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Chapter 4: Fruitless

Maybe it was because of the motion? Who knows, my doctors surely didn’t. My dizziness was different than how most people would describe it. It wasn’t as if the room were spinning, but more so as if I were falling. It was a very sickening dizzy. I felt that if I were to lay a marble on the floor, the marble would roll into one corner of the room, because I felt that the room was tilted. Going to the restroom was quite the challenge. The moment I walked into the bathroom and closed the door, it was as if I was in a porto-potty being suspended in midair from a crane, and at an angle. I hope I don’t have to pee sitting down forever, I thought. Ha!

I would try to go on walks (to keep my sanity) and it felt as if I were always on the side of a mountain. I live in Florida. Sanity … not going to happen with this disease/illness. I couldn’t work. Heck I could only look at a computer screen for 5 minutes before it felt as if I was going to throw up from the dizziness. I couldn’t socialize. I couldn’t even lay in bed without having the feeling as if the bed were tilted up against the wall, while having a feeling of doom and gloom panic attacks. Just making it through the day was a massive challenge. So… I did the one that I could do other than pacing around my house for hours on end. I biked. I biked every day for hours, averaging about 20 miles per day. The second I stopped biking was when I got dizzy again. As part of my new, dysfunctional daily routine I would generally bike to the beach, walk on the beach for as long as I could stand it, and then bike back home… often biking until the sun went down and sometimes as late as 11:PM.

I’ve never had chemo, but I can certainly sympathize with those who have. From what I hear, it takes everything out of you. I imagine that how I lived daily was like being hooked up to chemo 24/7. The fatigue was unbearable, but I couldn’t rest. The nausea was incapacitating, the dizziness was indescribable, the pain was pure torture, but when I got on a bike, things calmed. It still felt as if I was biking with the worst hangover anyone could ever imagine, but it got me through the days when I didn’t have a doctor’s appointment or therapy session.

With that being said, I continued to hunt for answers, booking sessions with doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists.

After visiting a local ENT who couldn’t find any major abnormalities, he sent me to Brooks Rehabilitation where I would do vestibular exercises, such as standing on foam pads with my eyes closed. In another exercise I would walk heal to tow in a straight line while reading, or moving my head left to right and then up and down or looking at my thumb as I move it left, right, up and down in front of me. I would continue these exercises for the next year with very minimal results.

One day, while I was on social media (to post an upcoming event for my nightclub). I came across an ad for a clinic that discussed a treatment plan for neuropathy. The place was called Thrive Chiropractic, and although I hadn’t done a lot of research on neuropathy, all of the symptoms that they were discussing on their site, seemed to fit mine:

You can view the page that I read here:

Although I was almost completely debilitated at this time, I immediately set up a consultation and within a week, I was on my way to see them. When I arrived, everyone there was extremely nice. I met with Doctor Mathews. He did some very minimal testing that I thought was quite strange. For example, he would run some boot spurs along parts of my leg and ask me if I could feel it. He would then put a piece of cold metal on my hand and ask how that felt. He also did some weird things using a hair dryer to heat items up and test those on me as well. At the end of the exam, he took a short break and then came back into the room to tell me that I had 27% nerve damage. Ha! I thought that there was no way he could give me an exact number to the amount of damage I had sustained with such simple testing. However, this was the first “doctor” that had offered me any kind of “real” treatment plan that could potentially fix me. $13,000.00 later I was on my way to 2 times a week visits that would include me sitting on a vibrating chair, some chiropractic adjustments, and a somewhat painful treatment they called Soft Wave. The Soft Wave treatment consisted of me getting shot at point blank range in my hands, feet and neck with a device that looked like a gun with two large metal balls on the end of it. Supposedly, it was sending audio waves throughout my body at 4,000+ miles per hour (don’t quote me on the exact number). The audio waves were meant to stimulate your damaged nerves to repair them. It all made sense for someone who had damaged nerves.

It wasn’t until months later that I had a real Nerve Conduction Study test done, and would you guess it… that test revealed no nerve damage. Instead, I had a severely sensitized nervous system (likely due to long covid). This meant, that every time I was being treated at Thrive Chiropractic, I was being over stimulated by the Soft Wave technology, the vibrating traction chair, and the chiropractic adjustments. It was no wonder that every time I left Thrive Chiropractic, my symptoms would flair up, my tinnitus would start screaming in my ears and my dizziness worsened. Initially, I chalked it up to part of the healing process, but after a while it got to be too much to handle. Now, don’t get me wrong… the people at Thrive Chiropractic were very nice. Just not “throw $13,000 down the drain nice”. Their misdiagnosis caused me months of extra pain and suffering and likely caused more damage than if I never went there at all. Once I discovered what was going on (after about 2 months), I immediately stopped treatment. Fortunately, Thrive Chiropractic refunded the money that I didn’t use in treatments, but they were unwilling to work with me on any additional refunds due to the misdiagnosis of my condition, the wasted time, and them actually causing more damage and suffering with a treatment plan that was contradictory to what I needed.

I would soon come to find that there’s a whole world out there that thrives on other people’s illnesses. And when you’re as sick as I am, there’s unfortunately not much you can do to protect yourself. Your desperate for answers, solutions, treatments. So, if you’re suffering and seeking that quick fix like I was, I highly recommend taking a step back and questioning everything. It took me quite a while to figure that out, as you’ll read. I wanted to believe everyone and everything I saw or read. I wanted to believe that I was going to get better. After a while, it can be very demoralizing.

While I was at Thrive (unfortunately, not seeing any results), I continued my search for answers. Since coming off Lexapro, I was convinced that there was a major neurotransmitter imbalance happening within me. Yes, I understood that I got sick before I came off Lexapro, but I always wondered if Lexapro had pooped out (it’s a real thing), stopped working, and that I just needed to balance my neurotransmitters to get back to health. I ordered an online neurotransmitter test and when the results came back all over the place, it confirmed my suspicions.

However, I have been told that these types of results are not accurate. Additionally, the abnormalities of the test could be the result of a virus. At the time, it didn’t dissuade me from pursuing anything that might help. I would soon come across a slew of articles online from various wellness doctors across the country that offered neurotransmitter balancing. I was curious and so I booked a $300 phone call consultation with Summit Integrative Medicine. I would spend an hour on the phone with Dr. Jacobs in Colorado as he ran through a list of supplements that he wanted me to take along with a diet and workout regimen. It all sounded great! Anyone could benefit from a healthy diet and workout regimen, I thought. The only problem: I couldn’t work out without collapsing, and without my tinnitus starting to scream so loudly that I wanted nothing more than to die. Additionally, I had severe sensitivities to medications and supplements. I would literally take an Advil, and it would feel as if I were going to overdose.

With that being said, I stuck by his recommended diet and ordered as many supplements as I could. Many of them I had immediate reactions to, but others my body was able to handle. I would follow up with a local wellness doctor here in Jacksonville beach who would offer additional supplements, foot baths, and dietary guidelines / restrictions. While I didn’t see the harm in any of it, I unfortunately saw no results.

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