Iron Mind

My son, Andrew, entered the Ironman race in Boulder a few weeks ago, startling himself and me by completing it—just 20 minutes short of the cut-off time of 17 hours. At the start, he’d given himself a 50-50 chance of finishing: swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, then running a full marathon of 26.2 miles, in 90 degree heat, at altitude of 5500 feet. He’d never swum that long, biked that far, or run a marathon, let alone done all three in a row.

Finish!Halfway through the bike course, his face and body overheated, his head hurt, his energy dropped, and his stomach and digestive system stopped functioning, causing him to vomit. For the last three hours, he couldn’t keep down anything— water, nutrients, electrolytes. The doctor who saw him puking up water advised him to drop out.

Yet he kept going, from 6:50 in the morning until shortly before midnight. When he knew he was going to make it, he picked up speed and at the finish line, did a victory dance, jumping like a fiend, punching his fists and wiping tears from his eyes as the crowd chanted, “You – are – an – Ironman!”

“What kept you going?” I asked the next day. “It’s all mental,” he said. “You just keep telling yourself: You can do it. You can do it. Keep going. Don’t stop.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of the mind, neuroplasticity, and how Andrew’s triumphant mindset might be applied to other aspects of life, like healing the body. For three months now, I’ve been suffering from extreme vertigo, where I’m dizzy every minute.

Hold it — You’ve probably experienced some form of dizziness and are about to suggest a remedy. Almost every person I tell about my vertigo has had a bout of it and knows a cure.

Trust me, I have tried them all. My case seems unique—what the doctors call “interesting.” You may aspire to be an interesting person, but in medical jargon, you never want to be an “interesting case”—a euphemism for “We have no fucking clue.”

I’ve seen doctors and alternative healers, had MRI’s and CAT scans, which show an enlarged mass in the inner ear, a condition I probably was born with.

But they can’t be sure. As Dr. Stephen Cass, my otolaryngologist, says, “The inner ear is a black box. The tiny organs are encased by the hardest bone in the body, so we can’t go in there and see what’s happening.”

The docs assured me the dizziness would resolve in about three months, but it hasn’t. All they can offer now is to kill the inner ear—with chemicals or surgery—so there’ll be no more wild signals going to the brain and it can adapt to receiving info from just one ear.

Early in this saga, I began wondering if I could harness the power my son had used—the mental determination that overrode his body symptoms—to heal my inner ear.

A friend recommended the book, You are the Placebo, by Joe Dispenza, a chiropractor who, at 26, was run over by an SUV, causing six vertebrae to shatter and pierce his spinal cord. The back specialists he consulted wanted to implant two steel rods along his spine, after which he might learn to walk again, but would probably have chronic pain. If he did not have the surgery, they warned, he’d be paralyzed.

Dispenza2Dispenza refused surgery, and left the hospital determined to use his mind to put his spine back together. After ten weeks of lying on his stomach, meditating and visualizing the reconstruction of his vertebrae, he could walk without pain and treat patients again.

The book was stuffed with examples of other miraculous cures, but I soon stopped reading. I’ve known people who’ve healed themselves of “incurable” disorders, but healing is mysterious. What heals one person doesn’t necessarily heal the next, who follows the same regimen. Even if I bought Dispenza’s recordings and attended his workshops, I was doubtful that I’d be able to change the structure of my inner ear.

Then another friend sent me a video of a TEDx talk given by Alia Crum, PhD, who teaches psychology at Stanford. An adorable-looking blonde with an athlete’s toned body, Crum described four experiments she’d conducted with colleagues that demonstrate, she said, “how our mindsets matter!”

In one experiment, they recruited 48 hotel maids, who work on their feet all day, using a variety Alia Crumof muscles. When asked if they exercise regularly, though, most said they don’t exercise at all.

The researchers split the women into two groups, measuring their weight, blood pressure, body fat, and satisfaction with their job. They gave one group a 15-minute presentation, informing them: “Your work is good exercise. You have an active lifestyle.” They told the women they could expect many benefits: healthy weight; a healthy heart; less chance of getting sick, suffering anxiety or depression; better sleep and better moods. They did not give the presentation to the second group.

