Written by: Deena Gage
I live just outside the KC metro with my husband and five-year-old son and commute to Overland Park for work. Our lives were turned upside down in 2012 when my husband started having dizziness symptoms - so badly, he had to stop working.
After seeing five or so different doctors in the KC area, I begged our family physician to refer us to the Mayo Clinic as we just weren't getting anywhere. He did and my husband was accepted as a patient within a month!
We headed to Rochester Minnesota for his first appointment on February 1, 2013 along with our little guy who just turned two and my loving father who came along for the ride to help me with our son during doctor appointments. One appointment led to several more over the next week and an additional trip that March to complete the testing they couldn't schedule while we were there.
He was diagnosed with Chronic Subjective Dizziness, which most doctors haven't heard of when you tell them the diagnosis. We got on a treatment plan and although we finally knew what it was, every patient responds to treatment differently and so it has been a very slow process.
Due to the stress at home of caring for my husband, caring for a toddler, working full time, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and everything in between, I had to take a step back at work. I had to eliminate some stress as we were also dealing with my son and his chronic illnesses that took a very long time to figure out.
It was finally determined at the age of two-and-a-half, he needed to have his tonsils and adenoids removed at Children's Mercy. Our ENT did pre-op blood work due to his age and then found out he had a bleeding disorder. The week before his surgery, we were in the Children's Hematology/Oncology clinic getting vial after of vial of blood taken from his little arms and extensive testing. He was diagnosed with vonWillebrand's disease - a bleeding disorder caused by low levels of clotting protein in the blood.
What more could I handle? I was one person trying to provide for my family and we were struggling financially. However, in my "spare" time (ha) I started a craft business called "Blessed Momma Designs by Deena" because although our lives were a little chaotic, I still felt very blessed....and I needed more money!
So I began my little hobby creating craft décor for people's homes which then turned into reclaimed wood furniture that my husband was able to help me with WHEN he could. He would work on it 20 minutes here, 10 minutes there, whatever he could handle. It helped him feel like he was helping contribute to the family as this has been very difficult on him as well, not being able to provide for us.
Over these past three years, we have learned how to live again, just in a different way. We know the things we have to avoid so my husband can function. His dizziness is triggered by too much vestibular stimulation as well as movement. Example - we can't attend movies at the theater because of the huge screen and everything moving so fast in front of him. We also can't attend concerts or any place that has large crowds, including restaurants.
Even family events he sometimes shies away from because I have a HUGE extended family and when we all get together for Thanksgiving or Christmas, there's the potential of over 60 people being in one house - too many people walking around for him.
My craft business has grown, I have received a promotion at work - so super busy. But, our faith in God has gotten us through the hand He has dealt us and we have learned to be thankful. I realize how blessed I am - WE are. I still have my meltdowns from time to time! But, we women are STRONG!
I love what sheKC stands for and I wanted to share my story to encourage others going through a rough time. All of us live in a crazy world!