Vertigo - Is It Just That? Or a Stroke (TIA)? Or mCRC to the Brain?

Sundanceh
Sundanceh Member Posts: 4,392 Member
edited September 2011 in Colorectal Cancer #1
7-years ago when I first got cancer and got out of the hospital, I began to get vertigo. The first time was so intense and I had no idea what it was, that I was scared out of my mind and thought for sure I was going to die.

Many hearing tests, diagnostic tests, and MRI’s etc, the doctors thought it might be Meneire’s Disease, which is an inner ear condition that drastically affects your hearing, and knocks off your equilibrium so bad, that balance was almost non-existent. It attacks every other year or so it seems, taking more of my hearing and giving me those horrendous bouts of vertigo.

The condition will finally come to a resolution when I go deaf in the one ear – then, the attacks stop. Nice to know if I live through cancer, that I can look forward to that. But, at least I won’t be dizzy anymore, LOL:)

The last 6-8 weeks, I’ve had over 20 episodes of this madness. It’s very debilitating as you can imagine. Kim usually has to come get me at work and drive me home, because I just can’t drive or steady myself too well.

Well, today I hit a crescendo and had the worst attack I believe I ever had. I was barely at work 30 minutes and BANG! I was just reading text on my work pc and everything went gaga and sideways.

When it’s real bad, you sweat profusely and get nauseous and throw up. Today, all of that, but it was so bad I could not open my eyes and when I did, it looked like the Indy 500 with everything whizzing by.

My co-workers witnessed it, although I was sitting next to them being quiet and pretending nothing was wrong…but they’ve seen spells before but not this severe. I think one of the guys went to tell my manager, who came into the lab shortly thereafter and found me sweating, wobbly with my head over a trash can, because I could not physically stand up.

I could tell they were kind of scared and said WE are going to drive you home, let’s go now. I could not walk on my own or keep my balance. One of the guys had to prop me up and I was wobbling all over, even with help.

It was so embarrassing and such a helpless feeling. They took me home and I got into bed, this episode lasted 10 hours, but the longest one I’ve had went 28 hours of total bed rest. It used to happen every week in the old days, but this year it has been happening EVERY day and sometimes 2 and 3 times a day.

In my time on this board, I have never used the word SCARED. I’m a veteran fighter after all and I’ve been around the block on more than one occasion.

So, I won’t start now by telling you I’m scared. Rather, I’m “concerned and apprehensive” after today’s go round. One’s mind can begin to wander on what’s really going on.

Colorectal cancer’s path usually involved colon or rectum – to liver – to lung – to brain, possibly stopping off at the bone as a detour.

I’m on whistle stop #3 in the lung and the brain has always been a big concern for me, ever since my cancer went to the lung. I used to talk to Jennie about the “Crazy Colon Train” in reference to the stops I mention above.

In the chapter I’m about to start writing, I’m going to pose the question, “Is there anything that you are scared of?” In there, I’m going to reveal the one thing that really scares Craig, Big Billy, or Sundance.

I’ve watched 3 fine folks from this board perish with mCRC mets to the brain. I’ve talked extensively at length with my onc about this most sobering topic.

There is NO CURE for mCRC mets to the brain. It’s not really even treatable. Primary brain cancer has a better chance than our cancers would. Just too fast growing and not enough wiggle room in the cranium.

You know what bothers me the most? Not so much that I could die and would die as a result if this is what it is. That would suk, but at least my ride would be over.

No, what bothers me is that I know that I won’t be the same person that many of you have come to know. That the one thing I’ve got left in this world (writing) would be stripped away and I would be walking zombie unable to relay my thoughts to you or anyone else. My voice would be stilled, my thoughts only a memory.

Okay, so that’s what really scares me.

We’re getting a referral from my onc for an ENT at the hospital so we can see what is going on. I guess if any of you would like to cross your fingers, I’m down with that:)

And this is the reason why I’ve been pushing on my book so hard these past 3 ½ months….I’m all too aware how the game can change and how limited an opportunity may exist.