Four weeks later, they brought both groups back and measured them again. The group that didn’t get a presentation showed no change, but the other group had lost weight and body fat, showed a significant drop in blood pressure, and reported liking their jobs more. They hadn’t changed their lifestyle or joined a gym, Crum said. “As a result of a simple, 15-minute talk, the whole game changed, producing measurable effects on well being.”

Wonderful. Inspiring. But here was my problem. The transforming message for the women came from people outside, but no one outside was telling me anything positive. I was afraid I wouldn’t get better, and even more scared I might lose function in the other ear. How could I create a rosy mindset on top of those fears and feel it was authentic?

After long consideration, it came to me that I could let both be present. I could accept the fears—their function seemed to be to prevent me from being disappointed and feeling foolish if the positive mindset failed. But if it did fail, so what? Wasn’t it worth trying?

I thought of Andrew on the Ironman course, when his body was screaming, “Stop!” and the heat and altitude were sapping his strength, and yet his mind kept telling him he could do what most of us would consider impossible.

I went back to Dispenza’s book and tried the meditation, which left me feeling upbeat and grateful. And still dizzy.

My ear is going to heal or not, but in the meantime, I realized, I could choose to put my energy into creating positive thoughts and emotions, even if they seem unreasonable. At the least, I’ll experience more joy and ease. When fears take the stage, I can change the channel, and turn to Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I dwell in Possibility.” (see below)

I’m eager to hear your thoughts, so please leave a COMMENT. And stay tuned.

I dwell in Possibility – /  A fairer House than Prose – / More numerous of Windows – / Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars – Impregnable of eye – / And for an everlasting Roof / The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest – / For Occupation – This – / The spreading wide my narrow Hands / To gather Paradise –

BOOK PICKS: in September, two terrific books about entertainers will be published.

1. Cosby: His Life and Times, by Mark Whitaker, the first African-American editor of Newsweek and an executive at CNN and NBC. He not only tells Cosby’s story with intimate, previously unknown details, but sets it in historical context—how The Cosby Show paved the way for an African-American president.

2. Tradition! by Barbara Isenberg, about the making of Fiddler on the Roof, from zygote of an idea to becoming the world’s most beloved musical. I was mesmerized by how the play and film took shape, how songs were tossed at the last minute and replaced by new ones, which became classics, and why audiences around the world instantly identified with this Jewish family from the shtetl.

 

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39 thoughts on “Iron Mind

  1. Laurie SCHUR

    Thank you for sharing, Sara. I’ve also been dizzy. Started working with a neurological chiropractor in Santa Monica Ca & it’s starting to help along with attitude stuff. Happy to share if you want to know more.

    Reply
    1. Sara Davidson Post author

      Thanks to you and others who are suggesting treatments that might help. It makes me feel wonderfully cared about. However, as I wrote, I have spent 3 months exploring every possible treatment from western to Chinese to all manner of alternative treatments. I do not have BPV, or Meniere’s, which are the most common causes of dizziness.They have been ruled out. I’m confident I will come through this, one way or the other. Your support and healing thoughts are most welcome. Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Jane

    OM! Simply Fabulous piece! Andrew, Kupaianaha!! (wonderful, wonderful) so very proud of you! What stamina of mind and body!
    Sara, right on. Try to bottle it and use it. I have to believe we all have that power to unleash.

    Reply
  3. Connirae Andreas

    Hi Sara,
    When I read your challenges with dizziness, my first thought was of a number of remedies you’ve undoubtedly tried. Since those didn’t work, what comes to mind is an approach that is more along the lines of the “dwelling in possibility” that you are talking about. But a lot more specific. It’s a new and more specific approach to mindfulness that has been getting some interesting results with a lot of health-related “puzzles.” [migraine aura clearing up, several examples of decrease of Parkinson’s symptoms, a woman who’d had a painfully numb thumb ever since she’d almost cut it off, immediately had more normal feeling restored, a man with auto-immune thyroid condition had normal readings after using the method, etc.] If you want to check it out, there is a free intro here. http://WholenessProcess.org

    Reply
  4. Neighbor

    What a handsome and fit son you have!! I suspect if he’s not spoken for, your most recent blog will go viral among available women around here!

