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How To Recover From Virus Induced Vertigo

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I am sharing this story and information in case others out there with this might also find some relief...

Some of the readers of this blog that know me personally may know that I have been pretty sick for about 6-weeks now. It all started the day before Thanksgiving with what seemed like a regular old run-of-the-mill cold. But just as I was recovering from the cold I woke up one morning with extreme vertigo (i.e. the room was spinning violently out of control). The extreme vertigo/dizziness went away within seconds but the overall dizziness and imbalance got worse and worse. It wasn’t long before it was so bad that I couldn’t even move my head (much less stand up or walk anywhere) without getting so nauseated that I would physically get sick. Over the course of several weeks there were 3 separate trips to minor emergency and I was given everything from a steroid to help drain my ears to several different types of antibiotics. Finally after about 3 weeks my symptoms subsided enough that I could tolerate the long car ride to go see my regular doctor (medical trip #4).

My doctor gave my ears and sinus a clean bill of health, so no infection and relatively clear sinuses. But she did some tests on me and said that I had positional vertigo. She told me about several vertigo maneuvers I could do to help resolve the vertigo (like the Epley maneuver). So I went home a continued to take the meds I had been taking (more on that later) and started doing these maneuvers. At first when I did the Epley maneuver it would cause a little mini vertigo attack and then as I did it more and more it didn’t cause any dizziness at all). I was hoping that meant that the maneuvers worked. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Epley it is designed to move the fluid/crystals that are in your ear canal around and eventually out of the area that is sensitizing your inner ear to think there is movement (its basically a false indicator on a sensor in your head).

But after a week of doing these maneuvers on a regular basis I was still getting “sea sick” during the day. It wasn’t extreme dizziness or spinning, it was much more subtle than that but it lead to extreme nausea. When the nausea would come on all I could do was sit still and cool my head down and try not to vomit until it passed. This went on for several more weeks. Finally my Mom had heard from a friend of mine that had a co-worker that was having similar symptoms and his doctor recommended he go on a special diet. At this point I was willing to try absolutely anything. So I went on this diet and within a couple of days I noticed a huge improvement. It has now been 11 days since I went on this diet and I am almost completely back to normal. Now it’s possible that this diet had nothing to do with my recovery and that all I really needed was time to allow my body to recover. But there are two reasons why I don’t think this is the case. The first reason being that nothing I tried for many weeks had any significant impact on reducing my symptoms and helping me feel better until I got on this diet. Reason #2 is that yesterday I thought I was feeling well enough that I would risk having 1 small cup of coffee in the morning (yeah, no coffee is allowed on this diet). Not long after I wasn’t feeling so well and it pretty much wrecked my afternoon. But the next day (today) I was back into my slow daily progression of getting better and better.

My Pre-Diet Drugs

For completeness I will list out all of the things I was taking before I went on this diet to help.

  • Meclazine (for dizziness and nausea I would take 25 mg every 6 hours)
  • Ibuprofen ( I just took the normal dose hoping to reduce any inflammation that I may have)
  • Mucinex (or Guaifenesin every 12 hours - extended release)
  • Sudafed (again every 12 hours - extended release)

The Sudafed and Mucinex were pretty key to keeping my symptoms minimized as I noticed that when I had more congestion my dizziness and nausea would increase. So by keeping things running and draining I would not get as sick as I would otherwise. But this went on for weeks and the drainage and the symptoms didn’t get any better at all. I was still not able to drive or go to work or really function much at all.

The Diet

The diet that was recommended from my friend wasn’t quite as restrictive (it only covered the first 5 items below). But when I did some digging online it seemed like the best approach was to eliminate everything that could complicate my issues any further. So the diet I went with was the following:

  • No salt
  • No sugar
  • No processed foods of any kind
  • No caffeine
  • No alcohol
  • No dairy
  • No grains or breads
  • Lots of fresh vegetables (but avoiding specific ones) and quite a bit of fruit
  • Chicken and salmon (obviously without any salt)

There were things that I was encouraged to eat that helps with reducing inflammation. So I tried to eat quite a bit of the following:

  • Avacados
  • Raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
  • Dark chocolate (with little to no sugar)
  • Kale
  • Tumeric

