We were recently contacted by Prince George resident Jackie Cassidy. She has been looking for assistance for her daughter, Chelsey, who lives in Edmonton. Chelsey lives with a form of vertigo that can drastically alter her life. The physio therapy she uses makes all the difference for her and her family. Unfortunately Chelsey has been unable to work due to her condition and has had troubles paying for services while on disability.

Jackie is a tremendous advocate for her daughter. After hearing Chelseys story we approved a 75% subsidy for her to continue to pursue massage and physio therapy in Edmonton. This is Chelseys story we will report on her recovery in the coming months.

I would like to share my life with you living
with Meniere’s disease and how it has affected my day to day life.

The symptoms that I experienced come on very
fast with no warning.  When I was 14 I started
going to the doctor because I was always dizzy and nauseous, within an hour of
feeling like this I felt distinctly dizzy, in fact my whole environment felt
like it was turning circles. I cannot walk in a straight line. It was always
diagnosed as the flu, or a viral infection, or my tonsils, or sinus colds.
After removing my tonsils in Dec 2013, and being on a steady dose of daily
antibiotics and still getting sick every 2 to 3 weeks, my family doctor finally
referred me to an ENT Specialist.

Now, when my symptoms start within hours I feel
beyond dizzy, the room spins and I have to use every once of concentration to
try to keep it still. I can’t walk without hanging onto the walls and
furniture, and I get so nauseated and unable to keep even water down. I get an
unbelievable headache, including a roaring sound in my head, my eyes tear up,
my throat feels tight and my sinus drain.

These symptoms persist virtually non-stop for 3
to 5 days. I am unable to do anything other than lie as still as I can or crawl
to the bathroom to be sick.  Usually by
day 4 or 5 I am able, with assistance to put some clothes on and go to the
walk-in clinic or see my family doctor or my specialist.  I am not able to walk without assistance and unable
to bear daylight.

Having to go through this is exhausting, and
for up to a week afterwards I still feel mild nausea. During this time I am
afraid to drive, unable to move about normally, and am barely able to eat. It
usually takes a couple weeks for my body to feel back to normal, before another
episode happens again.

Before I got diagnosed I had a full time job
that I loved. I missed a lot of time because I was always sick, and it would
happen suddenly without warning.  I was
afraid to go to work, when I was able to go to work. I didn’t know if I would
have another attack, or how bad it would be. A couple time I got sick at work,
and had to have coworkers drive me back home on work hours.When you’re
experiencing extreme vertigo, its impossible to run to the bathroom to be sick
because you can’t even stand. The stress you face knowing that your sick and
there is nothing you can do and it happens so regularly it adds so much stress
wondering if you will have a job after you are better or if you will be fired.
The mental stress of having to go to work with another doctor note and wondering
how much trouble you are going to be in…and there is nothing you can do.

Meniere’s is a lifetime condition with no cure.
I have been on so many different medications trying to control this disease,
but nothing worked. Because of the severe nature of the vertigo associated with
Meniere’s disease, it can be hazardous for me to be in a work environment and I
am unable to perform any physical labor. Even walking becomes a function nearly
impossible, and my sense of balance gets thrown off making falling a high risk.
The vertigo causes dizziness and confusion, conditions that are not ideal for
the need to think and act quickly. I was born Deaf, that is already challenging
for me in the work force with one disability, but this disease is overwhelming
and over powering physically and mentally.

Eventually this disease leads to a condition
called dropsees. During the last year of having this disease, before I started
my treatment,  I would fall, without
warning, not stumbling or tripping over anything, but I would just drop with no
control over it or even knowing it was happening. This was especially scary
because twice it happened when I was carrying my new born son. Thankfully he
was uninjured and we were ok. But it is the scariest feeling in the world after
it happens knowing you had no warning and no control over what happens.

My ENT Specialist told me I was no longer fit
to work, and I went on EI Sick leave to try to get control over this disease.
When that ran out and I still was not able to return to work I applied
disability benefits from AISH (Alberta Income for the Severely Handicapped).

The last resort for treatment was to try Vascular
Physio Therapy. And after a few treatments, my symptoms improved, and I wasn’t
getting sick as often. I was able to enjoy my life and not be stressed about
worrying if I would have another episode so frequently, I got to relax a
little, enjoy life. Another part of my treatment recommended by my Physiotherapist
is Massage Therapy to try to loosen the muscles in my neck. This has also
contributed to my well being.

AISH only covers 8 visits per year for the
Vascular Physio Therapy, and they do not cover any of my Massage Therapy. To
keep the symptoms of this disease under control I need to have to have Vascular
Physio Therapy treatment every two weeks, and Massage Therapy every 2 to3 weeks.
With the treatments I can go 5 to 6 weeks with having an episode, and when I do
get sick it only last for a couple days and not a week. And I recover quicker
and feel better sooner.

My mother met a lady Samantha, who lives close
by in her neighborhood, and was speaking to her about how she has raised money for
my treatments in the past through social media companies, but funds were mostly
donated by close friends and family and are not a residual source of funding
for my treatments to continue.  Samantha,
who happens to be the representative for the Neurological Wellness Association in
Prince George told my mother about the NWA and the great work they do and gave
her a card with the contact information. Within 2 days of applying for funding
for my treatment we received a call from NWA and the funding was approved for
my treatments!!! It all happened so fast!!! What a relief it is to know I can
continue my treatments, a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and a
lot of stress in my life is relieved to have my subsidy approved immediately. I
am now 24 years old and have 2 sons and this will dramatically affect the
quality of life for me and my family. Thank you so much!!!! I am so grateful of
this amazing association and the help I am about to receive!!


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