It has been an age between blog posts but I feel compelled to write.
The tables have been turned, the world is upside down and I’ve been turned inside out. And I am literally spinning.
This blog and website used to be about me as a Naturopath and my pursuit to assist others to follow their wellness path. But because of my own health issues over the past few years I am no longer a practicing naturopath and my health focus has become introspected. I’m grateful for all of those years of naturopathic training which now make me an accomplished medical self-advocate and make it easier to navigate the illness landscape.
My collection of health tags over the past year or so include: chronic fatigue syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), severe obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, depression, recurrent miscarriage and infertility. I had to stop work in July. Life has changed immeasurably and I felt I’d become a shadow of my former self.
But against this chronic illness backdrop I’ve recently been through an acute medical event and it has broken my heart wide open with a massive outpouring of love and hope. Yesterday I used the word epiphanous. I want to document some of these feelings so that I can revisit them once the natural order of things has seen them move on.
So a little recap of what’s been happening in the last two weeks……
I went into the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne on 30 December and came home again four days later, having spent a New Years Eve unlike anything I could have expected. It seems ‘2017 – the year of medical challenge’ had one last oddity to throw at me. The most likely diagnosis is Labrynthitis causing loss of hearing in my left ear and intense dizziness & vertigo, due to damage of my vestibularcochlear cranial nerve (thank goodness for my anatomy and physiology education!).
CT scans and MRI have excluded a brain tumour. A minor stroke was mentioned as a differential diagnosis by the Neuro team but I think that’s not so likely. The more simple explanation is that I just had a weird virus and that’s what’s brought me to this point.
The process of being in hospital was entirely humbling and made me weep with gratitude. Throughout the hospital stay I did pretty good all things considered, dosed up on steroids, antivirals, pain meds and valium. For the most part I stayed in really good spirits, being so grateful for the amazing care I was receiving.
It’s probable that the left ear hearing loss will be permanent. The audio technician who did my hearing test gave me a 2% chance of getting it back and said that there’s not enough hearing left to amplify which makes a hearing aid a non-option. But I still have one good ear… so that’s good.
I was discharged from hospital last Tuesday. Everything feels very different-dimensional, other-worldly.
I’ve spent a lot of time hiding out in my bedroom with the blinds down and in soft sheets, which is the sanctuary I’ve needed. I feel I need to restrict external sensory overload so I can start to process the new sensory internal landscape. It feels like my body is releasing trauma so I’m just going with it and being kind-to-self and gentle and soft, keeping myself in a bubble as much as possible.
The lessons have been coming thick and fast:
Day 1 out of hospital: “Slow down and listen in.”
Day 2: “Follow the body, follow the body, the body knows what to do.” My body said surrender, surrender, surrender and wrap yourself in blankets. So I did. With the aircon cranked up so I didn’t melt.
Day 4: “Hang in there. Be soft. It’s all about the soft.”
I feel like I’m being turned inside out as I navigate this new reality. It’s bringing up so many memories, people, events, music, visuals from years ago that I’ve not thought about for years. It’s like a tap that won’t turn off. I’ve re-connected with people I haven’t spoken to in an age. I’m reaching out, it feels good. I’m broken open.
At times I feel like I’m going to die and have to get all the feelings out before I disappear. A little piece of fear whispers that maybe I have had a stroke and another one could be imminent. But more likely it’s because I feel like I’m dying to my old self and I will rise up like the Phoenix more real than ever.
It’s likely the medications are meddling with my brain. I’m sure the steroids are creating a state of semi-mania. But it’s pleasant. And I’m in full awareness of it. And it’s giving me energy. If I need to I can try and manage it with meditation…. or valium. But I also want to enjoy it whilst it is here because it is inevitable that it will change and pass and become something else. And for that I sometimes feel a hint of grief roll past.
I am feeling more love than I’ve ever felt and it’s amazing. It’s like a fountain has opened up in me, I guess that’s what a bit of trauma can do. I feel like I’m in the midst of a huge heart opening and I’m going with it and hoping it doesn’t stop too soon because apart from all the nasty physical manifestations there is something rather special happening for me right now.
I try and reach out a bit further each day but I’m still really wobbly, like a boat at sea on rocky water, I walk with a stick, I’m cognitively challenged and my left ear doesn’t work.
But I feel like the world is possible again. Chronic fatigue made me disappear and the Labyrinth has brought me back to life.
Love to you xxx