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Old 10-31-2009, 02:21 PM   #1
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Julius2009 HB User
Help: brain fog, dizziness, ear pressure, lethargy... for a decade!

Hi everyone,

I just joined the board after a Google search led me to these forums.

I've been chasing my tail for over 10 years about a series of symptoms that started in 1997 soon after I moved to the North East (Boston, New York). Before that time, I've lived in California, Arizona, and some countries in southern Europe. As I mentioned, I never experienced this constellation of symptoms before I moved to the North East.

They started on-and-off in 1997, and then they stayed for good, and happen every single day. Here's the list:
  • Severe brain fog, lethargy, feeling like my brain is in molasses. I never pursued my doctorate because this affliction makes me feel like an imbecile, unable to mentally function as I used to.
    Also, no diabetes.
  • Sleep disorders: never get a good night of sleep. Always wake up exhausted, beat up.
  • Shortness of breath and palpitations upon waking up.
  • Frequent headaches, intense and debilitating.
  • Pressure behind the eyes and inside the ears (like I'm under water)
  • Visual disturbances: floaters (like TV noise), blinking lights, sensitivity to light.
  • Sinus congestion, but the nose is dry.
  • Creaking and popping noises in the inner ear. Very noticeable upon chewing, yawning, swallowing. Tinnitus at night.
  • Dizziness and nausea.
  • Extremely dry skin and scalp. The scalp flakes horribly, and it's quite embarrassing. Not a single product helps.

Since these symptoms started, they never went away. I met with different doctors over the years, which studied my case from different angles and directions, but never got anywhere. On occasion they found some minor indication of something, but never conclusive.

Among the battery of tests requested by doctors in the last decade, here's some from my recollection:
  • Internal medicine: can't find anything conclusive. No diabetes either.
  • Neurology: can't find anything conclusive. Was prescribed various types of antidepressants, which made no difference.
  • Sleep studies: mild apnea, small enough to warrant these symptoms. Used a c-pap machine with no positive results.
  • Infectious diseases: all negative. One doctor thought of Lyme disease, but all tests came out negative (plus I don't have any joint problems). Since I used to be very active outdoors, another doctor gave me the Lyme vaccine, but it didn't make a difference.
  • Sinus problems: ORL specialist noticed inflamed sinus and turbinates. Suggested this could be the culprit for my problems. Four years ago I underwent surgery to widen the nasal passage. The result: negative. It made no difference.
  • Allergies: Not much luck. Allergy tests show I have mild reactions to pet dander, and higher reaction to dust and mold. Doctors prescribed me every allergy medication under the sun, with no positive results. The nasal sprays (Nasonex, Mucinex, etc) actually made me more congested (bad reaction to those). One allergy doctor gave me injections for 6 months to immunize me against dust and mold. No results.

I started to think this was my fate. Then, in the last couple of years discovered a very interesting and dramatic fact: when I travel to drier or higher regions, these symptoms go away. Allow me to explain:

In the last three years I had the chance to travel a lot because of work, and discovered that, when I was on assignment for a week or more to places like California, Arizona, Texas, Spain or Italy, the vast majority of these awful symptoms slowly go away. Within a few days, the mental clarity comes back, I sleep like a baby, sinuses clear, I can focus on tasks without the dreaded lethargy, skin stops scaling off.

Then, within days of coming back to New York, all of these symptoms come back. I've been able to measure it a 2-3 days. Within that time, the constellation of symptoms come back to take claim of my body.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't know what else to do. I would really, really appreciate it if someone could point me in the right direction. There are a few things I have not yet researched:
  • Inner ear disorders, infections, or Mennieres disease.
  • Exposure to toxins or neurotoxins?
  • Mineral poisoning?
  • Other allergies that doctors are missing?
  • The opposite of "altitude sickness", known as "sea level sickness"?
  • Thyroid problems?

I'm puzzled, tired, and depressed over this situation. I see my life wasting away, unable to enjoy life because I'm too ill and spaced out. I live in terror of losing my job and not being able to have a successful career because I'm too lethargic and brain-fogged to move ahead. I don't know what to do.
  • Can anyone point me to a good doctor in NYC that would go the extra mile to get to the bottom of this? Any good doctors specialized in difficult diagnoses?