    Reply
  5. Michael

    Sara, you are connected with all of us. We visualize in you, create sounds of harmony and feelings of balance in you, just by being it with you. If you consciously accept our presence, we join with your own lovely curiosity, humor and hope. To Create. Do you see? Hear? Feel — right now?

    Reply
  6. Michele Weiner-Davis

    Sara
    I so get how you’re inspired by your son’s determination. My son thru-hiked the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail having contracted West Nile Virus midway.

    If you haven’t already, read Mind Over Medicine.

    Here”s to stabler days,
    A Boulder writer,
    Michele

    Reply
  7. Tim O'Donoghue (PhD OSU '91)

    Hello Sara, I loved your interview with Ian Lawton and bought The December Project; almost finished reading it. Your blog is also great, love your writing, and the real honesty in your sharing. Also interviewed by Ian was Diarmuid O’Murhcu and have completed reading two of his books and started on a third. Since I deal with depression in my life, I also continuously search for meaning and understanding of my condition. Diarmuid and I are both from Ireland and of similar faith-tradition, but his holistic perspective and evolutionary spirituality are giving me hope and leading me on a new path. In addition, I meditate twice a day according to the WCCM approach – http://www.wccm.org/. Thanks again, Tim

    Reply
  8. Ariella Hartshorn

    Do you belive in serendipity? Just yesterday I read Dispenza’s article about the Placebo Effect.
    Now I know we should meet and talk.

    Reply
  9. Baillee Serbin

    Yes, I had it too, while in graduate school, taking statistics which is not my specialty.
    I felt stoned, but not in a good way.
    Some physical therapists know a special massage to get the balancing “molecules” but into the inner ear. It worked for me, after being hit by a Jeep SUV, while I was a pedestrine crossing the street. The dizziness was the worst symptom of my concussion. It is a very mild, simple set of movements that worked like magic. Only needed 3 meetings with the therapist.
    My empathy is with you, I know how crazy making it all is.
    But one thing is, since you can’t do anything, take the time to relax, rest and sleep and figure out what this is supposed to be teaching you, and help planning the next event.

    We Are One
    Baillee

    Reply
  10. susan schwartz

    sara,
    I’ve had vertigo — never to the extreme you’ve got it — so I can empathize with your situation.

    I have a friend who also had it for several months, and it eventually resolved.

    My only question/inspiration for reflection would be to ask what was going on/what were you doing/feeling/thinking right before the vertigo came on?

    Did the Rebbe’s death leave you feeling strangely imbalanced?
    Is there another place in your life where you are out of balance?
    Is there somewhere in your life you’re moving too quickly, and want to slow down?

    Sometimes, I find that thinking of my issue metaphorically can help me devise a way to address it…or understand it.
    I’d try getting in dialogue with it — ask it what it wants to tell you, and see if you can listen to what it has to say.

    With prayers for health and healing…
    Susan Schwartz

    Reply
  11. Miles Blount

    Love your blog and books and thanks for Emily’s poem, I enjoy her poetry as well. As for your vertigo, look for a condition in your life that makes you dizzy, then address it. I learned this from a sports psychologist who worked with highly paid athletes. Her premise was that their physical problems were never physical but relationship problems and she was extremely successful treating them. Much love.

    Reply
  12. douglas

    HI Sara, Been a long time since I’ve spoken to you, but have followed your newsletter and always enjoy your probing into the nature of reality and adjunct musings. Yup, life is the same as an endurance sport, it either kills you, literally or figuratively, or connects you to your capacities and you thrive and join in with the greater thriving of life, merge so to speak.
    As for overcoming what seems to be impossible obstacles, having done a number of 100 mile trail races, the key seems to be having a strong decision (strong decisions involve the gut, weak decisions involve the brain), so that when the going gets tough, your sure your in it for the long haul. Since real healing has to do with becoming whole, that’s a long haul process…doesn’t that take a lifetime?
    Hummm…dizziness look to becoming more grounded, and that would be on every level. Call me and I’ll talk more about this. :)

    Reply
  13. Amina

    Sara — this is awesome! Andrew’s ironman — amazing! You opening to positive imaging healing your ear — love it! I’ve been doing this kind of work on myself and others since the Wellspring days. Currently, I work with my knees (images and mantras) every time I swim or workout. Results are clearly significant.
    Fears to me are like static–normal, doubts to be felt, then whisked away with the wind. I’m a fan and an ally! Keep it up. Sending love!

