Thursday, July 31, 2014

A bump along the dizzy road (Part 1)

More like one of those gigantic speed bumps you have to slow the car down to a stop to get over! Yesterday I woke up and just didn't feel right. I went about my usual business of getting my husband's lunch ready for work and taking care of the pets. When I bent down to feed the cats, I really felt off.  When I stood back up, everything started to spin. I haven't had spinning vertigo since my illness started back in January, so this was really disheartening.  It only lasted a few seconds, but was enough to scare me.  I ran to get my husband, as he hadn't left for work yet. I went straight to my bed to lay back and relax.  Once I laid down, the spinning started again so I sat back up and after a few seconds, it went away.  Although it did leave me with the serious desire to vomit. I ran to the bathroom and dry-heaved a bit (sorry, that's gross), but nothing came up.  
As I sat on the bathroom floor, all sorts of thoughts, which should have been taken captive, ran through my mind.  Am I getting worse, what if it doesn't stop, is this going to be my new "normal", what if??  My biggest question was "Why, God??" Why, after all this time and the promise to heal me, would I seemingly get worse?  I'm used to having good days and bad with this illness, but this was the worst bad day yet. I'm going to tell it like it is, I was pretty much hysterical. I was crying and begging Him to please make this stop.  My husband kneeled down beside me and we prayed right there on the bathroom floor.

The spinning did stop, but I spent the rest of the day in our recliner, as sitting straight up was the only position where the dizziness would stop. Looking up or bending down was the worst trigger. I called my vestibular therapist and she told me to rest, avoiding any head movements that might trigger the vertigo.  My wonderful husband took the day off from work, as I really didn't want to be alone!  Filled with fear (when it should have been faith), I sent out a bunch of prayer requests.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes me feel better than knowing people are praying for me.

I really felt discouraged and did a whole lot of crying. I had trusted God to never let the vertigo happen again and here I was experiencing it.  (In His defense, He never promised that.)  I went on and on to God about how I had walked through this illness by faith for 6 months, trusting Him, waiting on Him, worshipping Him, studying His word, getting out of bed when I just wanted to stay under the covers, going to the supermarket and other places instead of staying home for fear of how I might feel while I'm there, and now this? I admitted defeat and that I could no longer go on like this. Technically, I don't have a choice in whether or not I'm going to live like this, but I do have a choice about how I'm going to feel or think about it. I'm ashamed today to think about everything I just shared.  I'm ashamed and sad at how I could question God and His ways or to react in such fear and discouragement rather than in faith and trust.

My pastor told me something a while back that I thought about.  He said "when you're faced with what you don't know, rely on what you do know".  What do I know?  I know that God loves me (Jeremiah 31:3), He has good plans for my life (Jeremiah 29:11), I know that God works all things together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28), I know that He promised to heal me (2 Kings 20:5), that He is always with me (Deut 31:6), I know that I should not be afraid or let my heart be troubled, but trust in Him (John 14:1, 27; Joshua 1:9, Psalm 56:3), I haven't been given a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7), He is perfecting me through this (James 1:2-4), and I know that He is sovereign, in control (Psalm 103:19, 1 Chronicles 29:11-12).  This is the truth I know that I need to dwell on. I don't know that it will make the vertigo any less frightening in the moment, but choosing to run to God's truth over dwelling on the enemies lies will undoubtedly produce more peace and trust in my life rather than chaos and further anxiety.

I wish I could say the thought of it happening again is not crossing my mind every minute, but it is.  It's hard to imagine choosing not to think those thoughts, but I know I can. The power of what I think lies in my choice to either take my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), or to let them roam free and allow the devil to have his field day. Lord, help me to dwell on Your truth!! 

I'm feeling better today than yesterday, but not 100% yet. I saw my vestibular therapist and she performed the Dix-Hallpike test to see if I would test positive for positional vertigo and nystagmus.  It didn't trigger any spinning or involuntary eye movements, so I guess that's good. She put me through a series of basic exercises and determined that my balance is still very good.  I am thankful for the previous 4 months of balance therapy that have strengthened my other balance organs!  I left feeling encouraged.