It’s important to me to finish my novel and try and get it published, especially if I were to perish. This would be my legacy, my life’s work….and the last thing I could leave my friends and mankind to say that I was here – and tried to make a difference.

I hope it is Meneire’s, because that would be bad, but I would be alive. I’ve always tried and portrayed Superman type strength, so that I could shine a ray of hope to everybody and because I believed in myself and thought I could overcome.

It would sadden me to die now, before I had a chance to try for this book dream. I would miss all of you terribly.

As a make-believe “doctor”, I feel like I can diagnose and know what this is…but a part of me is still not sure. I’ve made some mistakes before – and some pretty big ones…..just ask “Angel” about that one.

Well, I just needed someone to talk to this evening. I’ll try and put this out of my head, LOL:) and get on with the business of tracking this thing down and seeing if we can come up with an answer.

It’s hard living your life each day, wondering if the wheels are going to come right out underneath you. I’ve been getting these spells despite taking Dramamime daily.

If this is not cancer, and Meneire’s, it’s just one more thing besides cancer that I must fight to overcome or at least deal with. The only real solution has been to get in a bed, close your eyes, turn the ceiling fan on, and be still, and ride it out until it passes.

I guess let’s just hope that is what it is and not a met. Last year, I wrote my "Farewell Post" to you in my head a 1000 times on what the last words I would ever ever say to you again, but have not put them into words on a page. That’s a post we can save until the time really comes.

If it’s not cancer then it’s something else….THIS DAY was a sharp contrast to the day I spent at the track meeting legendary John Force. I have no idea why I got THAT DAY "off" from vertigo spells, but I was being "given one" that day and that's why it was so memorable.

Why is that whenever Craig tries to smile, this dam* world does its best to slap that smile off my face?

Love – Craig
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Comments

  • wolfen
    wolfen Member Posts: 1,324
    Oh, Craig
    My heart goes out to you and I will cross all fingers and toes in hope that this difficulty can be resolved in a very positive way. I hope so much the brain is fine and that maybe you are overworking by doing your job and writing the book in your spare time. The miracle "computer screen" being stared at all the time can sometimes do a number on some people.

    I so agree with you that every time some people get a "leg up", something else comes along to knock them back down. Please take care and let us know what is going on as soon as you can.

    Luv,

    Wolfen
  • lisa42
    lisa42 Member Posts: 3,625
    Hugs
    Hi Craig,

    I'm sorry to hear what a time you're having with the vertigo. One of my husband's cousins has Meineire's & I'm not sure what she did, but it has been under control lately.
    I will be praying for you, my friend. I can only imagine how upsetting and scary it must be. Since this is something you've experienced for a while, my guess is that it most likely is NOT mets to the brain, but something else going on. I wish I could do something for you, but all I can do is pray for you and let you know that and that I am thinking about you.

    Hugs and prayers,
    Lisa
  • taraHK
    taraHK Member Posts: 1,952
    So sorry
    So sorry to hear this, Craig. I have a colleague who has 'exceptional Meneire's disease' and I know how debilitating it can be. I hope your visit with the ENT goes well. I don't know how you -- or your docs -- would feel about this but I guess one option might be a brain scan. My oncologist recommended one a few years ago - i was asymptomatic but it was "just in case" (since I have metastatic disease). It was clear (well, I did have a brain there, thank god! but clear of any 'nasties'). Sometimes it is reassuring to RULE OUT something we are anxious about. Meanwhile, keep breathing in and out. And my favorite phrase I learned from this board: "feed the faith, starve the fear". We must try to believe in the best possible explanation/outcome until we receive any information otherwise. It's the only way.

