My first bad episode was about fifteen years ago. I got up in the morning and immediately fell back to bed. I was very dizzy and could not even sit up. Eventually I managed to crawl to the bathroom. My husband called my work to say I wouldn’t make it in, but my symptoms had cleared up enough by the afternoon that I did manage to do some work.
Over the years since then I still sometimes felt unbalanced and needed to hold a wall or whatever was handy. And once in awhile I even staggered. I could hear my Scottish mother say that I had "been at the bottle," which is certainly not the case.
Less than a year ago when my husband and I were on a trip, I again got up and immediately fell back and felt dizzy. While I needed my husband's help to get to the bathroom, this was not as serious an attack as the first time.
I’ve been to my family physician about my "zingy head" (there's a constant buzz in my ears), but he had no real comment. Thus I am presuming it is tinnitus, plus some sort of vertigo disorder or Meniere’s disease, but I have never actually beem diagnosed.
I still have the odd day when I stagger and can imagine what others may think about me! Consequently, I would like to see someone for a proper diagnosis. - Diane Kizik-MacDonald, Port Moody, BC
Diane's story is all too common! It involves a set of symptoms that might include dizziness, motion sickness, imbalance, vertigo, tinnitus, anxiety, depression and on and on. While clinicians dealing with balance and dizziness may feel they have heard it all, people suffering these symptoms often have no idea what's happening to them... and they feel the need to "put a name to it." They want a diagnosis! Otherwise, they feel like no one believes them or people think they're malingering. If you can say, I have Meniere's disease or I have an acoustic neuroma, your suffering is considered legitimate. But, if all you can say is, "I have dizzy spells" or "I have motion sickness when I'm sitting on my couch," whose to say you're sick at all!
So, we here at Balance & Dizziness Canada want to point you in the right direction.
Step 1 - Educate yourself: learn how to describe your symptoms, organize your story and present your facts, as well documented as possible, to your doctor.
Step 2 - Advocate for yourself: when you do not feel heard and your concerns have not been addressed, use the organized information you've collected in Step #1 to ask for a referral or a second opinion.
Following steps one and two should lead to a proper diagnosis and treatment in 95% of cases.
Here are the healthcare professionals in BC that you might expect to see in your search for a diagnosis.
And, finally, always be willing to use tools and therapies that can help you regain some of your balance functions. The brain is always open to changing and rewiring! Balance is very important to your well-being, safety and enjoyment in life.