Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pacing - Part II

Tonight, I sit at my computer cognizant of my inability to put together the post I really want to write.  There are too many pieces and parts to it, and I have not significantly put together the parts in my mind to create the whole.  As I think of how I am unable to complete a task that would have seemed so easy a few months ago, I become even more aware of how much healing my brain still needs in order to do what I once was able to do.  I would be very discouraged about realizing that I can't formulate a clearly presented post on the topic about which I wish to write if it were not for the fact that I am

 not being 

For three days prior to today, I was so dizzy I could barely function.  When I get those dizzy spells, or the accompanying headaches, I begin to think I will never be well again.  

The search for answers about my symptoms:
Since my head injury on the January 2, I have been referred to several specialist.  One was an opthamologist  who ruled out a visual mid-line shift.  I had never heard of such a disorder, but it turns out that this can accompany head trauma.  The good news is that many people can reclaim their lives once they are diagnosed with visual mid-line shift by being fitted with prism lenses.  The sad news is that many of our soldiers are coming home with this problem which could be fixed by these lenses, but they don't have the type of insurance coverage to take care of the lenses.  Without insurance the cost is prohibitive.  Even with insurance, the co-pays can also be prohibitive.  I have been told there are 20,000 returning soldiers in Colorado Springs who suffer from head injury trauma and/or PTSD.  The services they need are many times not covered by insurance.

The opthamologist who ruled out visual mid-line shift did diagnose a vestibular disorder.  He referred me to a vestibular rehab specialist.  I met with this wonderful therapist in Castle Rock, Colorado, which is about two hours from my home, on Valentine's Day.  I was given a very through exam, and I was also assessed as to my risk factor for falling, and for the severity of my problem.  It turns out I am at moderate risk for falling again.  I also have a pretty significant imbalance in my balance system.  The good news is:  It is most likely quite fixable.  The bad news:  It takes time, and it could get worse before it gets better.

It turns out I am "visually" dependent.  I use my vision excessively for balance.  Since my fall, I experienced "visual motion hypersensitivity."  This is one reason I can't spend much time on the computer, on my iPhone using apps.  This hypersensitivity also means I can't drive, do much reading, nor can I tolerate spending time in crowds, or shopping.  I told my husband that WalMart make me crazy because it is too visually stimulating.  She countered with the bet that I would have no trouble at Nordstroms.  (He may or may not have a point there.)   I just know that when I am too visually stimulated, I get dizzy.

What I learned about pacing
  • I cannot go to a high school basketball game on Friday night unless I plan on taking it easy the next day.
  • Walking along a winding path around a lake that reflects sunlight off its waves on a Saturday morning while watching the dog dart back and forth in front of my is extremely visually stimulating.  That is why when I became dizzy on a walk Saturday morning, I should have spent the rest of the day resting.
  • One who understands pacing, would not have gone to a dedication ceremony on Saturday afternoon after becoming dizzy just walking beside a lake.  I did not understand pacing, nor did I assess my true condition well, so I went to the ceremony.  When I looked up on the stage during the dedication ceremony to watch a power point presentation flash photos across a screen, I became so dizzy, I had to leave the auditorium.
  • Mingling with the crowd of friends who had gathered at the ceremony also is not a good idea when one is dizzy.  Crowds make one more dizzy.
I spoke with my vestibular therapist today.  She was helpful in helping me deconstruct the cumulative events that led to my three day dizzy spell.  

Pacing oneself is truly a learning process.  I love to walk along the river walk in our town.  I love to go to the basketball games.  I love to spend time writing and reading on my computer.  I love to socialize.  I love to be in groups of people.  Those are the activities that defined me in the past.  I also think that if I feel good one day, I can jump back in where I left off.  

I am wrong.  
I have more to learn about healing.

I love this quote that my vestibular therapist has hanging in her office:

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is PATIENCE
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

That lesson, the secret of adopting nature's pace, is not one I will learn easily.
Patience is a hard lesson for me to learn, and to practice.


