Word of the Week: Balance

This week is balance awareness week. Vestibular disorders affect nearly 1 in 5 Americans, but most people don’t even know what “vestibular” means. Heck, this post is filled with squiggly red lines because spell-check doesn’t even recognize it as a real word. The vestibular system is a complex system in the inner ear and brain that controls our balance. Besides a problem in the vestibular system, vision problems (such as convergence deficiency) or neuropathy (affects the sense of touch) can also affect a person’s balance.

I am the lucky winner of having both a Vestibular Schwannoma and Convergence Deficiency (my eyes don’t work well together). My Vestibular Schwannoma is a benign tumor on the vestibular nerve that runs from the ear to the brain. Although these tumors are benign, that are not harmless. Space inside your head is precious, tumors growing there can compress nerves and cause your body to function poorly. My tumor is tiny. Right now my biggest issue is balance, which contributes to fatigue from working harder to sit or stand up straight, and pain from wonky postures and walking into walls or other stationary objects. Vestibular Schwannomas also compress the auditory nerve. Because of this they are often referred to as Acoustic Neuromas. For me this causes occasional tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and I get overwhelmed from too much noise easily. Thankfully my hearing remains within normal ranges, as often hearing loss is one of the first symptoms of this type of tumor. When these tumors grow larger they frequently compress the facial nerve as well causing weakness or loss of control on one side of the face.

Working to maintain and strengthen my physical balance is very important to me. But since my symptoms affect my energy level, which in turn affects the severity of my symptoms, which both affect my ability to parent, keeping everything else in my life in balance is also very important. Its all related.

Even though most of the people reading this will not have issues with their physical balance, I’m guessing all of you have various aspects of your life that you want to keep in balance. I hope these quotes can help inspire you to do that.

To learn more about Balance Awareness Week and Vestibular Disorders visit VeDA

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