    Love,
    Tara
  • son of hal
    son of hal Member Posts: 117
    You know what Bill Withers sang....
    Craig- I have experienced episodes in the past (not so severe) that also had me concerned for brain tumors so I recognize your fears. One thing I can tell you is doctors only guess at a cause until they've either done many tests or only a few tests then try one thing after another until something helps. I had one bout that left me with Ptosis (lid lag) in one eye and doctors could not pinpoint a cause so they determined it was likely a virus. Yea right, every couple months the same virus... Bull.. I believe now it was likely Paraneoplastic syndrome due to the presence of cancer in my body. When you get an episode, I understand your desire to "ride it out" but there are things you can do to help the doctors figure it out. Asside from getting to a specialist while you are afflicted with this there is little a doctor can do in an examination afterward that will help figure it out. On the other hand, you and your wife can do some tests to narrow the field of possibilities. I wont go into the details here but I will share an excellent link with you that may be of some assistance. This page has some of the best info on Vertigo I've found. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/ear_nose_and_throat_disorders/approach_to_the_patient_with_ear_problems/dizziness_and_vertigo.html?qt=dizziness&sc=&alt=sh
    So, while I know it's scary, you never know it could be stress, your blood pressure, medication you're on, Paraneoplastic syndrome, a "recurrent virus", or several other treatable problems. Maybe get a scan for piece of mind but do some detective work yourself if you can. Don't let them treat something they're not 100% sure of since it might make other things worse.
    Best of luck to you my friend, keep smilin, keep writing and keep optimistic. When you stumble there's always gonna be someone here to catch you and when you get dizzy you can always Lean on us...
    Take care, CJ
  • ron50
    ron50 Member Posts: 1,723 Member
    To get the same result ,and thought it was fun. I was just about going to get fitted with training wheels last year. I seemed to spend most of my time on the floor. I suffer from constant tinnitus and although they constantly put me thru hearing tests it shows nothing. I have been a mechanic all my life and I half hear and half feel vibration in machinery so I tend to show no problems with hearing. I found that If I take too much Omega three (fish oil) it makes my vertigo a lot worse . My standard treat ment is two anti-histamines a day. I had my worst attack last year .I put me in hospital for around twelve hours. Everytime I raised my head I threw up. It is like being seasick on dry land. If i was not able to get it under control I was quite prepared to end my life. You have my deepest sympathy. I hope you can find a control,Ron.
  • buckeye2
    buckeye2 Member Posts: 428
    Craig, I just wanted to let
    Craig, I just wanted to let you know I am sending positive thoughts your way for both an end to these episodes and where they are coming from so you have some peace of mind. Lisa
  • relaxoutdoors08
    relaxoutdoors08 Member Posts: 521 Member
    Praying for You
    Praying for You and thinking of you. You have a gift and that gift of writing needs to be here spreading the information and support for others.
    Prayers,
    NB
  • Buzzard
    Buzzard Member Posts: 3,043 Member

    Praying for You
    Praying for You and thinking of you. You have a gift and that gift of writing needs to be here spreading the information and support for others.
    Prayers,
    NB

    Craig.....We have a guy at work with the same exact symptoms
    He had a very rough time of balance to the point that it made him deathly ill and would fall over at the drop of a hat and what brought it on most of the time would be a simply "quick movement" of his head....They did find that the (bear with me for these will be redneck terms for lack of medical nomenclature expertise) that his equilibrium tube was clogged and not allowing his "balance fluid" to move as it needs to fluently enough and causing it to throw everything off severely.....He made an appointment with a surgeon in Memphis Tennessee and they went in behind his ear drilled a hole and "rotor rooted" out his "tube" and he is now fine, has started driving again...yes, State of Kentucky pulled his license until he was proven "repaired"......but he is doing fine as frog hair and all is well......my best to you buddy....buzz
  • laurettas
    laurettas Member Posts: 372
    Hang in there, Craig!
    They'll get it figured out. I too know several people with Meniere's and it can be really debilitating and frightening. One friend could not walk down a hall she was so disoriented. They were able to get it under control, however, with diet mostly and they are good now. Just keep on the docs until they figure out the source.
  • mukamom
    mukamom Member Posts: 402
    laurettas said:

    Hang in there, Craig!
    They'll get it figured out. I too know several people with Meniere's and it can be really debilitating and frightening. One friend could not walk down a hall she was so disoriented. They were able to get it under control, however, with diet mostly and they are good now. Just keep on the docs until they figure out the source.

