First of all, a confession: I haven’t been diagnosed with MAV, VM or PPPD so what am I doing here? Read on and all will be revealed!
My story begins in May 2018 when I awoke very early one morning to find the room spinning violently. This came as a complete shock. I was a fit 68 year-old, in good health, hadn’t been drinking and had no history of dizziness. The initial diagnosis was a middle ear infection. I was prescribed Prochlorperazine and told it would clear up in three weeks. But it didn’t. Three months later I was still having dizzy spells, bouts of brain fog and felt sick much of the time. Coincidentally, the day I was changing to another GP, I also had what is best described as a “visual disturbance”, a bit like seeing stars lasting for an hour or so but with no other new symptoms. Given that this might have been a side-effect of the Prochlorperazine, my new doctor changed my medication to Betahistine and told me to return if there was no change in my overall condition. There wasn’t so back I went. (October 2018). This time, I was referred to a specialist who said I had either BPPV or an acoustic neuroma and sent me for a scan to rule out the latter.
And this marks the start of an extremely frustrating period when it took some 3-4 months before I got the results of the scan (very long story). The gentleman who gave me the results, not my regular doctor, confirmed the diagnosis as BPPV without examining me and doubled my medication. However, the consultation was very unsatisfactory for a number of reasons not least of which was that the doctor (not a specialist as I later learned) was unable to answer any of my questions satisfactorily.
At the insistence of my wife I subsequently went to see an otolaryngologist privately. Talk about restoring my faith in the medical profession! Following an extremely thorough examination, including the Dix-Hallpike test, he announced that I didn’t have BPPV but that the initial bout of vertigo was caused by acute labyrinthitis and my brain hadn’t compensated hence the ongoing dizziness and nausea. He also explained why my symptoms were worse in supermarkets and shopping malls (brain overload). He then arranged for an extensive series of tests which showed a good response from my vestibular system and no nerve damage (September 2019).
On a daily basis, I still get varying degrees of dizziness, brain fog, tinnitus and nausea although the Betahistine seems to work well in combating the latter two. By far the worst, though, is what I call “dizzi-tired”: a sudden and debilitating rush of dizziness and tiredness occurring at the same time usually brought on in supermarkets, shops or anywhere with harsh fluorescent lighting. Noisy crowds are another trigger. The after-effects of tiredness, brain fog and generally feeling unwell, can last for several days. The best cure I’ve found is simply to avoid these situations altogether although, more recently, I have found FL-41 lenses helpful when out shopping.
I also follow an active exercise regime including Cawthorne-Cooksey (×3 daily), swimming (Covid permitting), walking, cycling and Qigong. This regime hasn’t cured me but at least I’m not getting any worse (touch wood).
So why MVertigo? Well, my otolaryngologist suspects there might be a “migrainous element” to my condition. Indeed, I can certainly relate to a number of the posts on the forum particularly those involving light and sound sensitivity although many of these are far more severe than mine. At any rate, its reassuring to know there are others in the same boat as it were. And hopefully I can learn from other people’s experiences to improve my own (and vice-versa).