Relax, Doctors Are Human. Kinda.

I can’t speak for you, but doctors stress me out!

I prepare for medical appointments the same way I prepare for final exams.

I spend weeks researching terms and piecing together what I believe is relevant data.

Carrie and Saul standing in front of Carries color coded wall.

Photo: Kent Smith/SHOWTIME- Homeland

I print out pages of medical journals pouring over complex medical terminology I’m not qualified to comprehend. That doesn’t stop me from trying.

Armed with groundbreaking information…recent symptom checklist…list of questions… I’m prepared for battle.

It NEVER seems to go as well as planned out in my head!

Doc: ” Hello. I’m Dr. SharpAsATack. What brings you here today?

Me: “Well, this is happening. Ok, let me tell you. Did you read the latest breakthrough? Is this 5th symptom on my checklist normal? The last doctor I saw said I have Xyz. Do you believe me? ”

Total spew!

You know what I’m talking about?

It’s kinda sad. Fighting to get your life back, while given 15 minutes to plead your case in front of Dr. SharpAsATack, and the opportunity gets away because of intimidation. Craziness.

Scrubs and a lab coat get me every time.

I’ve been unable to view Dr. SharpAsATack as human, which rocks my confidence, hence spew.

There has to be a better way. Let’s get some things straight.

#1. Doctors are human!

Kinda. They are “special” humans that have a fascinating ability to understand complex data. Don’t allow that specialized knowledge to intimidate you.

#2. Less is more.

What expletive runs through my doctors mind when he/she glances at my manila folder filled with papers! Lol. I’m guessing… $HIT!

There’s nothing wrong keeping up on the latest medical findings, but be mindful not to inundate your doctor on the initial visit. Allow the relationship to cultivate. After a relationship is established, don’t be afraid to suggest an article you two can review.

Tip: While at initial visit, stay focused on presenting your medical history. If you suffer from dizziness, check out VEDAs suggested worksheets.

#3. Trust yourself.

I start to get a hot flash the second after the nurse says…” The doctor will be right with you.”

After nine years of living with these wretched symptoms, one might assume I would be confident rattling off my symptoms. That’s the problem with hidden disabilities. You learn to become a defense attorney that represents your symptoms from the first offense. Folks poke holes at your defense and you start questioning yourself! You live in your body and you know when something is off! Trust that.

I’m hoping these few simple points will help us both stay focused and remove some stress when tackling the next medical appointment.

Hugs and know that someone has your back.

Much love,
Marissa

Officially a Legit Walker?

Hat, cotton shirt, pants, walking shoes, trekking poles, pepper spray, phone, and I head out the door to walk as many times a week as my health permits.

Increasing my walking distance and stamina post-vestibular disorder has been a LONG JOURNEY!

Here is a photo of my early vestibular(balance) days, when walking around the block felt IMPOSSIBLE….

Early vestibular days of me laying on couch next to my dog wearing sea-bands

I was in a funk and depression FOR YEARS after my vestibular dysfunction appeared. One day someone mentioned to me..

Marissa, you are going to be “dizzy” regardless if your inside your home or outside your home.

WHAT? Well heck! She was right. I initially dismissed her statement. Deep down I didn’t want to believe life beyond my four walls was forever changed.

She was right AND being logical! I was “dizzy” outside my home as well as inside.  There was no escape. SO, I have been pushing ever since to venture out more. Since this vestibular condition NEVER leaves me, it’s going to have to join me while I push
beyond the limits of what it permits.

I mentioned to my fiancé that I wanted to try walking sticks, and he purchased me a pair of trekking poles (THANKS BABE)…

Marissa's trekking poles

I snapped a photo of me on my first walk ALONE post-vestibular issues!…

First time walking alone post-vestibular using my walking sticks

I painted my walking poles purple for lupus awareness month….

Poles spray painted purple for lupus awareness month and POP Day

It started initially with walking down the block and eventually I reached 2.1 miles…

2.147 miles says my pedometer

All I want for Christmas is to walk AND complete a 5k walk for arthritis!

jingle-bell-runwalk-arthritis- 2012

 

I FINALLY hit 2.7 miles! (Please pray I get here again. I have yet to hit this milestone again!)…

2.75 miles says my pedometer

I was able to walk far enough (BY MYSELF) to purchase my own meals from el pollo loco AND subway…

El pollo loco receipt and Subway bag

And now I want to give a shout out to my cousin who sent me 3 AWESOME walking shirts (she is a racing, triathlon, diva!)…

Racing shirt my cousin sent me

Thanks girl! You are helping me look the part of a legit walker. :)

Much love,
Marissa

P.S   It’s ok if we fail or have setbacks let’s just promise each other to  keep continuing the take incremental steps in a forward direction! WE GOT THIS

Happy Balance Awareness Week And Two Victories

Whoop! Sept 16-22nd is Balance Awareness Week.

Balance Awareness Week Banner

According to the Vestibular Disorder Association

The goal of Balance Awareness Week is to “defeat dizziness” by helping people recognize the symptoms of a vestibular disorder, and urging them to seek help from a professional vestibular specialist.

Possible Vestibular Symptoms are…

  • Vertigo
  • Dizziness
  • Imbalance
  • Spatial disorientation
  • Hearing changes
  • Cognitive and/or psychological changes
  • Lightheaded
  • Rocking sensation
  • Spinning sensation
  • Feeling false sensations of movement
  • You notice you are titling your head to one position
  • It’s hard to maintain a straight posture.
  • Tendency to look down
  • Difficulty tracking objects with your eyes
  • Sensitivity to light

AND the list goes on…

In addition, VEDA encourages the friends, family and coworkers of those suffering from a vestibular disorder to learn more about how balance dysfunction can impact their loved one’s ability to perform common day-today activities.

Family, friends, and co-workers IT’S CRUCIAL for me to alert you that a vestibular condition MAY NOT be something you can visual see, but those of us living with vestibular dysfunction are living with UNPREDICTABLE and LIFE-ALTERING symptoms.

WE ARE NOT dodging you when we have to cancel plans at the last minute.

WE ARE NOT trying to avoid work by having to call in sick.

WE ARE NOT unwilling to be intimate, it’s just one of the last things on your mind when you are chronically dizzy. (Yeah, I said it!)

It’s symptoms and the condition…NOT US and NOT YOU!

On to the victories…

#1. Was able to walk far enough to purchase lunch for Gram and I at El Pollo Loco! Whoop.

el pollo receipt

Side note: I walked into El Pollo and stood in line. As soon as I stood still it felt like I had just gotten off a treadmill. I felt as though I was still walking. Such a yucky feeling! I am hoping that continued practice will lead to habituation and that treadmill feeling will lessen.

#2 Pool victory.

Side note: I said that my first attempt running in the pool was less than a minute, but I had actually made it 2 minutes running in place in the pool! ALSO I realize I have NO CONCEPT OF TIME. The post I was referring too in the video was from May 20th 2012. So it has taken me 4 months to get to 19 minutes in the pool. I will take it!:)

Much love,
Marissa