What this ended up being was a combination of an anti-inflammatory diet (AID) and an auto-immune deficiency diet (also AID). The reason for going on a diet like this is to eliminate any and all dietary sources for inflammation and mucus generation. Most likely what I had was something called labyrinthitis (there is a great article about it here), which is an inflammation of the inner ear. So with my inner ear already being inflamed I needed to reduce as much of the “normal” inflammation and mucus/fluid production as possible and there are quite a few foods in our modern processed diet that result in inflammation and mucus/fluid production. By naturally reducing this by going on this diet it allows the natural course of the virus and the healing process to happen more quickly (not to mention it also dramatically reduced my symptoms within days).

I also took two additional supplements during this 11-day (and still going) diet:

  • MucoStop (a pill of natural enzymes that help your body break down and eliminate excess mucus)
  • DMG Chewables (Dimethylglycine) which among other things it also helps you with balance by providing extra oxygen to the brain and reduces inflammation

Please don’t take any of the information I provided above as a substitute for seeing a doctor. I only wanted to put this information out there so that others suffering with symptoms like mine might also find some relief. This diet that I’m on is a pretty healthy diet so the worst thing that could happen is that the diet only makes you a little more healthy (and does nothing for your symptoms). Don’t take any of the drugs or supplements I listed above without consulting a doctor first. Most of these are over the counter meds but they could have interactions with other supplements or drugs which is why seeing a doctor before taking a bunch of medications is so important. And most importantly of all good luck. Recovery from this virus is a very slow process, but at least for me (whether it was just a matter of timing or it actually did help) going on this diet drastically reduced my symptoms and my symptoms kept getting better each day (except for the 1 day I slightly broke my diet).

I am weening myself off of the Meclazine and should be completely off if it in a few days. At some point soon I will slowly start reintroducing things back into my diet and hopefully that will be the last step in my recovery.

Please pass this information along to anyone you know who may be suffering with similar symptoms. I haven’t seen much written about using this diet to combat these symptoms but it sure seemed to work well for me!

Yehuda Moon Cycling Comics On Sale

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Yehuda Moon is an excellent cycling comic that was in production for a number of years. The team behind Yehuda Moon is currently on a break from making new comics but some of their complilation books are on sale for $7 each for a limited time. If you have never heard of Yehuda Moon and you are a cyclist now is a great time to pick up the first several volumes of this wonderful comic strip and start reading!

You can purchase Volumes 1, 2 and 3 at a discount for a limited time here.

My Recent Reads

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Back in March I posted here about changes that were coming in the frequency of my posts and changes I was making to my reading habits. My reading habit has most definitely increased. I just updated my reading list with the books I have read over the past several months as well the couple of books I am reading right now. Be sure to check out my full reading list, but here are just a couple of books to give you an idea of what I have been reading lately:

The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found

By Martin W. Sandler

This was just a fascinating and fun read. I am huge history buff and living in Florida has brought out an extreme curiosity in shipwrecks. The story of the Whydah and how to went from being a slave ship to one of the most treasure-laden pirate ships of all time before being sunk in a nasty storm and then found is both entertaining and educational. A perfect summer read.

“They vilify us, the scoundrels do, when there is only this difference: they rob the poor under the cover of law, and we plunder the rich under the protection of our own courage.”

Postal Volume 1

By Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill

Postal is a comic book series written by Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill and it is not your ordinary comic book. Postal is about a town named Eden in Wyoming that is populated by convicts living together in peace. The main character, Mark, is a postal carrier in the town and has Asperger syndrome. I like this comic because it is different and it highlights a syndrome that most people know little about. It’s a well written story, but it is graphic and definitely not a comic for young readers.

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

By Matthew Walker PhD

This book is a must read for everyone as is highlights the importance of sleep and totally shatters the myths out there about how much sleep we all need and what the impacts of lack of sleep are on our society. Here is quote that should get you thinking. If a major insurance company is literally willing to put it’s money on this then there must be something there:

”The giant insurance company Aetna, which has almost fifty thousand employees, has instituted the option of bonuses for getting more sleep, based on verified sleep-tracker data.”