  • I've researched that some of these problems could be caused by inner ear problems. Any specialist or neurotologist in NYC that could look into why I'm so sick all the time?

I'm desperate. Any help would be much appreciated.

Last edited by Julius2009; 10-31-2009 at 03:04 PM.

 
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Old 11-18-2009, 05:22 PM   #2
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Caustic HB User
Re: Help: brain fog, dizziness, ear pressure, lethargy... for a decade!

merged with other.

Last edited by Caustic; 11-18-2009 at 05:27 PM.

 
Old 11-20-2009, 03:44 PM   #3
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LindaPinc HB User
Re: Help: brain fog, dizziness, ear pressure, lethargy... for a decade!

Dr. Frank Petito with Weill Cornell NYC is your man.
I suggest you google him. He is an outstanding neurologist and worth his weight in gold.

Dr. Petito is a sleuth and a brilliant diagnostician. Although he's not an oto-neurologist, he will direct you to one if need be.


Good luck.

 
Old 12-01-2009, 02:35 AM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Omaha NE USA
Posts: 52
Dizzygal HB User
Re: Help: brain fog, dizziness, ear pressure, lethargy... for a decade!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julius2009 View Post
Hi everyone,

I just joined the board after a Google search led me to these forums.

I've been chasing my tail for over 10 years about a series of symptoms that started in 1997 soon after I moved to the North East (Boston, New York). Before that time, I've lived in California, Arizona, and some countries in southern Europe. As I mentioned, I never experienced this constellation of symptoms before I moved to the North East.

They started on-and-off in 1997, and then they stayed for good, and happen every single day. Here's the list:
  • Severe brain fog, lethargy, feeling like my brain is in molasses. I never pursued my doctorate because this affliction makes me feel like an imbecile, unable to mentally function as I used to.
    Also, no diabetes.
  • Sleep disorders: never get a good night of sleep. Always wake up exhausted, beat up.
  • Shortness of breath and palpitations upon waking up.
  • Frequent headaches, intense and debilitating.
  • Pressure behind the eyes and inside the ears (like I'm under water)
  • Visual disturbances: floaters (like TV noise), blinking lights, sensitivity to light.
  • Sinus congestion, but the nose is dry.
  • Creaking and popping noises in the inner ear. Very noticeable upon chewing, yawning, swallowing. Tinnitus at night.
  • Dizziness and nausea.
  • Extremely dry skin and scalp. The scalp flakes horribly, and it's quite embarrassing. Not a single product helps.

Since these symptoms started, they never went away. I met with different doctors over the years, which studied my case from different angles and directions, but never got anywhere. On occasion they found some minor indication of something, but never conclusive.

Among the battery of tests requested by doctors in the last decade, here's some from my recollection:
  • Internal medicine: can't find anything conclusive. No diabetes either.
  • Neurology: can't find anything conclusive. Was prescribed various types of antidepressants, which made no difference.
  • Sleep studies: mild apnea, small enough to warrant these symptoms. Used a c-pap machine with no positive results.
  • Infectious diseases: all negative. One doctor thought of Lyme disease, but all tests came out negative (plus I don't have any joint problems). Since I used to be very active outdoors, another doctor gave me the Lyme vaccine, but it didn't make a difference.
  • Sinus problems: ORL specialist noticed inflamed sinus and turbinates. Suggested this could be the culprit for my problems. Four years ago I underwent surgery to widen the nasal passage. The result: negative. It made no difference.
  • Allergies: Not much luck. Allergy tests show I have mild reactions to pet dander, and higher reaction to dust and mold. Doctors prescribed me every allergy medication under the sun, with no positive results. The nasal sprays (Nasonex, Mucinex, etc) actually made me more congested (bad reaction to those). One allergy doctor gave me injections for 6 months to immunize me against dust and mold. No results.

I started to think this was my fate. Then, in the last couple of years discovered a very interesting and dramatic fact: when I travel to drier or higher regions, these symptoms go away. Allow me to explain:

In the last three years I had the chance to travel a lot because of work, and discovered that, when I was on assignment for a week or more to places like California, Arizona, Texas, Spain or Italy, the vast majority of these awful symptoms slowly go away. Within a few days, the mental clarity comes back, I sleep like a baby, sinuses clear, I can focus on tasks without the dreaded lethargy, skin stops scaling off.