    Craig
    While reading your post, I thought, "wow, this sounds like my husband"..though not as extreme as you.. We mentioned his balance and dizziness probs to the onc yesterday and he ordered an MRI of his brain. It's hard not to borrow trouble, but try not to.

    Am hoping you get some answers quick.

    ((Craig))

    Angela
  • Fight for my love
    Fight for my love Member Posts: 1,522
    Hi my buddy,I am so sorry to
    Hi my buddy,I am so sorry to hear you have been suffering so much from vertigo.I am pretty sure it sucks a lot.A secretary I knew when I was in graduate school had meneire's.She suffered a lot from that,I saw her once with pale sweating face.But after a while,she got that under control,at least several years ago when I left school,she was in great health.Another thing I want to mention to ease your mind is:(from my common sense),it can't be crc in your brain if it has been there for 7 years.I am not a doctor,I can't give you an accurate diagnosis,just a "diagnosis" from my common sense for you.:)

    My brother,I have been praying for you everyday,it hasn't stoped for one day since I knew you.Best luck to you,hope for the best for you.Take care.
  • LivinginNH
    LivinginNH Member Posts: 1,456
    Oh dear Craig, I'm so very

    Oh dear Craig, I'm so very sorry to hear that your vertigo has gotten that bad. But I can't imagine that it would be brain mets since you've had vertigo for seven years. It could be that you're simply spending too much time on the computer... Whatever the cause, I hope that the doctor can solve the problem and get you back on your feet.

    Big hugs are going to you (()), Take care, Cyn
  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,715 Member
    Wow
    That something I've never experienced but it sounds just awful to have to live with. I'm hoping that they can find out what is wrong with you and help you out. Maybe like Buzz said with that guy at his work to drill something and make it better. Hope you find out what is wrong soon and I'll keep my fingers crossed.

    Kim
  • Patteee
    Patteee Member Posts: 945
    Meneirs
    My bro-in-law had

    Meneirs

    My bro-in-law had Meneirs and is almost totally deaf. Hasn't had an attack in like 5 years- Once that nerve dies, then the problem is gone. His attacks were so horrible- my sister described them as so violent- he would projectile vomit in between moaning. All he could do was lay down on his side. She would give him suppositories to try and get the vomitting under control. I also had a professor in college come to class with nasty black bruises all over his face. He also had Meneirs, was walking down a flight of concrete stairs, had an attack and felt like his body was thrown down the stairs.
    I also suffer from vertigo issues, that seem to be better now. Mine is not Meneirs! You have my total sympathy Craig, everything I have understood about Meneirs is it is HORRIBLE
  • Sundanceh
    Sundanceh Member Posts: 4,392 Member
    Thank You!
    I really don't think it's leaked to my brain yet - though there are many of you who might argue that point, LOL:) NO laughing:)

    The spell I had yesterday was the most powerful one rivaled only by my first experience. In the years between, they have been pretty bad.

    What got me wondering was the FREQUENCY of these attacks. You're almost snake bit every morning when you drive away to work - wondering when it will strike and how you are going to get home or having to take Kim off her job if it falls on the wrong day and she's night shift. Otherwise, I ususally wait till after 5 and then she picks me up.

    And when I started I was not stage 4 and the cancer was rectal based - now, I'm a 4 and it's been in the lungs and my last tumor was right up against my spine, which is the highway to the brain.

    With this happening nearly every day and several times a day sometimes all throughout the day - well, you just sort of wonder, you know. Conditions are different.