  1. Gosh, this is overwhelming even in the reading, and I can't fathom living it. All I can say is good luck, and I'm keeping your healing in my prayers. Hugs, dear lady.

  2. I'm so sorry this has thrown you for such a loop. <3 I hope you get better....sooner rather than later.

  3. Bless your heart, Sally... Patience and Pacing are both hard to do... You obviously are doing well.

    Things which we take for granted all of our lives have changed for you.. I am so sorry--but I am positive that you will eventually be back to your old self again---IF you continue to be patient and continue to pace.... Bless You, my Friend.


  4. Sally...Interesting as I read your post. I took Mama to the doctor (ear, nose, and throat doctor) today because of her dizziness. He had previously diagnosed her with vertigo caused by displacement of calcium-like particles in her inner ear. Sally...this dizziness was so severe in Mama that she was vomiting. I took her to the doctor a while back, and he did the paroxysmal positional vertigo maneuver in his office, and she was able to walk out of his office with only minimal dizziness. Bearable. She went back for another adjustment one week later, and her vertigo was gone. He said that it may return...and it did this past Monday because she got sick on Sunday night from something she ate and she threw up (I'm sorry to be graphic) but that episode displaced those particles in her inner ear again and she got dizzy again. We went back to her doctor (medical)today and he did another adjustment. She's not dizzy any more. I just wanted to share with you...in case this hasn't been mentioned or thought of by your doctors. It is food for thought and you could ask about it. Perhaps your fall did something to those particles in your inner ear..??
    I do hope that you get some relief. I know that it is a miserable feeling. I'm thinking of you.
    Hugs and love,
    Here's a link...This is not the exact adjustment Dr. Allen did, but it is very similar.

  5. Wow! I'm so sorry you're going through all this. We really appreciate the time and effort you are taking to educate us about all this. Believe me, I hold on to the handrails when I'm on the stairs at home now. I've hit my head falling a couple of times in my life and I don't want to do it again. I see now what might have been. Thank you for teaching us, Sally.

  6. I've never heard of this type of injury before. How fortunate that you had access to specialists who could diagnose and offer treatment. Will it eventually resolve itself and allow you to resume your former activities? Or, will you have to practice patience forever?

  7. So sorry to hear that!
    I had to learn to live at a snail's pace and be very, very patient with my health issues. And to ask for help. (I think that was even harder--LOL!) There were definitely lessons for me to learn, that's for sure.
    I wish you the best. I hope they can figure out how to cure this!

  8. I suspect you'll have a full recovery but it will take a lot longer than you'd like. Patience!

  9. Sally, You are in my thoughts and prayers. You have had many of life's sad lessons thrown your way, but I do admire the way you take each one by the horns and glean every ounce of learning from each one. A good life is about the learning.

  10. I didn't realize just the extent of your problems and am so sorry that you are being battered about with such disturbing symptoms.
    The good thing is that your doctor knows the problem and that it can be corrected. It is that "in time" that is so hard to bear.
    Praying that patience becomes easy for you and that healing comes quickly.

  11. How overwhelming for you! I'm so sorry you're experiencing these problems. Did your therapist happen to mention if WiiFit's balance board would help you in your recover? I have balance issues (completely different reasons than yours) and have found improvement while using the WiiFit. Just a thought. Praying for you, friend. (((HUGS))) and Happy Wednesday! ☺

  12. You relate all of this in such a calm manner but I know it has to be so difficult to deal with. It sounds like you are beginning to understand the pacing that will be required in your life for now. Please continue to take care of yourself in the way you are learning that you must.

  13. So many thoughtful comments left here already! I am glad to know you are possibly identifying the problem and have a chance to get better. I'm so glad to know you aren't dizzy, that's such an awful symptom.

    Keeping you in my thoughts and hope to hear soon that you are completely recovered. I'll try to be patient, too.