    Reply
  14. Abby Sher

    I might be able to help you. Is your Eosinophil (EOS) white blood count level high by any chance. I just cured myself of dizziness. Let me know that, and if the level is high I may be able to help you.

    Reply
  15. joey

    someone can recommend a great hypnotherapist for you, to tell you the positive story, over and over, as much as you need until it does the trick, but meanwhile, i am very impressed by the apps of Andrew Johnson. App store! Check out the reviews!

    Reply
  16. Fleur de Leigh

    Yours is the only blog I actually consistently read, Sara. Your thoughts are always interesting. Of course, positive thinking is better than its opposite and probably does cure some people. But I’ve remembered the NY writer — though not his name — who had a series of serious heart attacks and decided that laughter was the best cure. He arranged (way before the internet) to look at old movies and Groucho Marx from his hospital bed. They kept him alive for years and, for a while, because he wrote books about it, his became a household name. Too bad laughter hasn’t improved my memory. Wishing you an immediate recovery however you get it.

    Reply
  17. Gail Storey

    This is extraordinary, Sara–Andrew’s completion of the Ironman (Congratulations to him!), your evolving relationship with vertigo, and how you connect the two in your gorgeous, inspiring piece of writing. Thank you.

    Reply
  18. ArielJoy

    Responding to the question of whether the mind can truly impact the physical conditions of the body, I just finished hearing Katherine E. May’s show on Blog Talk Radio. She was channeling Sananda, who for those of you who may not have heard of him, is believed to be the soul/spiritual entity who incarnated on Earth as Jeshua.

    The topic was “Healing for the Ascension” and following is one miniscule but significant thought that came up. I am putting it in quotes because I heard it through Dr. May but it is probably more of a paraphrase than a quote: “Feeling pain, or experiencing physical challenges, or not being thrilled every moment of your life, i.e., that wasn’t good service at the restaurant” does not constitute low vibration. Dejection, depression, and HOPELESSNESS do vibrate at very low frequencies.

    In employing Andrew as your example, you reported that he used his mind to deflect “hopelessness”. The doc said, “give it up” when Andrew began to vomit water, and Andrew became “The Little Engine That Could” thus deflecting the low vibratory frequency of “hopelessness” that, if allowed, could have cost him the race. Because of this Andrew was able to raise and match his frequency to the higher frequency of the dimension of winning.

    Reply
  19. BARBRA

    Anyway,in 1971 I was in a motorcycle accident and broke 3 vertebrae.
    As I lay in the hospital.they showed me the Xrays and told me that c2 pressed on the part that controls my breathing and I would probably stop breathing and die. T12 pressed on the part that control the motor impulses to my arms and legs and I would be a quadriplegic if I lived.
    Therefore they planned to operate to save me from these fates.

    I got up, got dressed, called a friend to pick me up nd signed myself out,AMA.
    Some dear friends, who still are,came to my house and took me to the Ma.General Hospital in Boston for another opinion because I had had a concussion and “didn’t know what I was doing”.
    More Xrays, same diagnosis.
    I talked a young resident,after a couple of days in the ICU, into signing me out so they wouldn’t bring me back again. He agreed only if I would wear the neck brace 24/7 and come back in a few days .
    I would have agreed to anything, including a blow job to get out of there.
    I had 3 young children and there was no one qualified, I thought,to take care of them.

    I took the neck brace off when I discovered that I couldn’t sleep with it on. You know how important sleep is to healing!
    I never went back.
    I am fine and have been since then. Whereas if I had allowed them to operate……….

