I shook my head and tugged on my cap,
feeling dizzy. I had finished a 10-mile training run and I was lightheaded. When the dizziness didn't go away days later, so started a series of visits to doctors. Each doctor had a different diagnosis: It was an inner ear infection. Over-exhaustion. Anxiety.
Then they started using other words I had never heard before: vestibular neuritis. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. My MRI was clean. My blood tests were fine, but I was constantly dizzy. Some days the vertigo was so bad, I couldn't stand.
About 20 months after my first doctor's visit, a specialist diagnosed me with vestibular migraine, a variant form of migraine that manifests as vertigo. I had always had migraines-- awful ones that ripped into my left eye and throbbed throughout my skull, but now my case of migraine had evolved.
Medication helps stabilize my vestibular nerves and keeps me from feeling dizzy. Avoiding triggers and working with my headache doctor has also helped me manage my traditional painful migraines, but I'm still figuring it all out.
I'm a runner.
Coming back has been a slow climb. Even now, my training plan looks different than the normal runner's because if I bump my mileage too fast or push my heart rate for too long, I could get a migraine.
I'm also a former reporter and freelance writer. I've written and reported extensively about running and wellness. This blog is about managing a running routine while being a migraineur.
We have migraines. We're still runners.
-Amanda Casanova, "The Migraine Runner"