    I've seen it strike here on the board quickly, quietly and deadly. None survived it, so I think caution is a good approach and it's time to revisit this topic and see if I can put it to bed, or at least get it back to where I can live with it once again.

    Still pending a reply from the referral. I'll have a talk, do the tests and ask for an MRI. I would feel better ruling this out. We did one years ago and found nothing, but at least not seeing a mass, would lead me back towards Meneire's.

    I'll shag this fly ball down and throw it back to home plate when I know something. Looks like next week at this point if I can get in then.

    It was just nice to talk with you. The post seems relevant and it's interesting to see I'm not the only one. It's always some kind of comfort when you know you're not the only one.

    It comes about every 2 years - stays awhile - knocks me down - and then splits. It's been 2 years since I've even had to think about it. Now, dizzy every day, it's all that I can think about.


    Buzz's example of his buddy sure seemed right on to me. Wonder if it could be something like that. One way or the other, it's a wake-up call to me and I need to pursue this and run it down with the same fire and intensity that I fight my cancer with. I thought there was nothing that could be done. I know there is NO cure, per say, but maybe something like that or something else would help me.

    And trying another doctor and getting a fresh opinion is always good, so we might yield results this time.


    Guess I'll put my "shovel" away - we can bury me another day, LOL:)

    -Craig
  • pepebcn
    pepebcn Member Posts: 6,331
    Sundanceh said:

    Thank You!
    I really don't think it's leaked to my brain yet - though there are many of you who might argue that point, LOL:) NO laughing:)

    The spell I had yesterday was the most powerful one rivaled only by my first experience. In the years between, they have been pretty bad.

    What got me wondering was the FREQUENCY of these attacks. You're almost snake bit every morning when you drive away to work - wondering when it will strike and how you are going to get home or having to take Kim off her job if it falls on the wrong day and she's night shift. Otherwise, I ususally wait till after 5 and then she picks me up.

    And when I started I was not stage 4 and the cancer was rectal based - now, I'm a 4 and it's been in the lungs and my last tumor was right up against my spine, which is the highway to the brain.

    With this happening nearly every day and several times a day sometimes all throughout the day - well, you just sort of wonder, you know. Conditions are different.

    I've seen it strike here on the board quickly, quietly and deadly. None survived it, so I think caution is a good approach and it's time to revisit this topic and see if I can put it to bed, or at least get it back to where I can live with it once again.

    Still pending a reply from the referral. I'll have a talk, do the tests and ask for an MRI. I would feel better ruling this out. We did one years ago and found nothing, but at least not seeing a mass, would lead me back towards Meneire's.

    I'll shag this fly ball down and throw it back to home plate when I know something. Looks like next week at this point if I can get in then.

    It was just nice to talk with you. The post seems relevant and it's interesting to see I'm not the only one. It's always some kind of comfort when you know you're not the only one.

    It comes about every 2 years - stays awhile - knocks me down - and then splits. It's been 2 years since I've even had to think about it. Now, dizzy every day, it's all that I can think about.


    Buzz's example of his buddy sure seemed right on to me. Wonder if it could be something like that. One way or the other, it's a wake-up call to me and I need to pursue this and run it down with the same fire and intensity that I fight my cancer with. I thought there was nothing that could be done. I know there is NO cure, per say, but maybe something like that or something else would help me.

    And trying another doctor and getting a fresh opinion is always good, so we might yield results this time.


    Guess I'll put my "shovel" away - we can bury me another day, LOL:)

    -Craig

    got also a coworker with those symptoms and it's vertigo menier
    I think your brain is still safe and sound ,hugs dear mate!
  • eibod
    eibod Member Posts: 160
    Sundanceh said:

    Thank You!
    I really don't think it's leaked to my brain yet - though there are many of you who might argue that point, LOL:) NO laughing:)

    The spell I had yesterday was the most powerful one rivaled only by my first experience. In the years between, they have been pretty bad.