As for feeling defeated, as I sit here and type this, I'm reminded by the Lord that it's not possible. Because I'm in Christ, the battle has already been won and victory is already mine (1 John 5:4-5).

A bump along the dizzy road (Part 2)


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Faithful Workouts: Dance (Pazaz) and Power Stretch

I've been wanting to do a blog post about Faithful Workouts for a while now.  After doing their new "Pazaz" workout, I just had to share about it!  I first want to thank God that He has brought me to a place in my illness where I can do formal workouts now. My health is definitely something I have taken for granted and I'm just so thankful to Him that fitness is part of my doctor's prescription to help me get better. There was a time where I couldn't face a workout because of my dizziness, so to do a 30 minute cardio workout and be able to blog about it after is truly a blessing from God.  I just take one day He blesses me with at a time!

I came to know Faithful Workouts a few years ago while on a fitness forum.  I was looking for Christian workouts and these were recommended to me. I ordered a bunch of workouts and really liked them, but I wasn't in the right spiritual place to fully appreciate them at the time.  As I posted about before, I spent years in bondage regarding my body image.  I was obsessed with fitness and diets and used them as a means to try and achieve a certain look, a look which of course always eluded me. After all, our flesh nature is never satisfied, now is it?  In a blog post found here, I wrote about how God used my current illness to free me from the chains of idolatry regarding fitness and food, among other things. In years prior, the Faithful Workout DVD's I purchased were just one of the many tools I used to try and attain my aesthetic goals.  However, God worked on my heart to get rid of all of my other workouts (I must have had at least 100) and to only keep these.  

(As a side note, I got rid of all my workouts other than one stretching workout I really liked. I didn't feel right about keeping it because I was not completely obeying God.  I kind of felt like Abraham keeping Lot around. ;-) I didn't want to part with it though because I love stretching and didn't know what I would do without it.  As luck God would have it, when Pazaz was released, it included a stretch routine!  I couldn't get rid of that last workout fast enough :-) ).

Image from

Pazaz is a 37 minute dance workout set to upbeat, Christian music, based on David's dance for the Lord in 2 Samuel 6:14. It is so much fun!! I had to modify some of the moves because of my illness, but still worked up a good sweat. Each routine has moves that build upon each other, leading up to putting it all together before moving on to the next. The moves are pretty basic and easy to catch on to.  It might take a time or two, but once you get everything down, you're free to move and enjoy the music!  I couldn't decide which routine was my favorite.  Just when I thought I loved one the most, the next one would make me think the same thing.  There's a break in the middle with all standing ab work, which I loved as well. I'm really into standing ab work!  The final stretch is really encouraging as Michelle talks about having joy in the Lord and not our circumstances.  It was a message I really needed to hear.  One of the things I love most about these workouts is the encouraging messages and scripture that are included.  

As for the Power Stretch routine, I loved that too! It was very relaxing. It lives up to its name since some moves did require muscle "power" to hold the poses. I got my husband to do this one with me and he kept saying how great he felt afterwards. The music was soothing and the message in this one was just as encouraging as the message in Pazaz.  It's based on the story of David and Goliath.  This one is about 20 minutes long.

Here's a clip:

What makes Faithful Workouts different than anything else out there, besides the Christian message and music, is that fact that it includes information on faith and fuel and not just fitness. You can purchase workbooks on the website with weekly readings that include biblical information on faith, fitness and fuel. I purchased one of the plans a while back that included a menu plan and daily readings and found it so encouraging. It really helped me transform the way I viewed fitness and eating. Faithful Workouts is one of the tools the Lord used to show me that a healthy body is important to serve Him and I am so thankful for it.  Check out their website!  You can even purchase clothing, homeschooling tools and fitness equipment. 

