This place is indescribable! It's like nothing I could have ever imagined. There are so many things to write about... the people in this town are extremely friendly - restaurants, hotel staff, hospital staff... everyone. The people here are really TALL. We're seen several men as tall if not taller than Jonathan and at least 1/2 a dozen women 6 feet or taller. I'm average height here. It's WEIRD! The hospital and surrounding blocks are all interconnected by skyways and subways. We've walked miles within the labyrinth since we got here. I guess when it's 20 below, they didn't want patients wading through the snow. There are malls that we walk through to get to the hospital from our hotel. We could stay, eat, shop and not see daylight for our entire visit. I wish I could show pictures but they wouldn't do it justice. It's been highs in the 50s here, so I haven't wanted to venture out much! We were eating in a cafe inside today and both likened the scene to Atlanta Hartsfield Airport... it's like a city going on inside itself with people bustling everywhere.
Our flight was fast, smooth and without incident. And although I left baby girl throwing up and out of school yesterday, she is better. Of course Satan was going to have me up at 2:30 AM with a sick child the day we were to leave. But it all worked out fine. She is on breathing treatments so please pray that her asthma will stay well-controlled while we're away.
So, the day started with my first test at 7:00 AM. I have pictures of the lobby, one test and a few other things but I can't upload them right now. I had tests from 7-11 this morning. Some made me dizzy, some were just uncomfortable and some were not a big deal at all. The dizziness wore off quickly and we were able to grab lunch afterwards. We wandered around some shops until my afternoon appointment. We checked into the appointment desk in the afternoon at 1:30 for a 2:15 appointment. The ENT lobby is bigger than our house and the check-in desk is like the concession stand at the movies. It's a big, long desk with several receptionists checking people in. They gave me a beeper and told me to report to door "G" when it buzzed. We sat at the bank of public computers, surfed the Internet and waited. The beeper buzzed at 2:10. We approached door G and Dr. Shepherd himself greeted us and took us back (Yes, the doctor was 5 minutes early and personally greeted us). After an hour and a half with him, I have lots of information. I'll summarize it here with only the highlights. It's all good news!
1) He confirmed I have Meniere's Disease and that it is in remission. He said that it could stay in remission for the rest of my life or it could stay for 2 years - there's no way to know. Controlled MD can still carry with it 2-3 vertigo attacks (the big, bad ones) a year but I can live with that. He said I could go the rest of my life without one (prayer request). He said there's only about a 25-28% chance that my right ear could ever have MD (praise).
2) All of my tests show that although my left vestibular (balance) nerve is slightly weaker than my right, IT IS NOT DAMAGED! This means no brain surgery, no shots to kill the nerve, no problems with it - yay, yay, yay, yay, yay, yay, yay!!!!!!!!!!!!! (He sent forth His word and healed her ---Psalm 107:20)
3) I have a secondary condition to MD... chronic subjective dizziness. Now that I have a diagnosis I can be treated accordingly. He knew exactly what I had, they have literature on it (so this isn't something new) and he has statistics of success/improvement rates (so this isn't their first rodeo). I'm not sure how to describe it all and I still have 2 more doctors to meet with to understand it more, but basically, my brain responds to situations by being dizzy b/c that's what it had gotten accustomed to. Liken it to Pavlov's dog. The dog hears the dinner bell and salivates. My brain gets overstimulated and goes dizzy. I will be treated with medicine and therapy. The therapy will put me in situations that make me worse (looking at crazy patterns, going to crowded places, etc). I will start with small doses of therapy to "retrain my brain" then gradually increase. It may also take several tries with medicine to find the right one. So the prognosis for recovery is 3-6 months.
4) The headaches and migraines are likely the result of the stress this is causing. Still praying they will cease!
I'm so thankful that we're here, so thankful we have an answer, so thankful we can treat it. It's still going to be a long road and I am trying to sort through a lot of emotions I have, but I am praising God for getting me to this point.
We're set for a relaxing weekend... a little FLORIDA football and some good eats (since my Meniere's is in remission I don't have to be SO strict on my low-sodium diet so I'm gonna eat something really GOOD this weekend). I'll update again early next week. Please, please, please don't stop praying as we still have other appointments and information to gather. THANK YOU for all the love and prayers. I have felt so wrapped in your love that it has overwhelmed me.