    I just refused to die or be in a wheel chair. I had responsibilities to attend to and I made up my mind which rules the body.

    Reply
  20. BECKY

    So sorry you are having problems. I have had problems with pain, doctors have no clue. I finally realized perhaps it was a gift, to rest. The excuse, to give up and stay in bed, actually lessened the pain. I can enjoy so many things from right here, in bed. I rest up for the big events. Just back from a family trip to Costa Rica.

    In addition, I’m sure you’ve thought of or it’s been suggested to you to try our drug of choice here in Boulder. It seems to help with so many varying health issues.

    Again, so sorry for your problems. I also do believe we instinctively really know what our bodies and minds need to heal themselves.

    Reply
  21. Tora

    Sara, my sister has meniures disease so I know from her how awful something like this can be. I like what you said about changing your thoughts to experience more joy and ease. Amen to that sister. I’m going to keep you and your ears in my prayers. Don’t give up.
    Love,
    Tora

    Reply
  22. Julie Potiker

    Hi Sara!
    I think you are on the right track in your thinking. It is what is going on, it sucks, of course you are not alone as zillions of people have been similarly afflicted (never mind much worse), so now how to soothe yourself?That’s mindful self-compassion in a nut shell. Mindfulness, common humanity, self compassion. I am happy to teach you any of the guided meditations over the phone, Skype, or in person if you want to come down to sea level!
    I hope it goes away soon and never returns, and that you are free from fear and pain and suffering!
    Fondly,
    Julie

    Reply
  23. Greg davis

    Hi Sara, I enjoy your short stories of inspiration and discovery. In 2009 I had an attack of what is now clarified (according to doctors best efforts) as MS. I woke up one morning after a long day on the job and feeling “tired” unable to lift my legs or move my feet. After 4 days in the hospital (“4 days in th cave”) and every test know to man I was declared “a patient with MS”. I was told to take drugs (a daily self injection) and I may or may not get “better or worse”. I didn’t like those odds. I chose NOT to take the drugs much to the “disappointment” of my doctors. I began an intense regimen of physical therapy, acupuncture, heathy diet, and “thinking good thoughts”. I got steadily better. I still walk unsteadily, with a cane, and have balance and fatigue issues, but otherwise still mobile an as active as I can be. I swim a lot and recently purchased a “recumbent trike” which I ride as much as possible. My recent tests have shown NO further detiorization of my condition and I feel better, that I did 5 years ago. I am no one special, I just chose “quality of life” over quantity. I didn’t want to have a long life of decline, feeling like shit because of the toxic drugs and being “fully present”. The drug companies want to move product and the docs are their “pushers”. The body DOES have tremendous power to heal it self, given the right input, good thoughts, good spirit, good nutrients. Good luck to you.

    Reply
  24. Mike Tarlor

    Sara. Found your blog very interesting. I too have inner ear problems and need to try your path rather than the one I am on now. I have Scds which stands for superior canal dehesence syndrome. Lots of fun. Anyway look forward to reading more about you.

    Thanks

    MT

    Reply
  25. Dori

    Kudos to Andrew. His determination and positive attitude is inspiring and reminds me that we all have more of a reserve within for going that extra mile to stand up to challenges than we realize. That he had the courage to dig deep and tap into the source of his Iron Man power is quite an achievement.

    I have no personal experience with vertigo although it seems to be pretty common in various degrees of severity. Recently a friend mentioned she’s been struggling with it and several others in the group chimed in and said they’d experienced it also. I can only imagine how debilitating it must be in its most severe and chronic form.

    I hope you continue to try various modalities of holistic medicine before seriously considering any drastic and irrevocable western medicine procedures. Perhaps a combination of holistic techniques over time will do the trick. Meanwhile, I love that you’ve changed the channel and have chosen to “dwell in possibilities”. Probably a lot easier said than done but I for one can certainly use this as a reminder in dealing with the changes and challenges of living and growing older.

    Thanks Sara for sharing your experiences and insights.

