Several Fridays ago, I began encountering dizziness — the kind that makes you wanna sing, “You spin my head right round, right round,” but then change the next lines a bit to “I’m gonna go down, I’m going down, down” because I felt it — literally.
I suspected that it was my blood pressure. So, I had several takes after our thrice-weekly morning meeting that day. True enough, they were all above my normal. It kinda felt weird, though, because nothing really triggered me.
Why the fuss over the BP? Two weeks before that, a huge blunder happened in Congress. And as a former TV newsman, I must admit feeling the blow. That was a breaking point, and yes, I cut ties with some people that day. I was angry. Thus, the high BP that caused the dizziness.
The dizziness persisted for a few days after that weird Friday morning. Checked my BP again, but everything was fine. So, I consulted a doctor from my telemed app. I told him that I get really dizzy whenever I turn my head, especially downwards.
His diagnosis: I had benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
It was kinda heavy to hear. It brought back memories of the first time I heard of the disorder more than 25 years ago. If I remember correctly, my host during the summer exchange program I was part of back then told me to avoid making noises in the evening, as it triggers her husband’s vertigo. My host and her husband were either in their 40s or 50s. I’m practically a heartbeat away from my 40s (ok, did I just spill the beans?).
Having vertigo, for me, is probably the clearest sign (as of yet) that I’ve entered my midlife crisis. I never imagined myself to have it. Really. Let’s face it. Though I’m happily married and hoping to have children, I’m in denial that I’m indeed growing old. Sometimes, I couldn’t help but wonder what other diseases are coming my way, and do I even have the funds to combat them.
During the consultation, I was told to “avoid sudden movements.” Unfortunately, it was a bit difficult to follow since my newfound hobby — cooking — combined with the forgetfulness in me require sudden movements. Cooking, particularly in a condo, can be quite restrictive because of the limited space in which you can move around.
But if there’s one thing I should credit myself with (not to brag or anything), it would probably be my willingness to fight for a normal life. For more than 20 years, I’ve fought for normalcy by managing my epilepsy. Ever since, my life was like everyone else’s, with all its ups and downs — not down all the time — that’s good enough for me.
Another key I’ve been holding in managing my epilepsy was acceptance. While this does not equate to giving up on hope for healing, it has made the coping easier. When you learn to accept your condition, you’d wanna learn more about it and how it dances with your body, until such time you’ve mastered how to deal with it.
Sans COVID-19, travelling alone for epilepsy patients here and abroad has its restrictions, but I’ve managed to do just that multiple times in a span of two decades. Travelling is important, not just because of leisure, but because of the connections made. Those connections, my friends, make my world go around.
And so, if I was able to willfully manage my epilepsy, why should I deny myself of willfully managing my vertigo, especially if it’s here to stay?