    What got me wondering was the FREQUENCY of these attacks. You're almost snake bit every morning when you drive away to work - wondering when it will strike and how you are going to get home or having to take Kim off her job if it falls on the wrong day and she's night shift. Otherwise, I ususally wait till after 5 and then she picks me up.

    And when I started I was not stage 4 and the cancer was rectal based - now, I'm a 4 and it's been in the lungs and my last tumor was right up against my spine, which is the highway to the brain.

    With this happening nearly every day and several times a day sometimes all throughout the day - well, you just sort of wonder, you know. Conditions are different.

    I've seen it strike here on the board quickly, quietly and deadly. None survived it, so I think caution is a good approach and it's time to revisit this topic and see if I can put it to bed, or at least get it back to where I can live with it once again.

    Still pending a reply from the referral. I'll have a talk, do the tests and ask for an MRI. I would feel better ruling this out. We did one years ago and found nothing, but at least not seeing a mass, would lead me back towards Meneire's.

    I'll shag this fly ball down and throw it back to home plate when I know something. Looks like next week at this point if I can get in then.

    It was just nice to talk with you. The post seems relevant and it's interesting to see I'm not the only one. It's always some kind of comfort when you know you're not the only one.

    It comes about every 2 years - stays awhile - knocks me down - and then splits. It's been 2 years since I've even had to think about it. Now, dizzy every day, it's all that I can think about.


    Buzz's example of his buddy sure seemed right on to me. Wonder if it could be something like that. One way or the other, it's a wake-up call to me and I need to pursue this and run it down with the same fire and intensity that I fight my cancer with. I thought there was nothing that could be done. I know there is NO cure, per say, but maybe something like that or something else would help me.

    And trying another doctor and getting a fresh opinion is always good, so we might yield results this time.


    Guess I'll put my "shovel" away - we can bury me another day, LOL:)

    -Craig

    Craig, hope you get some
    Craig, hope you get some answers and some relief soon. Couldn't do without reading your
    posts. You always say the right things. Prayers are with you, Brenda
  • thingy45
    thingy45 Member Posts: 632
    eibod said:

    Craig, hope you get some
    Craig, hope you get some answers and some relief soon. Couldn't do without reading your
    posts. You always say the right things. Prayers are with you, Brenda

    Hi Craig,
    I have Vertigo for over 7 years. Way before I was diagnosed with col. cancer. \it is debilitating to say the least, you walk like you are drunk, without the pleasure of having the fun. It has to do with the inner ear something like sea sick ness etc, I am taking Serq 8 mg twice a day and that helps. It started up with me again because I was taking Melatonin as a sleep aid. That probably triggered it.
    I also had thoughts of mets in brain etc. Apparently it is heriditary, m y mom had the same and so does my daughter who also has MS and Trigiminia Neuralgia.
    We seem to have Vertigo all on the left side.
    Hang in there, it will go away.
    hugs, Marjan
  • Kathryn_in_MN
    Kathryn_in_MN Member Posts: 1,252
    Vertigo
    A good friend of mine started having more and more severe vertigo issues during her breast cancer treatments. It got really bad when she was doing radiation and had an infection. She was sent to the ENT and some other specialists. The troubles went on for several months without a true diagnosis. But now she rarely has spells. Once in a while it gets her, but most of the time she is fine. I hope whatever is causing this for you is similar. They think it is some nerve damage from one of the chemos, or an infection she had that may be the culprit.

    I hope you have less tough days and more better days coming soon.
  • jjaj133
    jjaj133 Member Posts: 867
    Craig, i am so sorry to hear
    Craig, i am so sorry to hear this. My daughter has episodes and i have had them. Though not near as bad as yours. Mine is triggered by too much computer work. looking back and forth from screen to whatever i am working on. My daughter's is triggered by stress.
    there is just no end to the things our bodies can come up with. Meanwhile, You just keep on smiling, we are all waiting to read your book. so smile when you think of us, all lined up for your first book signing.
    good luck my friend, sending prayers for a good outcome.
    Judy