    Reply
  26. Sylvia

    Dear Sara,
    I don’t usually respond to blogs but in this case because you are suffering physically and emotionally I feel compelled to say something. The first thing that comes to mind is “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.” The mind, even an old mind, is able to grow new synaptic connections over time with consistent effort. That is why we can still learn new things as we age. (I’m 59) So it is possible that your mind can find a way to heal the synapses to create a new pathway connecting the nerves that send the signals to the body to stay balanced. As a young person I studied French horn at one of the top music schools, and I had to learn how to lip trill. My teacher gave me an exercise which I diligently performed every day for 5 grueling, boring minutes; it was so hard I held no hope of ever producing a decent trill, but I soldiered on for some weeks. One day I started the exercise and to my surprise, I had a lip trill. The connections were made. I’ve had the same experience with headstand and handstand in yoga where, in addition to doubt, fear was present; but one day, I just popped up effortlessly and had the pose. While these are not stories of healing, they are stories of how the mind grows if you give it some direction.

    Reply
  27. Bruce Nygren

    “Interesting…” boy!
    Having had several bouts over the years, myself, your article made me cringe. My prayers are with you – and I’ll keep my cure to myself…
    And much joy with you for your son’s character!
    Breathing with you,
    Bruce

    Reply
  28. Joey Bortnick

    Hi Sara,
    Cool about Andrew, sorry you are dealing with this vertigo. I’ve never had it but know 4 friends that have experienced it. I don’t know what to say except I will visualize you feeling healthy and definitely NOT dizzy. Does music help at all? I would think that low lights with soft music or Tibetan monks chanting and incense burning would be calming at the very least. I do believe in the power of the mind, and in a healing diet. I would say try a clean raw food diet, no caffein, refined sugars, dairy or such. I think we can cure so much with lots of pure water and a clean diet. Honestly, I have no idea how to help you but I will send positive thoughts and hold a healthy image of you in my heart. I hope it goes away very soon. I do know that 3 of my friends who experience vertigo take medicine for it and that it does help. Lots of Love to you, Joey

    Reply
  29. sarah

    Oh, Sara, I’m sorry to hear of your dizziness, and optimistic about your positive approach. It strikes a painful chord with me because my mom, who died in March 2012 at age 86, had been dizzy since about 1988. Doctors never identified a cause, and mom wasn’t interested in alternative approaches. She mostly lived on the couch in my parents’ spacious bungalow, where dad operated his business upstairs. Only after she died did I realize how our family had revolved around the invalid in the living room. Her illness defined her and hijacked our family. It’s encouraging that you are not taking that route. I send you love and light.

    Reply
  30. Braeden

    Hi Sara, I just wanted to say thank you for your genuine nature and sharing your world thru your emails. I like the knowledge and wisdom you bring. It makes a difference to my challenges. Thank you :)

    Reply
  31. Dennis Palumbo

    Dear Sara,

    Though I was inspired by your story about Andrew, I’m really sorry to hear about your pervasive dizziness. Since it sounds like you’ve run your own marathon of doctors, specialists, etc., I can only hope your use of meditation and positive thinking helps reduce the symptoms.

    I think of you often, and what an honor it was to work with you, and support you in the birth of your cowboy book. As both your former therapist and a life-long fan of your work, I wish you the best of luck in dealing with your vertigo. And please send my congratulations to Andrew. Truly an Iron Man!

