For the past two months, I've been experiencing occasional “dizzy spells.” At first it just felt like I lost my footing (normal in my everyday life. Soon, it became brief feelings of the room spinning or like I was going to faint where I needed to grab onto something to get my balance. This was a little scarier considering more often than not when at home I'm carrying Riley around. I went to see my physician and he ran a series of tests to try to determine a cause including blood work, an EKG, a vision test and urine sample. Nothing came up abormal, but he suggested I see a neurologist. I said I would consider it for a number of reasons. Firstly, doctor's appointments take a long time. From waiting who knows how long to be seen to getting through the nurse's eight billion questions until you get to see the doctor and he says a total of two sentences before leaving again, it can be hours. Secondly, when I'm not working, I like to spend my time with my daughter, both because I love her and genuinely want to be with her and also because my in-laws, especially her Peepop, watch her for the 30+ hours when I'm at work and I hate asking them to watch her additional time (although they are always more than happy to).
Finally, I had a bout of dizziness so bad I not only called to make an appointment with the neurologist, I hounded them until I was seen that week. I was at work and we had just finished cleaning the floors and the counter between the two espresso machines where the syrups are kept. I was making the world's most disgusting looking drink (an iced caramel macchiato with raspberry syrup, ew) when the dizziness hit and I dropped the drink, half on the counter and half on the floor. Luckily it was a tall and we only had to clean up 12 oz of mess. This dizzy spell felt like I was on one of the rides at the fair that spin you super fast and pin you against the wall. I had to go sit in the back for a few minutes with my head between my knees and the feeling didn't completely subside for hours. I was so scared after that incident; I was sure something was really wrong.
A few days later, I got in to see the neurologist in Charlotte and arrived to my appointment on time and was taken in right away (two rarities!). The doctor was great, he was super nice and funny and made me feel at ease, something I really appreciate in a doctor. For about 20 minutes or so he put me through an exam where my blood pressure was taken while in various positions, I walked across the room, and my vision, weakness and reflexes were tested. After the whole thing, I thought he was going to send me for an MRI or another test (which I probably could have recited after stalking the medical center's website), but he didn't. He said he thought he knew what was wrong with me, and although he could send me for an MRI, he didn't think it was necessary, plus it costs about $1,500.00. Thanks for the heads up, Doc. I've never had a doctor tell me the cost of a service before ordering it, which, again, I appreciated.
He said the dizzy spells and accompanying pressure headaches were a combination of hormones from a new birth control I had recently started, migraines and stress. My prescription included a list of ways to reduce the stress in my life (of which he pointed out I had tons of) and to stop the birth control.
I've been trying to follow his directions, but the list included some items that seem near impossible. First up: Spend one hour a day doing something you enjoy just for yourself, aka “Me time.” Yeah, okay. Me time doesn't exist with a 5-month old and a husband in the police academy. I'm just lucky to be living with my in-laws and have cooking and cleaning taken care of. If it were up to me, we probably wouldn't eat. Also on the list were taking a bath (I tried this the other day…it felt awkward and my husband laughed at me), yoga (expensive), massage (also expensive), and exercise (bleh). Items I actually feel I can follow include listening to music, eating well, and deep breathing. Most laughable on the list was to get a good night's sleep. Riley is an excellent sleeper, but I still wake up everytime she cries and more often than not I sneak into her room to put her pacifier back in her mouth (yes, I know I'm an enabler and yes, I know I'm only making my life more difficult in the long run, but 2am Lindsay doesn't remember that!). She also usually wakes up to eat around 5:30/6am before going back to sleep until 8/9am.
Either way, I'm doing my best to keep the stress to a minimum and I'm trying to incorporate as many of the suggestiong on his list as possible. So far, so good. There have been no dizzy spells although I have still had headaches at some point every day. I honestly never realized it wasn't normal to get headaches all the time. I guess it was so common for me, I just assumed most people got headaches throughout the day. Apparently, that is not the case. Or it's not supposed to be at least. The neurologist did suggest a couple of vitamins/supplements to take that have shown to help with migraines, but I'm not sure if I'm able to take them while breastfeeding. From some quick online research, there isn't enough conclusive evidence to point either way which to me means don't take it just in case. I can call my doctor, which I've been meaning to do, but I don't think he will have a better answer. The only other option I can think of is the lactation consultants at the hospital where I delivered. Hopefully this is something they stay on top of, but it's always a tricky subject without enough research to back it up.
At the end of the day, I am so lucky to be in the position I'm in, and I couldn't be happier with where my family is at right now. For the first time in over a year I'm working one job instead of two, I have a wonderful husband who is doing everything he can to secure a job he loves and that will support our family, and have you seen my little girl? Add to that all the support I get from my family, both live-in and long distance, and friends and you can see that I have it pretty good. That's the kind of thing I need to keep in mind when things get overwhelming. It's a surefire way to bring me back to Earth and back to happiness where I belong.
Jeez, I can be corny sometimes.