Then, within days of coming back to New York, all of these symptoms come back. I've been able to measure it a 2-3 days. Within that time, the constellation of symptoms come back to take claim of my body.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't know what else to do. I would really, really appreciate it if someone could point me in the right direction. There are a few things I have not yet researched:
  • Inner ear disorders, infections, or Mennieres disease.
  • Exposure to toxins or neurotoxins?
  • Mineral poisoning?
  • Other allergies that doctors are missing?
  • The opposite of "altitude sickness", known as "sea level sickness"?
  • Thyroid problems?

I'm puzzled, tired, and depressed over this situation. I see my life wasting away, unable to enjoy life because I'm too ill and spaced out. I live in terror of losing my job and not being able to have a successful career because I'm too lethargic and brain-fogged to move ahead. I don't know what to do.
  • Can anyone point me to a good doctor in NYC that would go the extra mile to get to the bottom of this? Any good doctors specialized in difficult diagnoses?

  • I've researched that some of these problems could be caused by inner ear problems. Any specialist or neurotologist in NYC that could look into why I'm so sick all the time?

I'm desperate. Any help would be much appreciated.

 
Old 12-01-2009, 02:40 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Omaha NE USA
Posts: 52
Dizzygal HB User
Re: Help: brain fog, dizziness, ear pressure, lethargy... for a decade!

I think a neurotologist would be your best bet and think I have seen in previous posts NYU mentioned as having a good program. Calling hospitals and asking if they have a balance program might get you to the right place. Sounds like allergies, migraines and maybe vestibular disfunction. I have a lot of the same symptoms and when I found a neurotologist he knew exactly what what I was talking about. Good luck

 
Old 12-06-2009, 08:59 PM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1
plrsn HB User
Re: Help: brain fog, dizziness, ear pressure, lethargy... for a decade!

A man I know who is about 45, with very siiar symptoms was just diagnosed with a benign Pituitary Tumor. He is taking medicine to shrink the tumor.

 
Old 12-07-2009, 12:46 AM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Omaha NE USA
Posts: 52
Dizzygal HB User
Re: Help: brain fog, dizziness, ear pressure, lethargy... for a decade!

Migraines could be the cause of all symptoms except the dry skin and scalp.Did they rule out migraines?

 
Old 12-31-2009, 01:44 AM   #8
Junior Member
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: New York
Posts: 31
Julius2009 HB User
Re: Help: brain fog, dizziness, ear pressure, lethargy... for a decade!

I have just been diagnosed by a neurotologist at NYEE with a vestibular imbalance problem, apparently over 20% imbalance on the right side. I think this explains a thing or two.

Now what?

Last edited by Julius2009; 12-31-2009 at 01:45 AM.

 
Old 01-15-2012, 05:29 AM   #9
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Lafayette, La USA
Posts: 1
dgros412 HB User
Re: Help: brain fog, dizziness, ear pressure, lethargy... for a decade!

I have every symptom but the lack of sleep or ability to (no deprivation of sleep), no shortness of breath or palpitations.

Diagnosed with eustachian tube malfunction as a child, but never mentioned later. Also diagnosed as an educated guess, but no actual test revealing of labryntitis (inflamation of the labrynth/inner ear), and no sugeestion as to why repeat episodes.

Otherwise, good immune system, never colds, flus, or other viruses or bacterial infections.

Because of the recurrence of symptoms and no infections, it leads me to believe related to deformed structure and wrong flow of sinuses, with the exception barometric pressure seems to affect the pressure in my ears and triggers symptoms sometimes (cloud cover ...).

 
Old 06-27-2012, 10:09 AM   #10
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Location: Northeast
Posts: 1
007007 HB User
Re: Help: brain fog, dizziness, ear pressure, lethargy... for a decade!

Julius2009 where are you? Just found your posting and thread and I read all of your posts and have suffered from many of the same symptoms for practically my whole life. Hope that because you haven't posted in a while that you have found the cause of your problems and are living a great life! But if not, maybe we can just keep at it until you figure out what is going on. While I am not "cured" I have some suggestions. Also, some of things you have been through helped me.

