Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Swimming again!

Oh my goodness, I have started swimming again! 

It has been several months since we last went swimming......I'm not even sure if we've been this year.......but hold on, yes I think we have, it's just I know it's been a while since we last went!!
Most of the reason for not going has been my Menieres Disease, oh and it's been confirmed that it is Menieres Disease! :-( 

I had a procedure done in January where they squirted some stuff in my bad ear, which is the left one. That numbed it and once it was numb the doctor was able to stick a probe down it to test what they were looking for. This test would come back either positive or negative and this would give them a better idea of whether I had Menieres Disease or not. My test came back positive, so yes I have got Menieres Disease! 

At that point in January I had only gone a few weeks since my last big vertigo attack. I would go on to have about four months of no big attacks......I had a few wobbles, feeling dizzy etc but nothing big. 
We went to see our GP and I asked whether I could enquire about getting my driving licence back. She said yes because I hadn't had anything much to worry about but before I could do anything about it, two days after seeing the doctor, I had three days of vertigo attacks. I think you call it Sod's law! ;-)
I had come off the Betahistine medication because my consultant had advised me to but after the second day of attacks I started up again to see if it would did! 
As well as going back on the Betahistine, I had rung my consultants secretary to get an emergency appointment and at that appointment we were given some options of what we could do next.
1) We could do nothing and just see what happens over time. 
2) They could put a Collar Button (a type of grommet) in my left ear which would open up the middle ear and hopefully aid with the pressure in my ears. Then just leave that in there for a little while to see what it does.
3) They could put the Collar Button in my ear, which will give them access to the middle ear where they can then put either steroids or antibiotics. The concern with putting antibiotics in the ear is that it can have a very negative effect on the hearing in that ear. I understood what they were saying but my immediate thought was that my hearing in that ear is down around 30% functional anyway so would that really be an issue?? 

The decision was made and we chose option 2! 
I didn't want to sit and wait anymore, we'd been doing that for a while and nothing much had changed. I really felt like I needed to be doing something now, so I decided that I would get the Collar Button fitted and this was done under general anaesthetic. 
The next step was just recover from having it fitted in my ear. To begin with I regretted having it done because it felt quite sore and the ear kept popping. It was really annoying but it only lasted a few days. It made a very strange noise when I held my nose and tried to pop my ears. My right ear popped OK but my left ear made a very strange whistling noise......apparently I had some dried blood left in the ear but that would sort itself out! 

I had three appointments last Friday which were all in the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department. 
My first appointment was actually with a hearing therapist. This was to see if I could get any help with the Tinnitus and the fact that my hearing was so low in my left ear. We spent a while going through the history, it was interesting because while I was being asked about when things had started happening we realised that I had had intermittent hearing loss as far back as around 2010, which could quite possibly have been the beginning of the Menieres. 
Anyway, after she had gone through the history and symptoms etc she went on to explain about Tinnitus and why it happens and what my options were. We have decided that it would be a good idea for me to try a hearing aid. It can be a bit hit and miss as far as Menieres and hearing aids go but we all feel that it's worth a try! 
Throughout all my medical issues I have always tried to have the attitude that if there is a chance something will help, and the medical people I'm involved with recommend it, then I will try it! 
We need to give my ear time to adjust to the Collar Button being fitted so I've got an appointment in about five weeks to have a mould taken for a hearing aid to be fitted. 
The other appointments on Friday had been a hearing test, which showed there wasn't any change and then I saw my consultant, who had put the Collar Button in my ear. He had a look at it and was happy, he has told me to give myself a couple of weeks but then to come off the Betahistine again. I'm sceptical and he knows it because of what happened last time I came off it but he feels that now I've got the Collar button I should be OK.......we'll see!! ;-) 

Having got all the appointments done and being told that as long as I protect my ear by using an ear plug and a cap etc then I am OK to go swimming again! So, this morning, after nearly three months, I was back in the pool! I only managed twenty lengths and I couldn't put my head under the water because although I had an ear plug in and I covered it in Vaseline, I hadn't got a swimming cap so I didn't want to risk it! One is on order for me to have for next week! ;-) 
It was quite hard work and frustrating because of where I had got to last year but at least I was in the pool, which is a really great feeling! I was exhausted afterwards and slept the afternoon away but at least it was for a good reason! :-) 
I have got my Tysabri infusion on Friday so I'm not going to try and go twice this week but we have booked in to go again next Monday morning and I'm looking forward to it! :-) 

Stay well, sending big hugs


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