Thursday, September 20, 2012

My 5773 resolution: To work on my health

For years, I've suffered from a mild tendency to dizziness, which has caused me to "rechoreograph" a lot of Israeli and international folk dances rather than giving up one of my favorite hobbies--it's possible to skip most of the turns in a circle dance, provided that one ends up on the same foot and moving in the same direction as everyone else.  But about a year ago, I began to notice that not only was I prone to dizziness, I was also beginning to feel frequently slightly off-balance for no discernible reason, even when off the dance floor.  So the first change I made was to cut my salt intake, mostly by reducing my tortilla-chip consumption, in case I had a mild case of Meuniere's Disease.  These days, my biggest salt dose comes in the form of the Salty Dog Rag.  :)

Then there was my successful experiment to see whether I could end my chest pains by eating fewer nuts.  I'm now very careful to restrict the quantity of nuts and seeds that I eat per day.

Several weeks later, I pigged out on chocolate at a fancy kiddush and got the worst case of heartburn that I've had in years.  So I added chocolate to my "consume with caution" list.  White potatoes have already been on that list for a while, which is why I ended up munching tortilla chips in the first place.

Speaking of tortilla chips, that brings me back to the original topic--Ms. Dizzy Dame is now concerned about being frequently off-balance, as well, even when walking rather than dancing.  I finally decided that it was time for some investigation.  So I went to my otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor), who sent me to a neurologist, who prescribed testing by an audiologist, as well as an MRI.  Ugh.  I'd already had that particular audiological test twice before, and while it's painless and non-invasive, it certainly makes me nauseous--at the end of the test, the audiologist deliberately induces vertigo by using some gadget to blow air into each of the patient's ears for at least a minute straight.  Round three wasn't much better than the previous two.  Better yet (quoth she sarcastically) was the MRI--I lasted all of 10 minutes in that claustrophobic contraption before begging the technician to get me out of there.  The technician and the neurologist's staff suggested that I try an open MRI and/or an MRI under valium.  But I figured that an open MRI wouldn't help the claustrophobia, since there would be a plastic shield over my eyes blocking my view anyway, and as for valium, I wasn't about to enter that claustrophobic tube under the influence of a drug that I've never taken in my life.  So I begged for, and got, an MRI under anesthesia.  Bless the fine folks at Roosevelt Hospital, and bless my husband for his medical insurance, since I'm sure the bills will be sky-high. 

The good news is that all the MRI showed was arthritis in the cervical spine (the neck part), which explains why I can't nap on my husband's shoulder in the subway anymore without getting a stiff neck (sigh).  No cancer, nothing requiring surgery and/or other radical measures.

The bad news is that the audiologist's test showed that my inner-ear balance center is stronger in one ear than in the other, which accounts for me feeling off-balance.  I'm now awaiting a referral for vestibular therapy.

In the meantime, I've decided to get a little exercise daily by walking up the stairs both at home and at the office.  I'm hoping that the addition of a little exercise, combined with the substraction of large quantities of tortilla chips, nuts, seeds, and chocolate from my diet, will help me keep my weight within a reasonable limit.  I'm also trying to increase my vitamin intake by bringing an entire sliced bell pepper to work every day, though where I'm going to get decent-tasting bell peppers in the middle of the winter is a good question.

Wish me luck with my 5773 resolution.  I wish all my readers a G'mar Chatimah Tovah--may you be sealed in the Book of Life for a good (and healthy) year.


Blogger Susan B said...

Best wishes for you to keep up with your commitment to your health. you can't do any mitzvot if you're dead.

Fri Sep 21, 07:57:00 PM 2012  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...


Thanks for your good wishes.

Sat Sep 22, 10:04:00 PM 2012  

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