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    No balance!
    lovesweinerdogs posted:
    Hy everybody! Hope everyone out there is holding up well. My question is: in the last two days, I ran into a fire extinguisher cabinet and tore a three-corner tear in my right arm. This morning I ran into the door jamb, jamming my index finger pretty good. I don't think it's broke but it's pretty sore.

    When I brush my teeth or lean over to wash my face, I have to be very careful not to keep leaning till I go face-first into the faucet! I guess what I'm trying to say is, my balance sucks!

    Since I have yet to find a doctor in the group I must use who will take all these symptoms seriously, I'm afraid to mention the balance issue to anyone else for fear I'll lose my driver's license.

    Has anyone else in the MS community run into this problem? How do you deal with serious balance issues? My supervisor occasionally asks me to help drive students and I'm getting concerned-what if one of these "episodes" happens while I'm driving?

    Also, thank you all for sharing your dreams and ideas in this community! It means a lot to me that you all treat me with respect and dignity, even if I've gone face-first into my sink! LOL!

    Much love,

    hackwriter responded:

    When you say balance, do you mean dizziness--or both balance problems and dizziness?

    I have balance problems, too, along with dizziness and occasional vertigo. These episodes usually come on with certain movements when I suddenly shift my center of gravity: lean over, close my eyes, change direction too quickly while walking, coming indoors or going outdoors when there is a sudden change in temp and humidity, to give a few examples.

    You didn't mention whether you ever actually had a spell while driving. I never have, so I feel safe behind the wheel. Maybe getting out of the car or climbing in from time to time, but never while driving. If you have had it come on while driving, address this with your doctor for treatment ideas.

    The only thing I do to manage these balance/dizziness issues is to move very slowly and deliberately, using my cane for balance and other solid objects such as walls, furniture, and occasionally my loved ones :) In the shower, I lean against one wall whenever I have to close my eyes.

    Try not worry about the "what-ifs" and concentrate on managing what you are experiencing right now. If you're concerned about other people's perceptions, then don't mention it to anybody. It's not their business anyway and you don't need to deal with judgments. You are clearly being very hard on yourself already :-) Sometimes we are our own worst enemy!

    lovesweinerdogs replied to hackwriter's response:
    Kim, thanks for responding...that's a good question. When I turn my head or body, when I stop turning, I don't stop turning. Does that make sense? I"m trying to stop but it feels like I'm still moving, which frequently causes me to run into things. It's like when I stop moving, the room takes off.

    In answer to the driving issue, I've only had two minor instances, when turning a corner, and it only lasts a split second. I guess it's my feeling of responsibility towards the kids.

    Also thanks for the "cowgirl up"! My mom says the same thing-she never had to discipline me as a child. I already felt so guilty she didn't need to. And you are right-I have enough to worry about without dealing with someone else's opinion about my illness.

    God bless you!

    hackwriter replied to lovesweinerdogs's response:

    If you have the sensation of movement around you when you are still, that is vertigo. Vertigo is also when you feel you are moving even while still.

    Dizziness is a woozy feeling, like you've had a couple of alcoholic drinks.

    Light-headedness is the feeling that you might pass out.

    There are medications to treat vertigo. If you see your doctor about these issues, let us know the treatment plan, okay?

    An_204957 replied to hackwriter's response:
    I have severe balance problems....You have to keep in mind that when I say balance it doesn't mean dizzy. I used to get that vertigo sensation when I over did it physically and had bouts of Vomiting when that happened. So I learned that the vertigo was my Que to stop doing what ever it was that I was doing before the vomiting started.But wasn't too successful. I had a tendency to push it just a little more.

    My balance is really bad and it never stops 24/7 , I only get a break when I sleep. I have had several E.N.G. test's done and they found that I now have a 98% loss of inner ear function.
    not loss of hearing mind you but controls the balance function. I was told that soon it will be total loss and that it will never return.

    I do use a cane to walk and mainly for balance and find myself using everything else that is stationary for support as well , I.E. walls' rails,anything that wont move when i grab it. The doc's want me to use a walker or wheel chair but being a disabled Vet. I had a long experience with the wheel chair and refuse to use it. as for as the walker, way too cumbersome and almost imposable in public.

    It's a constant fight to get and maintain balance. Driving is way out of the question, every bump, dip and turn feels like a really bad carnival ride and takes a long time to recover from each one. If only there was a way to treat the balance issue, I could deal with all the other symptoms much easier. And now that I am on blood thinners thanks to a botched contrasted M.R.I. and the wonderful blood clot they gave me, I really have to watch out when I run into things. Getting a bad cut could be very bad....
    tammyrow responded:

    I have had a lot of dizziness over the years and several times it has effected me while driving. My doctor suggested I go thru Vertigo Therapy. (Yes, believe it or not there is therapy for this.) Through the therapy, it has helped me discover some things that trigger my dizziness and helped retrain my brain to overcome these items. The therapy doesn't stop me from being dizzy but now when I am dizzy, the dizziness doesn't stop me from living. It's been a tremoudous help. So, don't be afraid of mentioning it to your doctor. Taking your license away will not be their first response.
    ewatcher responded:
    Hi Dawn,

    I have had these same problems and have even fallen down twice because of balance problems. Also, twice I have had difficulty getting up from a squatting position due to weakness and wobbliness in my right leg.

