Friday, October 12, 2007

Update On My Meniere's

Bad News! and Good News!!!

Yesterday morning Mike and I started our day at the dentist. As usual, I didn't need anything except the cleaning I was there for. We took both cars because I had to rush off to the ear doctor while Mike had his appointment.

I started with the audiologist. She thought it was my first visit and intended to give me the electronystagmogram (ENG) where they fill your ears with warm and cold water or air, to check the balance canals to see if the ears are working properly.

This test was done a few years ago and it was awful. I got vertigo and had to drive myself home. I didn't want to have to go through it again, and I told Mike that I was going to tell her I didn't want the test. He wanted me to do whatever I was supposed to do, and I figured that she would want another one, so I was sure I wasn't going to win.

But when I told her that I'd already had the test and didn't want it again, she immediately agreed that I didn't have to have another one. She asked if I had been positively diagnosed and I told her yes, nine years ago.

She did the hearing test and the bad news is that my worst fears were realized. Meniere's has now gone into my right ear, and it is as bad as my left. It's still considered to be the better ear though, because my left ear hears 80 below, (the normal line is at 20 below). My old charts show the line starting at 80 and then it goes up to a higher number and comes back down to 80 again. Like a V. Most people lose their high tones but meniere's patients lose the low tones.

My right ear was at 40 below and is now at 85 below, meaning the low tones are worse than the left ear. But it has the V so it goes up higher, and comes back down again, which means I hear the high tones a little better in my right ear.

Now for the Good News!

The doctor prescribed prednisone (which I know isn't necessary a good thing), but he says that some people respond to prednisone which can actually totally reverse meniere's, and restore the hearing loss. That would be wonderful! I always felt this was possible because even though I was told that the nerve was damaged and was dead, so to speak, I questioned it because my hearing can fluctuate up and down from day to day.

He also gave me a pamphlet showing which foods are the highest in salt. I thought I was eating a salt-free diet. Wrong! There is so much salt in foods that we don't even think of. Celery is a high sodium food. I examined all the food in my pantry and fridge and where I thought I had been eating a salt-free diet, I was actually taking in a lot of salt.

I got on the web and found low-sodium recipes for the condiments I like to eat. I love ketchup and unfortunately, I didn't find one low sodium ketchup. I really don't want to make my own. I might though, you never know. I did bottle my own ketchup in the 60's when I was raising my children. It didn't taste as good as the bottled kind so I only tried it once. But I might like it better now, especially if that's the only kind I can eat.

I found a great recipe for low sodium tartar sauce which I love to eat on my salmon, and I found a home made low sodium recipe for mayonnaise. I've had a home made mayonnaise recipe since the sixties but I wanted to compare the one I have to the one on the web.

It's very easy to make. But the bad thing is that it will only last in the refrigerator for a day or two. I don't eat very much mayo and that won't work. I thought I would try to divide the ingredients into 4ths. and see how that works.

In the meantime I bought the lowest sodium mayo I could find. It is Hellman's to you in the east and Best Foods for us in the west. It has always been my favorite anyway. I've eaten Miracle Whip for years because I love that too, and it is one of the highest in sodium. So that's off my diet forever. Being deaf is just not worth it.

I looked at every tuna fish can in the store and only found one that I should be eating. It is Chicken of the Sea and is marked 50% lower in sodium. Tuna is one of the foods I've been eating that was high in sodium and I didn't realize it. I only like albacore and I don't know how I'll like this new tuna. But I'll give it my best shot.

Anyway, bottom line: I believe with the combination of the prednisone and my new low salt diet,( 2000 milligrams a day), I am going to have my hearing back, and hopefully get rid of this terrible noise in my head. The noise is worse when my ears are clearing, and right now I have a freight train running through my head.