Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mayo Day 3

  There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
---Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I love this reminder that God's timing is perfect.  The context of our lives in God's Kingdom plan is perfect.  Every day of our life in the proper sequence is perfect.

Well, the Mayo visit has come and gone.  A visit that was on the calendar for over two months has passed.  It's hard to believe.  I am overwhelmed with emotions, gratitude and humility.  I must admit it took me until this morning to really come to terms with a lot of the information we found out and to process it.  I am used to spending a lot of 1/1 time with the Lord each day and that was hard to do in a hotel; I didn't want to just run out on Jonathan for 2 hours at a time, even though he would have understood.  So, this morning I really got to pray and meditate on all that we learned and heard.

I am so grateful to know that my vestibular function is healthy and even more grateful to know that I did not move forward with that radical nerve section surgery that the doctor in TX recommended back in April.  That would not have solved my problem and I would have had unnecessary brain surgery.  PRAISE GOD for the spirit of peace He gave me not to pursue that surgery.

We met with Dr. Staab yesterday.  Dr. Staab is no more than 50 years old and he and a team are the ones who first identified Chronic Subjective Dizziness (CSD).  So to say that I'm in the care of an expert is an understatement.  He has been studying this condition for the past 20 years or so.  He has seen it numerous times, has written numerous papers and articles on it and has been involved with numerous studies on it (some in conjunction with a team of doctors in Japan).  He gave some great descriptions of my symptoms and what is happening in my body.  I have to admit I was very uneasy with the fact that he's actually a psychiatrist.  I was sick over the thought that this was "all in my head."  But I also know that even if it were, God is still in control and that's all that matters.  It was so comforting to describe all of my wacky symptoms (the crazy amusement park ride dreams, the swimming pool making it worse, the inability to grocery shop, etc.) and not be looked at like I was looney.  Every time I mentioned a symptom or feeling he just nodded like he'd heard it before or he expected it.  What a relief and comfort.

I will try to describe the best way I know how what is going on.  When I suffered multiple and frequent vertigo attacks last winter, my brain put the environment around me (all physical space and stimuli) at "high risk" meaning my brain wasn't sure what was causing me to be off balance and my world to go berserk.  So, it instinctively started reacting to my environment in an unnatural way.  You know the whole "fight or flight" response our body has?  It's similar to that.  Just like you can't control sweaty palms when you're in a scary or frightening situation, I can't control my brain's response to my environment.  Dr. Staab said 1 in 6 patients who have the endolymphatic sac surgery (which I had Feb. 23) will develop CSD.  I laughed to myself when he said that because throughout this journey I have been in the minority of the statistics on all counts.

CSD is treated with an anti-depressant.  When they first started their research, most people with CSD were depressed and dizzy.  They decided to first treat the depression and then figure out how they would approach the dizziness.  What they found was that patients were coming back and saying their dizziness had resolved so they began using anti-depressants to treat the dizziness.  I will start taking Zoloft tomorrow.  The first 2 weeks will be a period of allowing the medicine to get in my system and get any dosage adjustments made.  The next 2-4 weeks I should begin to see some changes (good days vs. bad days).  He said this is a frustrating time because having bad days will be a bummer after having a few good ones.  (I didn't say this, but this ain't my first rodeo with a roller coaster of good and bad days so I think I'll be OK)!  :^)  The next few months after will be good days building on each other.  I will take the medicine and do the therapy activities too.  When we left, Dr. Staab told me, "This is your fall/winter project."  He was very optimistic but realistic in the length of recovery.

In my prayer time this morning I realized that God will soon lift me out of this valley, but He obviously has more work to do before then.  I am okay with that and pray that I can stay faithful and diligent to His calling over these next few months.

My friend, Melonie, who has been to Mayo and got me to strongly consider it came over to visit today.  I can now understand what she meant when she said it was indescribable.  I would encourage anyone with a chronic condition to consider Mayo as an option.  Just as I found out, there may be a cure that you or your doctors don't know about or haven't considered.  I truly believe God established the Mayo Clinic and gave the gifts of intelligence and compassion to men and women to provide the type of health care found there.

I am going to include some pictures below.  Again, they don't do it justice but may give you a glimpse into our experience.  I cannot say enough about Rochester, MN - the people, the clean facilities, the food.  To balance my opinion, I can tell you two negative things about our trip.  I thought long and hard to come up with these, but I think they will help you understand the feelings we have about the trip.
1) Most eating establishments carry Pepsi products.  Disgusting!  If you need you're Diet Coke fix, you better put on your comfy shoes and be prepared to search.
2) I forgot my deodorant.  Luckily Jonathan brought his Sure Unscented Aerosol so I was covered.
Hopefully these two negative points clearly reflect the nature of how wonderfully awesome our trip was.  I am honestly humbled beyond description at the love and prayers I felt before, during and even today.  I don't deserve this much love and attention.  I really don't.  I can't believe this many people care so much about me - there will never be a way for me to truly thank you.  Just know that I do not take your diligent prayers lightly and realize that I am blessed to be thought of so much.

A statue on the wall in the main lobby.  If you look closely in the lower left corner of the picture, you can see the grand piano with people around it.  It was usually in use by patients or visitors.  Sometimes people would sing along.

The atrium just outside the buildings.  The landscaping is this beautiful throughout the downtown area.

A 17-bay Admissions & Business Center in the main lobby.  Like I said earlier, it's a bit like Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport in a lot of ways.

The Gonda Building is straight ahead.  The surrounding buildings are other Clinic buildings, hotels and businesses.

The top floor of the Barnes & Noble that was in the mall en route from our hotel to the Clinic via the Skyway system.

Day 1 - Rotary Chair Test.  I was strapped in, the door was closed and I was completely in the dark.  The chair spun in different directions at different speeds.  YUK!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my goodness, what a facility! I've never heard anything but the best of the best about Mayo and I am so glad it was such a positive experience for you. I'm excited for you and glad you can see light at the end of this very dark tunnel you have been in. Much happiness to you!