    I have not been diagnosed with MS or Myasthenia Gravis or anything else other than arthritis. The docs I have seen don't take any of this seriously even though I have had absent responses to reflex testing! What are you gonna do?

    I "don't" deal with these balance issues because really what can you do? One PT told me to practice balance exercises which, admittedly, I haven't but would they really help?

    If our nerves are damaged, what control do we have over them? I wish you (and me) good luck in finding a doc who will at least "try" to help. I try, like you, to keep a sense of humor as well. It really does help me to laugh. What's the saying, "If you don't laugh, you'll cry."

    Kind thoughts sent your way,

    BarbBuch responded:
    Thank you for asking the question, Dawn. I don't get dizzy, but if I lean forward or backward, it feels like there is a string attached that will pull me over. I, too, am getting nervous that I will lose my driver's license.
    I am in the middle of what might be a flare up and have foot drop as well.
    We can only be cautious and concientious about how our symptoms affect other's safety. For me, I might tell my boss that I am have a "symptomatic day" and need to do other things besides driver or stand for extended periods of time. My employer has been very understanding, however.
    Yet, with these few issues, I am still not diagnosed!
    Have faith and keep living it full.

    Anon_229823 replied to tammyrow's response:
    Hi! I also suffer from bouts of vertigo, and pretty much daily issues with dizziness and balance issues. I live in a hot climate and the heat definitely affects the latter two.

    If you are experiencing vertigo, I really recommend trying to find a good chiropractor. That was my cure! No one wants to have their neck turned rapidly and crunched but each time he miraculously make the vertigo disappear.

    Dizziness is harder to deal with. Carry a cane or at least keep one in the house and the car. I find if I sit down and put my heads between my knees it tends to subside. Also, it is very, very important to remain hydrated and make sure your electrolytes are in balance - calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc. Being fatigued is another big cause of dizziness so I listen to my body when it says to rest.

    I especially need a cane when walking uphill or downhill or on a an oddly paved road - such as the cobble stone roads in Europe.

    If you are fearful about driving, then at least don't take passengers. It is one thing to hurt yourself and another to hurt others. I have been fortunate in that my "escapades" usually involve driving up curbs or not taking a right hand turn tight enough. It is what it is and I understand completely how you feel. Who in the world wants to lose their freedom to drive? You do need to have a discussion and face reality about it. Talk to your doctor reasonably and see if he has any suggestions.

    Take care,

    MSMobilityStrength replied to hackwriter's response:
    I read your responce to Dawn and it sounds just like the issues I have everyday for the past 15yrs.
    In fact the other night I was walking in the dark which I new was wrong without my slippers on and I stubbed my little toe. I know it's not broke because I have done this before. Boy is my toe purple. Sometimes my feet just don't go where I want them to.
    MSMobilityStrength replied to lovesweinerdogs's response:
    Yes this makes sense. I was walking with my daughter and became tired and went to sit down and when I leaned a little forward to sit my body was still in a forward motion and I nearly fell on my face. I also experience a loss of balance in a car on exit ramps that are in the shape of a circle. And I never try to read in the car when it is moving.
    valnwaco responded:
    Hi Dawn,

    I recently started having those same problems. I have been very off balance and having dizzy spells also. I'm sitting still, but feels like I'm moving. I was in the store purchasing a coke, when I suddenly went limp and fall to the floor. It was so embarassing but I got up and acted if nothing had happened. I have never experienced anything like this before, I hope it goes away soon. Now, I'm afraid to go anywhere, scared this may happen when I'm driving. I did some research online and from what I read it's vertigo. I haven't seen a doctor about this but I plan to soon.
    SLRealtor responded:
    My balance is really bad, too. It hasn't effected my driving yet. As long as I hold onto something that is not moving (cane, handrail, hallway walls, etc.) I have fewer incidences of falling or crashing into things. No one has been able to suggest a solution to this almost constant state of virtigo. Even my ear doc has no suggestions. Even stepping off a curb is scary to me.
    All I can say is move slowly and concentrate on your movements.
    SLRealtor replied to hackwriter's response:
    I agree with hackwriter.
    msannabrams responded:
    dawn - it is difficult to to stay current with the changes your reality is experiencing. i believe that you should not drive. there will be a learning curve to functioning without a car, however, from my personal experience it is a liberating one. life changes and the ability to recreate the paradigm. to be free from the anxiety over skill execution, the price of gas, parking, and insurance is WONDERFUL.
    so, was best wishes for you in this moment of reflection and decision making.
    take care,
    c. brown

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