Do you know what I hate most about having Ménière’s disease? That most people think it’s caused by an infectious disease. In fact, it’s caused by internal dysfunction.

Ménière’s is a disorder of the inner ear. Ménière’s damages both the balance and hearing parts of the inner ear. The primary symptoms are vertigo, tinnitus, feeling of pressure in the ear, and fluctuating hearing loss. When my “head is off”, as I’ve come to call it, I have a brain fog, can’t concentrate well, have overwhelming pressure in my ears, often have a headache/migraine, and I cannot do anything that requires balance, such as riding a bike, walking down stairs (balance and coordination), depth perception, walking in general (some times). Nausea is often present for me, and I’ve recently learned that migraines are associated with Ménière’s. Often times there are no warnings when an attack hits. An attack can vary in severity and duration.

Triggers include:

  • Lights – blinking lights, fluorescent lights, strobe lights;
  • Motion sensitivity;
  • Chemical sensitivity – artificial sweeteners, MSG;
  • Eye tracking – think 3D, IMAX screen;
  • Weather – change in barometric pressure;
  • Time & sleep – nothing like a time change;
  • Diet – reducing sodium and salt intake, reduced alcohol consumption, reduce caffeine,
  • Stress.

I really did myself in on the motion sensitivity part in the past couple days.

Vince and I had a mini vacation in Vancouver. One of the things we have never done is the Capilano Suspension Bridge. I know. I know. You’d think, given the above, I would know better. The truth is, I haven’t had a Ménière’s episode in a fair while. Secondly, I didn’t realize how crazy the sway of the bridge would be. The biggest problem? The only way back once you went over was to return across it.

Needless to say, I had some heavy breathing, some long time sitting and then, oh ya, wishing like hell that the swaying movement didn’t stay with me as I walked on solid ground. Walking, believe it or not, was the best way to restore what equilibrium I have.

Had a wicked f*** headache for hours afterwards though.

But I did it.

Oṃ śānti śānti śānti


Capilano Suspension Bridge Capilano Suspension Bridge view from the bridge