Slight Changes In Content & Post Frequency

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Some of you may have noticed some changes here at 1wayswim lately both in how often I am posting full articles and the new types of linked articles I am sharing here. The reason there have been some changes is because I am now a Core Contributor at GeekDad.com, which means I am writing a new article for them every week. I have also significantly increased my reading habit. All of this means the time I have to write for this blog is more time constrained then it has ever been. But this isn’t all bad news....change can be good.

Content Changes

While I will still be posting long articles on occasion here I won’t be writing 1-3 articles a week like I was doing over the past year or two. But instead I have started sharing links to news articles I find of interest. These “linked articles” will have a few sentences at the beginning written by me that communicates why I think this article is worth a look and then at the very bottom of the post I will have a link to the original article. It seems like news more and more is just a non-stop cranking out of words so when I come across something I think people should be paying attention to I want to make sure I communicate that. I certainly won’t have time to write a full article about every topic I find interesting like this, but that is where these linked articles come in. I will also continue to post links to all the articles I write on GeekDad here on 1wayswim. But I will also still write full articles as well, just not as frequently.

Reading

I mentioned that I am reading a lot more these days. One of the ways I am able to do this is a new news and social media time limit I have imposed on myself. I wrote up an article on GeekDad here about how I do this. This has freed up a very large chunk of time each day that I am now able to use to read more books. I have already read some very fascinating books and plan to write up some short reviews from time to time of the books I find particularly interesting. I am also keeping a list of all the books I am currently reading and have read recently right here on my blog on a page called Reading List. There are some amazing books out there and there are also a lot of not so great books too, so having some recommended reads is a very valuable thing to have. So I figured if I am going to be reading more that I should also be sharing what I am reading with others.

I hope you all continue to find the information I post here useful. I enjoy writing and will continue to do so right here on 1wayswim as long as I still have people that come here and find it worth reading.

Clay Images: Small Business Saturday

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I wanted to share a little bit about one of my favorite small businesses of all time, since it is small business Saturday after all. What is small business Saturday you ask? It was started back in 2010 by Federal Express:

“ Shop Small is about more than just shopping at small businesses. ... It's an annual shopping tradition dedicated to supporting small businesses and celebrating communities across the country. Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.”

So in honor of small business Saturday I am going to share with you my absolute favorite small businesses…Clay Images. Clay Images is a very small company, which consists of a husband and wife team (Melissa and Jim Hogenson):

”Our fertile imaginations and hard-working hands have created a unique line of friendly dragons in stoneware clay. Though each is a fine sculpture on its own, they also all have a function - oil lamps, incense burners, and drinking vessels. We sell our wares from our home, through the internet, at art fairs around the U.S.A., and at the Kansas City and Arizona Renaissance Festivals.”

I first encountered the amazing works of Clay Images at the local art fair in Wichita, Kansas (before I moved away from home). I immediately fell in love with their dragon sculptures and it wasn’t long before I had one of my very own. I got my first Clay Images oil lamp for my birthday, but it wasn’t just any birthday. My first child was born the day before my 23rd birthday, and when we finally got to take our new daughter home from the hospital and I got to open my birthday presents (and lets be honest its REALLY hard to beat the present I got at the hospital). It was this on this day I received my very first Clay Images oil lamp. My daughter just turned 19 last month and is in her first semester of college now.

The little dragon oil lamp that started it all...

The little dragon oil lamp that started it all...

It turns out this awesome little dragon was just the beginning of a collection of functional art from Clay Images. I mean heck, if you are going to spend perfectly good money on a new bed side lamp or a new drink ware set why not get something you really enjoy and support some amazing local artists all at the same time. So over the last 19 years that is exactly what we have done. We have either purchased or received as gifts everything from toothbrush holders, to hot chocolate drink sets, to wind chimes, to wall sconces. And that even goes without mentioning all the oil lamps and incense burners. Oh, and did I forget the fish tank castle? Rather than list everything here I walked around our house and took pictures of all of our Clay Images functional art and below is a gallery of most (but not all) of our Clay Images collection. So if you are looking for a great gift for someone on your list this Christmas and you want to honor the tradition of small business Saturday, why not check out Clay Images. I checked with them today (Friday) and they do have some limited stock of items and plan to do one more kiln firing in December to accommodate special orders. So if you want something in time for the holidays you need to act fast!

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