  14. Yet, it is your love or life and all activities that keep you looking forward, getting your mojo back!
    Yes, patience.
    Yes, stimulation too, in smaller batches. Looking forward to interesting and fun activities makes us all live with gusto.

    And humans thrive on gusto!

  15. I'm so sorry to hear you are still dealing with the aftereffects of that fall. Your patience is surely being tried, but you are dealing with it well (and with strong support from your husband). Keep up your determination and courage (and keep us informed, because we're thinking of you).

  16. Dear Sally,
    For 18 months in 2006 and 2007, I had progressive and intractable Meniere's Disease. So I had many acute rotational vertigo episodes. When that wasn't happening, I was light-headed some days; other days, woozy; other days, dizzy. I didn't drive for 18 months, nor read, nor watch television, nor work at the computer. So I have some understanding of what this is like for you. (If you have any interest in reading about how I dealt with all this, please go to the category "Meniere's Disease" on my blog.)

    I still have Meniere's but it is much less bothersome. However, like you, I've had to learn to pace myself. That's a hard lesson, but the only lesson that will help us journey forward.

    I see you surrounded by healing white light.


  17. Oh Sally, for someone who feels you can't competently put together a post, you sure fooled me!

    What a amazing journey this is for you! I love the saying you quoted at the end, and your final thoughts,

    "That lesson, the secret of adopting nature's pace, is not one I will learn easily.
    Patience is a hard lesson for me to learn, and to practice."

    You and me both! I've never really thought about nature's pace being patience, but of course, it makes perfectly good sense.

    You are continued in my prayers . . . for healing and patience.

    Warm hugs to you!

  18. Oh dear. I'm so hoping this will all straighten out. My experience with severe migraines was bad enough. But hope goes with patience. You will get better... :)

  19. So many issues you must deal with now Sally. I'm glad you've found a specialist who can diagnose and help you with the dizziness which must be terribly scary. Your normal life has been so active that this need for pacing is something you must learn and relearn daily! "The secret of adopting nature's pace" would benefit us all.

  20. Wow -- recovery is so tough. I really admire all the steps you are taking to not only see the right people but process the information and learn from the experiences that seem so innocent, yet send you to the mat for a bit. I think the hardest thing for any of us who are lively, active people with lots of interests is to hold back and let nature take its course to help heal us. Well, maybe that's me, but you know -- you just think you can do it! Know that all of us are behind you and that each and every day will bring new victories (as well as challenges!) And keep those eyes open!

  21. This was a very compelling post...I got a much better sense of the kinds of things you are dealing with. Sorry that so many of your favorite activities are so troublesome now. I may be visually dependent, too...when I fell in October I was walking around a lake (sun/waves) and watching a young puppy run circles around her owner's feet. Now I know what to avoid when I get back out there; thanks for that.

  22. There is nothing for it, you'll just have to learn to pace yourself!

    The minute you accept that and act accordingly, the healing process will begin in earnest. Good luck.

    (I know, I know, it's easy to spout good advice when you don't have to do it yourself)


    Thank you so much for your very kind words on my posts. You are far more generous than these little efforts deserve.

  23. Wow, It's amazing how everything makes sense when we get the right information. Just reading your post made me frustrated for you. I can't imagine how you felt! I am saddened to read about the soldiers. You'd think after all the sacrifice thay have made that they would be able to get the help that they needed.
    Blessings, Joanne

  24. You are so right. We may meet people who we looked after when they were young at any stage & in any place.
    I was feeling off colour the other day when I was cashing out of the veggie shop when the girl who was serving me saw me fumble & drop my purse several times and find it hard to get the bundle of carrots in my narrow bag. then I saw the bemused look! Yes... she was definitely someone from the playground of not so long ago! I wonder if I'd ever told her off in anyway!
    Hoping you are feeling better. I get small sessions of palpitations. I think too much caffeine affects mine.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May


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