    Warm regards,

    Dennis

    Reply
  32. Joan

    A decision to do a major procedure would be brave, but since it is a one way procedure you might also consider waiting at least another 6 months and see if you start to feel any progress first. I was dizzy (as in, felt like I was on a rocking boat at high sea!) for 8 months a couple years ago. I would never even have been able to even write a blog entry, as I could barely focus my eyes on anything. During the first 3 months, I had absolutely no progress. I also did not have any of the known inner ear disorders. I was offered surgeries to see if I had an inner ear fistulae (a relatively safe surgery) as well as more dramatic ones to remove portion of my inner ear (in case I had superior canal dehiscence). I saw a million doctors but soon realized little is known about the inner ear. The diagnosis/guess that I personally felt was not compelling was that of vestibular migraine, or of vestibular migraines triggered by an inner ear injury. Some of the migraine medication I tried, though it did not have any immediate effect on the dizzyness, did make me feel better and strongerand, I believe, might have helped give my body the strength to start recovering from the inner ear insult. Who knows though. You might consider going to a vestibular migraine specialist and getting their opinion on surgery. At the very least, they will have seen other patients like you and have stories to tell about how those folks did. If you decide to wait for a while before going for surgery, during this time, I’d say listen to your body. Some doctors say it is important to push yourself so you brain adjusts faster to your inner ear. I found the OPPOSITE to be true. As soon as I started allowing myself more breaks in bed with the lights out, more naps, etc…. I felt so much stronger. I also stopped going to doctors (no more to go to!), which takes a lot of energy as well. I wore ear plugs and giant sunglasses if I went out in public, because light/motion/certain sounds aggrivated my condition. I was in my early thirties and in great shape, so I have to imagine my brain/body was primed to deal with this and if I were old it could have taken even longer. But being dizzy for so long making my whole body flat out SICK, and I needed to be accommodating to it. I thought I was doomed, but about 5 months into it, I started noticing (for the first time!) I was a little more functional. A year into it, I was 95% percent better, which is how I am today (and thrilled, that 5% is nothing compared to how I bad I felt and thought I’d always feel). I read many accounts of people being dizzy for a year or two years, which sucks, but which also might give you some hope to wait it out a while and see. I think the medical knowledge is so low in this area, that the best you can do is listen to your body and your gut when deciding. Maybe you feel ready and eager for a surgery, whereas I felt hellbent on waiting an seeing. Whether you wait it out a while or go for a surgery now… best wishes in taking each day as it comes, and in (someday, don’t lose faith) getting stronger and better! And know that there are other people out there who understand what you are going through!

    Reply
  33. lena wesley

    Dear Sara,
    I wish you, most sincerely, health and no vertigo in your ear and body. I have struggled with some of the same issues you talk about, although not in the ear. My mother (who was born in 1900) believed that you could influence your body. She got cancer when she was about 60 years old, and considered herself a big failure because of it. I don’t want to go down that route, or have you blame yourself as she did. I just wish you success, success, in some form.

    Reply
  34. Christine

    Hi Sara Davidson, I don’t have any cures for dizziness, but at 65, realize how hormones control much of our body. I googled you this am as you were in a dream I had last night. I read your book many years ago and in the dream I was upset that I could not remember details of the book. I was attending a lecture in the dream and you were the speaker. In the dream , you have someone hand. Out two flyers . One is for me. I feel chosen. I leave the room , and upon return in find that that the flyer has disappeared from my books. I have chronic pain in my jaw, below two dental implants. Numerous dentists tell me all is fine, but it is not. I had cat scan, mri and too many x rays. Sometimes it is a slight heaviness type feeling. Other times true pain. I hope ypu dizziness ends. At this stage of my life, I miss being a part of the work force . I was a school counselor. Still trying to find my way. I am ordering December Project and will one re read some of your books!

    Reply
  35. Hallie

    Hi Sara,

    Sorry to hear about your dizziness. But don’t give up. Once I had strange flu like symptoms that lasted 1 1/2 years. Of course no one could diagnose it including the Mayo Clinic. Finally it gradually went away.

    I just finished reading all of your books. I’m a boomer who came of age in the 60’s.
    I read your books out of order. I started with “The December Project”, and ended with
    the book about the cowboy.

    “The December Project” was very good. I recently went to a sageing conference. It was sponsored by the organization that Reb Zalman started. Amazing stuff.

    You are an amazing writer. I sure wish that I could experience just once what you had with the cowboy.

    Thanks for writing such great books!

    Hallie

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  36. nancy hart

    I have what is called sudden sensory hearing loss in one ear , it was over night, dramatic, life chaining. I did not have balance for about 3 months but its been years now… and its true I have adjusted to: as one Dr. said fly with one side. Don’t give up, it takes a Long time… for the brain to manage/remap/learn new tricks to do all the work on one side.
    One thing I was advised and it works [ for me] is LESS salt a low salt diet.

    patience and love to you, Sara.

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