rather go on a structured/planned trip that someone else planned.  I have spent more hours thinking about and pondering what to do on my birthday trip to Napa, than I will actually spend in Napa!!  How crazy is that??  Lesson learned – just find a travel agent or friend that really digs that shit and just give them money or wine to do it for me.
  2. I am on a constant journey to better myself.  I am always open to ways to change, evolve, reflect, grow, enhance both myself and my life.  I hope this never changes, I enjoy flexing the muscles of my life to see where I can go and what I can do.
  3. I have a gum problem.  I chew like 8,371 pieces in a day when I’m stressed.  Is there support groups for this?
  4. I am so much more accepting of my body than I was even 6 months ago.  Focusing on eating clean and working out has given me such a different perspective and appreciation for my body and the things that it can do.  I take time every day to love all the bits!

Life has its ups and downs, and lately for me life has had many more ups than downs.  I’ve been really trying to find ways to fully appreciate and acknowledge this phenomenon since I know that might not always be the case :)  Appreciating the small things and each other.

Also – trying to be the biggest, best, badassiest version of myself that this universe will allow!  Which, is a pretty damn cool thing to think about every day.

fitspiration-b16

Staying on track!

This was a travel week for work for me. I was determined to stay on track for my workouts. So, I packed enough food and shakes to eat almost every meal in my hotel room.

image

This definitely set me up for success this week and kept me from being tempted. Id rather save my cheat meals with my husband, good wine, and good food… Than because I didn’t plan well and made bad choices while traveling.

I also worked out in the hotel fitness center in order to stay on track with the workouts and use the weights. I was a little nervous, but it all worked out well!

image

I also found a great book at the airport on my way out of town… Read it!  I felt totally inspired and fired up!  Self-help with swear words  my kind of read.

image

I also was training people all week, and that went really well. It’s  awesome when people are engaged and listening to what you have to say… Especially when you’re only reason for doing it is to make sure THEY succeed!!

Im so glad to be heading home tomorrow to the dogs, husband and my own bed!!