I just wanted to mention that I'm not saying that non-Christian workouts are bad for Christians. This is my walk and what the Lord is showing me personally.  I am susceptible to buying into the lies other videos may tell when they talk about "getting a bikini body" or something similar.  As I walk with the Lord and desire to transform my mind, using these workouts help me to focus on the truth (Phil 4:8).  I honestly believe that what we hear and allow into our minds will affect what we think and how we live. We're either feeding the flesh or feeding the spirit and Faithful Workouts will feed your spirit! I want God involved in all I do and to glorify Him even in my fitness life. I thank God for Faithful Workouts and pray every day that He continues to bless this ministry.  

As for Pazaz, this is a must have!  You won't be disappointed.  I am already hoping for a sequel!! :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Migraine Associated Vertigo (MAV)

It's been a while since I last posted and I wanted to share where I'm at right now with my illness.

I posted several times before about my vestibular disorder that I've been living with since January. My doctor has no idea what's causing it and lumped me into the "it must be uncompensated Labyrinthitis" group. She knows for sure it's not Meniere's Disease, but other than that, it's a mystery. I've been successfully doing vestibular rehabilitation therapy since March. It has helped reduce my symptoms dramatically, although I still have major set backs any time the pressure changes or I get my monthly cycle. 

I shared my story on a few different dizzy forms the past several months and got responses from some very nice women who suggested I might have Migraine Associated Vertigo. I had read about it in the past during my research, but never explored it in depth.  One of the women recommended a book called "Heal your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program for taking control of your pain" by David Buchholz, MD.  I ordered the book from my library and went to pick it up before my vestibular therapy appointment yesterday morning. While at my appointment, I talked more about my symptoms with my therapist.  I didn't mention anything about the book. She said I reminded her a lot of another one of her patients who has Migraine Associated Vertigo. Apparently she had seen some top doctors at John Hopkins University who diagnosed it. She gave me a hand out to read and suggested I get a copy of Heal your Headache.  I couldn't believe it; I told her I just got the book from my library!  I often look for confirmations from the Lord that He's telling me something because I don't want to seek any kind of treatment outside of His will, believing wholeheartedly that He will make good on His promise to heal me because His word is true, always. I took this recommendation by my therapist as a confirmation since I had been praying for Him to use her and guide her in a mighty way regarding my treatment.  I had also been praying for His wisdom, knowledge and guidance.  

I read through the entire book yesterday. I just could not put it down. All my symptoms were described in the book as migraine related: head pain & pressure, sinus pressure, ear pain and fullness, dizziness! I always knew migraines could cause visual symptoms, not just intense headaches, but I had no idea they could cause vestibular (and a whole host of other!) problems too.  I used to get horrible migraines when I was younger, the kind that cause horrendous head pain, light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting. I only had a handful and then they went away, though I struggled since then on and off with dizziness.  Could it be that what I'm experiencing is migraine related?

I'm going to follow the diet recommended in the book, eliminating all common migraine "triggers" to see if it helps with my symptoms.  If it does, praise God!  If it doesn't, praise God! I thank Him for this opportunity to give something a try, but if this is not something that will help me, then I trust Him to bring it to pass in His time and in His way.  

I highly recommend this book though.  It's an excellent read and a real eye opener. Any doctor that challenges the status quo is okay in my book.   

If you've read the book or tried the diet, I'd love for you to share your experiences! For more information on recipes related to this specific diet, the follow links are highly beneficial:

Migraine-Free Cooking (a blog with recipes based on the book)

Migraine-Free Cooking (recipe book based on Heal your Headache)

I ordered the Migraine-Free Cooking book today and look forward to receiving it!  I spent the day clearing my cupboards of any triggers.  My loss is the food pantry's gain!

UPDATE: I tried the Heal your Headache diet for 6 weeks and then I called it quits.  For the entire update and all of the details, please refer to this post: "Heal your Headache - Migraine Diet Update".  In a nutshell, it did not work for me.