Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Plan

Since Endolymphatic Hydrops is an idiopathic condition (meaning that the cause is unknown), doctor’s simply treat the symptoms, rather than trying to cure the condition itself.

While I have been fully on board with taking a course of steroids and long-term use of a diuretic to help control inflammation, ultimately I need to take it upon myself to try to rid myself of this condition.

The initial course of action I will be taking is focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet as, let’s face it, many diseases are brought on by chronic inflammation.

Dr. Andrew Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid provides a nice visual in regards to recommended food choices. You can find a printable version of this food pyramid here.

I'll be heading back home this weekend at which time I will begin logging all the meals that I eat and how I feel between meals. Ideally, I'm hoping that balancing my insulin levels will help control my symptoms, but I'm also looking to see if any foods may be exasperating symptoms.

My shopping list for this weekend and the upcoming week includes:
  • Wild Alaskan sockeye salmon
  • Wild Pacific black cod
  • Shrimp
  • Canned Wild Albacore Tuna, no salt added
  • Chicken breasts
  • Great Northern beans
  • Organic, grass-fed lean ground beef
  • Omega-3 enriched, organic eggs
  • Unsalted edamame
  • Unsalted soy nuts
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Bok Choy
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Fresh ginger
  • Scallion
  • Daikon (Japanese radish)
  • Poblano chilies
  • Low sodium, whole wheat tortillas
  • Tomatillos
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Pepper Jack cheese (organic)
  • Raspberries (organic)
  • Blackberries (organic)
  • Apples (organic)
Some of the recipes I plan to tackle this upcoming week include a low-sodium enchiladas verdes and a Chinese Hot Pot (shabu shabu). Remember, eating a healthy diet does not have to mean eating bland, tasteless food!

So, do I really believe that by controlling my diet I can cure myself of this condition? On days when I'm not feeling so well, my answer to this question would likely be "no". On days when I'm feeling pretty good my answer is a resounding "YES" and for good reason.

That good reason is Donald Gazzaniga, the author of one of the low-sodium cookbooks I purchased when first diagnosed with Endolymphatic Hydrops.

Diagnosed with congestive heart failure and headed for a heart transplant (YES, this man was on a list to receive a heart transplant!), Don, along with his wife who is a Registered Dietitian, developed a meal plan for him that kept his sodium intake to < 500 mg/day.

The result? Don’s name has been removed from the transplant list.

Seriously!? Who would have thunk it possible?

Don's story is pretty amazing and one that we can all learn from.

Train hard; stay strong.



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11 Responses to "The Plan"
  1. Fred said...
    June 18, 2009 at 3:20 PM

    Great post, Susan!
    I like your plan...leave it to you to come up with one that makes sense...for a lot of us!

    Sounds like you're doing better...really happy about that, Suz...

    Thanks for the print out of the pyramid! Printed out one for work and one for the refrigerator at home.

    Thinking of you! Stay strong.


  2. Susan said...
    June 18, 2009 at 5:18 PM

    Thanks so much Fred ... I'm feeling your good vibes all the way here in New Jersey!

    I'm really excited to get my groceries and start cooking. The anti-inflammatory guidelines make so much sense and this is really the way everyone should be eating.

    The fact that someone was able to get themselves removed from a heart transplant list is absolutely incredible and inspirational. How much disease could we eradicate if we just ate differently?

    It really is food for thought (pun intended)!

  3. John said...
    June 20, 2009 at 10:29 AM

    Really an informative article. I was also searching for such a nice balance diet chart. It would help to describe more easily.

  4. Kristina said...
    June 30, 2009 at 11:20 PM

    Susan, I was told by one ENT that its sounds like I have endolphatic hydrops like you have been told as well. I have some questions:
    1. Do you get ear pain? 2. Do you feel the fluid in your inner ear when you tilt your head to the side? 3. Do you just have episodes or is your balance an issue often? 4. Did you get true vertigo where the room was actually spinning, or was it like the room was slightly moving and very unbalanced, and motion sickness, also the oscilation with the eyes?
    5. Do you get inflamation in your body or do you feel it in your ear? 6. How have you been feeling, has it been months now since the start?

  5. Susan said...
    July 1, 2009 at 8:22 AM

    Kristina, while most of the time my balance issues are slight (it feels like I'm walking on the deck of a ship), I did have one instance (episode) whereas I had a true vertigo attack where everything was spinning at a very high speed for approx 25 minutes. I did have nystagmus (rapid eye movement) following the vertigo attack but that has since subsided.

    My most persistent system up until now has been very bad pressure in my ears. I say until now because over the past 2-weeks that pressure has lessened although I'm also starting to feel some other symptoms.

    In regards to feeling "fluid", as the pressure has subsided these past few weeks I started noticing this week the feeling of 'slushiness' when I lay on my side in bed.

    As for feeling inflammation in areas other than my head, the answer is yes, which is why I've decided to see a neurologist to see if there isn't something else going on.

    While it seems longer, it's only 7 weeks since my vertigo episode. I went thru a period post-episode whereas I was having difficulty getting thru day-to-day tasks. Those aren't a problem now although some of the other symptoms are becoming annoying (hence, going to have them checked out!).

    I honestly feel that when it comes to ones health, you need to be your own advocate. This is not to say that we should be getting our medical degrees from the University of Google (or your search engine of preference). But, if you're not comfortable with your diagnosis, certainly go and speak with someone else!

    Hope this helps Kristina. Keep me posted on how you're doing! You can always reach me at


  6. Kristina said...
    July 5, 2009 at 11:03 PM

    It may be helpful for you to know that barametric pressure changes can have a lot to do with how we feel. Everytime my balance is off, on go on this site to see and sure enough there would be a rapid or large pressure change. Just go to this site and type in your city and state. I noticed that when the mb's are low or if it moves 5 or more mb's within a day I get problems for a few days. Hope you find this information helpful. Also, thank you I am doing much better now it took a long time though. I never had a true vertigo spin. But severe dizziness and balance issues along with motion sickness. I could hardly do anything for months. I am now doing much more and almost back to normal intermittently. Sometimes you can get little set backs, but in the long run it gets better over time. I think my brain has retrained itself with my inner ear.

  7. Shared Decision Making said...
    July 6, 2009 at 2:24 AM

    Thanks for this helpful food pyramid...steroids almost leave us drained of our freshness and good health...thank God for the small mercies like this blog.

  8. Susan said...
    July 6, 2009 at 8:12 AM

    Kristina, so glad to hear you're doing better and thanks for sharing that information!

  9. Susan said...
    July 6, 2009 at 8:12 AM

    SharedDecisionMaker, thanks so much for the kind words!!!

  10. Medical Billing Software said...
    July 31, 2009 at 6:14 PM

    Great to have a plan and work on it...systematic an gradual progress is what works out effectively.

  11. Accredited Online Colleges said...
    September 27, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    Your post is rocking and knowledgeable… I really appreciate the way you write . I would like to read more from you


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