Down The Rabbit Hole

I’m not sure if it’s because my daughter Amanda and I have been chasing a certain white rabbit’s tale in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, while, simultaneously binge-watching Once Upon A Time, to try and cram in ALL the happy endings we can, before she and her hubby pack up for their next adventure aka Once Upon a Time in Denver aka the trail of this mama’s tears… but my vertigo has been a wather wascally rabbit of late. Two weeks ago today, it, literally, threw me down the rabbit hole. I had just awakened and almost made it across the room to the bathroom, when everything went all swirly, and somebody pulled the floor out from underneath me. I banged my shoulder on the wall, which broke my fall, and in retrospect, probably saved my poor bean from yet another head injury. Whew. But it scared the crap out of Dave. Poor guy was busy trying to finish sawing all the logs when I came crashing down and startled him awake from such sweet slumber.

DAVE: Wh…what was that?! Did you hear that? What just hap’d? What in the world are you doing on the floor?

Me: Um…falling.

where's alice

We know for certain that this falling out of bed incident had nothing to do with me “waking up on the wrong side of the bed”. I’ve been sleeping on the right side for years, just as a precaution. But clearly, one lesson I think we all learned, was that I should never attempt getting out of bed without being properly caffeinated. Dave usually wakes up before me and brings me coffee in bed every morning, so this has not been an issue before. However, on this fateful morning, and, I don’t want to point any fingers here (unless it stirs the coffee pot;) but… either he slept in, or I accidentally woke up first. Like I said, no sense in pointing any fingers. Neither are very likely to happen again. Mostly because I like tootsie roll pops better than worms. But also because Dave is still too scared to go back to sleep.

Anyway, thanks to the my ENT, Emmy, my physical therapist at the Balance Center, and the Epley Maneuver, we managed to stop the spinning. But I have yet to fully regain my land legs. Which is not really even the Vertigo’s fault, but chronic inflammation in my ears, that makes me feel kinda like I’m on a boat most of the time.

I’ve been dealing with inner ear issues ever since the “Vespa Incident” in which I pretty much did a Wiley Coyote splat into a stone wall, pretty much breaking my face (nose, cheek, eye orbit, nasopharynx) while on holiday in Rome during a chemo break in the spring of 2009. (I wrote more about my Roman holiday and “Vespa Incident” in Shaken Not Stirred…a Chemo Cocktail, in Part II, Round 13 “That’s Amore”. (Btw, the Kindle version of my book comes bundled FREE with purchase of the paperback version on Amazon till the end of the year:)

I didn’t even know what a nasopharynx was, let alone properly appreciate mine, before I broke it. But I’ve missed the crap out of it every day since. My ENT told me the nasopharynx is, or in my case, was, the space behind my nose; its job was kinda like a traffic cop, to direct air and mucus flow, and help out with respiratory functions and drainage. Except for my air traffic controller quit when I broke it. So basically, I have these rather annoying Gollumesque episodes whenever I have a mucus traffic jam.

That’s one reason I am freakishly afraid of getting a cold or being around peeps who should be home in bed taking NyQuil. (Also I don’t want to ever accidentally carry mine or anybody else’s cold to any of my peeps who are already getting their asses and immune systems kicked by chemo. Cuz that’s. just. cruel. And that was me on my soapbox. But I’ll get down now cuz the altitude makes me dizzy.)

These Gollumesque episodes are also one reason I started doing yoga. A few of my doctors including my ENT actually suggested it as being helpful in dealing with some of the post traumatic stress of cancer and treatment and life after cancer and treatment. I don’t really feel like stressed-out is one of my descriptors, but obviously we all deal with our own stressors in life, and apparently, my stress collects in and emanates from my neck (My massage therapist says my neck is the Taj Mahal of stress) and gravitates to my jaw. This manifests in me often clenching my jaw, which exasperates the traffic jam, even if I’m not mentally or emotionally registering stress. Stress is stress, whether it’s good stress or bad stress. And like everybody else I have my share of both. It’s just that without my nasopharynx I have to be my own freaking traffic cop now or channel Gollum.

The monkey wrench in all this dizzy biz has been the overlap of chemo fog that hovers over my head like an empty thought bubble. Which kinda looks like a cloud, if you think about it. Which reminds me of Joe Versus The VolcanoExcept chemo brain is basically like a for real brain cloud. Anyway, it’s sometimes hard to discern where the fog ends and the dizzy begins, which makes it difficult to navigate sometimes.

I don’t mean to put this out there as me being all whiney (winey, maybe;) but as a prayer request, as we are getting ready to drive 1/2 way across the country, not to mention, to another altitude, on Friday. Then we fly home 7 January. My poor eardrums are understandably gun-shy on both counts, having just gone through 2 months of antibiotics, anti-inflams, steroids, sudafed, mucinex, and etc., oh my, as I’ve been trying to get on top of an ear infection I got after the Indy 1/2 marathon Dave and I ran on 2 November. I haven’t actually run since then, which has driven me a little bit bat shit stir crazy, not gonna lie. But I have been trying to chill and cut myself some slack and let my body focus on healing my eardrum so this dizzy blonde can get back to marching to my own beat again stat.

One comment

  1. Bonnie Collins says:

    Praying for a happy nasopharynx (and yes, I did have to copy and paste that word from your blog!) on your trip sweet Joules. Safe travels and I’ll be here when you return to have one (or two or three) glasses of “sympathy wine” as I’m sure you will be a little tiny bit melancholy after leaving your sweet Amanda. Love you to pieces and Merry Christmas! xoxoxoxo

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