As some of you know, for the past 4 years I have struggled with 2 – 3 months of dizziness every time I’ve been on a road trip or traveled in the car for more than about an hour or so. This has been an exhausting and frustrating situation filled with doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, suggestions, advice, prayers and so many tears.
If you’ve ever been dizzy you know how disorienting and debilitating it can be. To navigate life for months at a time while feeling constantly imbalanced and unstable has been hard. There has been depression, anger, confusion, self pity and hopelessness as I have tried to find relief for the dizziness but also answers as to why this keeps happening.
The “answers” have ranged from fluid in the ears, sinusitis, chronic eustachian dysfunction and extreme motion sickness. The treatment: pills and prayers that this would finally be the thing that helps. But none of that ever felt like it was getting down to the actual issue.
On July 1st, my husband and I drove to Pigeon Forge, TN for a 5 day kid-free getaway. I was grateful for the time together, the experiences we shared, the memories we made but I was absolutely miserable for most of it. Dizzy, nauseous, unstable and still trying to make the most of the time we had together.
When we returned home I started my litany of google searches, requests for prayers and made an appointment with an ENT who wrote me 3 prescriptions and sent me on my way. No hard feelings because it’s just what they do. But I no longer felt willing to accept this as the answer. Not to mention the medication he put me on made the dizziness worse but I digress…
A few weeks ago I stumbled upon an office that specializes in assessing, diagnosing and treating dizziness and balance disorders. Their testing and treatment is so specialized it’s only done by a handful of doctors across the country. I was grateful that this office was only 20 minutes away from me. I scheduled an assessment and then prayed hard that this would finally be the thing that helps.
After my assessment, I was diagnosed with Otolith Dysfunction in my right ear and Vestibular Migraines. I was set up on a home program 5 days a week, twice a day combined with treatment sessions 2 times a week in the office. I’m told I should see some improvement after the first week and significant improvement after 3 weeks.
I’m 4 days in as I’m writing this and the only changes so far are that the treatments are making the dizziness worse. Being extremely dizzy while trying to be a fully functioning adult with a full time job, 2 kids, and a husband while constantly feeling off balance and unstable is exhausting to say the least but I finally have hope that I have found the relief and answers I’ve been looking for.
With all of the changes I’ve made over the last 2 years in my journey to finding a healthier me (emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically) I couldn’t help but connect this physical imbalance to imbalances of the heart, mind and spirit.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in recovery (and am still learning) is about balance. All or nothing thinking no longer serves me very well and God is constantly having to reach out His hand to steady me as I find myself tipping or falling too far in one direction or another.
Still doing treatment appointments and my home exercise program. Still having times of increased dizziness. I feel like I’ve been tired, worn out and running on empty for so long that I might not remember what normal feels like if I ever get back around to it.
I keep thinking about balance with this current bout of dizziness. Everything feels thin in this season: my patience, my effort, my recovery.
And yet, I’m still surviving. Still standing.
I’m picturing myself with strings attached to my back that extend up into the sky as far as the eye can see.
Strings of strength.
Strength that’s not my own. Holding me up. Steadying me. Carrying me. Moving me forward. It makes me grateful to know I don’t have to carry myself or get myself through this on my own. I don’t know where I’d be without God and His unending ability to see me through.
Treatments, home exercise, dizziness. All the same. Still working the weakened area and still triggering the dizziness every day with the work I’m doing. I was expecting to be feeling better by now. Still waiting for that to happen.
What is it they say about expectation? That it’s the #1 cause of disappointment. Or something like that but that’s been so true for my struggle with the dizziness. I expected to start this treatment plan and to start feeling better. I didn’t realize the treatment would cause the dizziness to get worse. My doctor says that I’m working an area that is weak and it’s just like going to the gym – your muscles are sore and tired after you work out. Then you start working a different area and that becomes sore and tired too. The same is true of this except dizzy, not sore and tired.
But the expectation I had was one of finding relief when I found this specialist. Like stumbling upon a cool stream after wandering in the dry, hot sun.
You step into the waters looking for respite but as soon as you start wading out into the deep, the current knocks you off your feet and whisks you downstream. And you’re thinking, “All I wanted was some rest and now I’m fighting to keep my head above water.”
Expectation and disappointment.
I know the work I’m doing with these appointments and exercises should benefit me in the long run to hopefully eliminate or lessen the dizziness on future car trips but I was hoping to have already found the relief I was looking for.
So here I am flailing downstream when what I asked for was a refreshing dip in the cool water.
And I hear God saying, “A refreshing dip in the cool stream is a temporary respite. You are disappointed that your expectation wasn’t met but your expectation wasn’t what I had in mind. You are looking for relief and I am working to restore. Restoration and transformation requires trust in the process and trust in the One who restores. That is Me, not you. I brought you to this cool stream, not for rest and relief but for repair and reconstruction. The strings of strength have not been snipped. You are not alone and you are ok. Just float. I will get you where you need to be.”
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