The vestibular rehabilitation (physical therapy for people with vestibular migraines) started the end of March, and the protocol is meant to desensitize my body to the dizziness/migraines by triggering the strongest possible symptoms and essentially acclimating myself to them. It will allow me to move around the world in a normal fashion. I hold out great hopes, since this and the medication appear to be my only options for treatment. So far, the exercises are effective in making me extremely dizzy, to the point of being nauseous and migraine-y afterward. So yay, I’m doing it right!
Sadly, after three weeks I’m not seeing much of a difference in the dizziness frequency, intensity or duration. Talking with the physical therapist on Monday, I was able to say that migraines are slightly lessened in frequency in the last week. Realistically, I’ve seen that fluctuate before and am cautiously optimistic at best. I return to the neurologist on Monday to discuss progress and possible changes to treatment.
My favorite part is that I’m moving again, and I’ve missed that more than I can express. My favorite medical related experience since this started was the cardiac treadmill stress test, where I had to work my way up to a steady run with three medical technicians mere feet from me in case I lost my balance. I was in a safe environment to run, and I ran my ass off to sheer exhilaration. It was invigorating, even though I was extremely sick the rest of the day.
Up until the vestibular migraines hit, I was training for the Thanksgiving 5k race, and was up to running for 20 minute spans without slowing my pace. I am very far from this now, but will get there again. I have to. I’ve started going with Chooch on his morning walks with Kaylee, and love it to pieces. Yes, I’m extremely dizzy after the short 1.5 or so mile walk. But I’m MOVING. And I feel safe because he’s right there with me. I’ve taken one neighborhood walk by myself, and it was a bit longer. I don’t know if I’ll do that again until the dizziness is under better control, as I was very anxious that something would happen. And anxiety makes my symptoms much worse. See the conundrum?
I also love the walks because it’s just us. No twitter, no phone calls, no computer, and only Kaylee to distract us. *Squirrel!* Whether we talk or not, I just love it. We already do a lot together, which is normal because he’s my best friend, but I truly treasure this time with him.
I would love to be able to do my 5k route in the hopes of being able to do the upcoming Race for the Cure, but that would mean getting up even earlier since we walk before he goes to work. We haven’t registered for it yet since I’m so wobbly and never know from one day to the next what I’m physically capable of. We’ve participated in the Richmond race for the last 2 years, and I did countless races in DC in previous years (always as a walker). I really hate to miss it this year, especially since I know two people that are currently fighting for their lives from this horrific and demoralizing disease. It already took my Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother and I take it as a personal challenge to walk for all of them.
On a related note, a very dear friend today was saying that as bad as things are for him, he’s glad he doesn’t have to deal with my medical issues. I on the other hand, thank God every day that I’m not fighting for my life. I’ll take the diagnosis I was given GLADLY and with great gratitude.
I’m putting the decision on the race on hold until the weekend, when we will hopefully walk the distance to see how I do. *fingers crossed*