You have many symptoms and it's complicated. Be patient. Here are some thoughts and things to try. Also, remember that you may not have one condition that accounts for ALL the symptoms. One problem can cause another or there may be a symptom that results.

1. SLEEP. Lack of sleep can really cause many undesirable symptoms including the memory problems you are experiencing. Have you ever tried a sleep aid to see how you feel after a good night's sleep? I have taken a tranquilizer (Xanax .5mg) for 2-3 nights in a row (more time than that and you get into all kinds of drug related problems so I don't suggest long term use). (You can use other sleep aids -- but you need to find one that definitively works to test this out. So if you have to, try different ones until you find the one that gives you a solid sleep). The idea is to just try to get one or two solid night's sleep and see how you feel. I found that when I sleep really well I almost feel completely normal. There are a whole bunch of things related to not sleeping well, but that's a separate issue. What you want to do is to simply see how lack of sleep is affecting your condition by getting so good sleep.

2. DEPRESSION. Is is any wonder that someone with all your symptoms wouldn't be depressed? I know the doctors love to use this as a catchall diagnosis, but you can't throw it out entirely. Also, lack of sleep can cause depression directly. Depression is an insidious condition so don't just toss that diagnosis out. It can cause many if not all of the physiological conditions you have. Depression is about brain chemistry, not just feeling sad. If the sleep test works, chances are any depression you have might go away with good chronic sleep. But until then, consider taking an over-the-counter 'mood enhancer' that works as well as many anti-depressants (there have been many studies and books written on it). The product is SAM-E and has been used for many many years all over the world without any toxic issues or major side effects. You can read as much as you want online about it. I suggest starting with 400mg at night before bed. Like any anti-depressant, it takes time to kick in. Stick with it for 2 months and see how you feel. It won't hurt. You should feel relief in less than 3 weeks. You can also increase the dose as needed up to 1600mg per day (studies show this is max safe dose), but start with 400mg. This is important -- use only one brand Nature Made. Independent studies show that potency and amount vary with brands and this is the best. Available at any drugstore, Costco or online.

3. TESTOSTERONE. Did you get your low testosterone back to normal? Did that solve any issues?

4. B12. Your vitamin D didn't look that low but that's just half, you also need good B12. You should also get your B12 checked if you haven't already. Are you a vegetarian? If you are or don't eat red meat, your B12 level could be low. B12 is critical for proper brain functioning helping to nourish brain nerves. Without B12 you would be forgetful and have memory issues. Enough B12 is stored in our bodies to last about a year. After that if you do not replenish you will get a lot of symptoms. B12 is non-toxic and your body will simply eliminate any excess. I take one almost daily from Jarrow Formulations called Methyl B-12 sublingual 1000mcg. They also have 5000 mcg which you should take if you find out you are low or if you are a vegetarian. You take one lozenge under the tongue and let it dissolve. I have done research -- this form of B12 is more bio-absorbable than others. I have done my own testing and while my D was low, my B12 was at a good level due to my supplementation so I know this product works.

5. COCONUT OIL. I have found some anecdotal research that suggests that some people's brains do not process the normal food for the brain, glucose. It is thought that ketones can also provide the energy the brain needs if the glucose mechanism is disrupted. Coconut oil has ketones which may help the brain. Only purchase extra-virgin coconut oil, raw and unprocessed. Take 1-2 tablespoons twice a day and see if this clears your head. See how you feel in a week or two. While I don't think this will make a big difference to you, it won't hurt you to try it. Since you have a complex condition, it makes sense to keep ruling things out.

6. MRI. Did you ever get a head MRI? Particularly your inner ear and brain for small tumors?

7. Vestibular ear problem. This diagnosis that you received should be taken seriously and could, in fact, be the root of your problems. They must have given you a list of things to do. There is therapy for this if it is related to inner ear calcium. I suggest making sure you are properly hydrated -- sipping water all day and getting at least 64 ounces through your system. Dehydration can also cause sleep issues. Being properly hydrated will help your body to move things along in the head, sinuses, ear, etc.

8. Allergies. Always tough to pinpoint, but could be causing more issues or all the issues.

Try this and if you are still having issues, I'm happy to suggest other things or to help you work through it all.

 
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