Meredith is an energetic mother of two and a former marketing and sales professional. Like many of her friends, she graduated from college, began a career, married and started a family. But unlike her friends, Meredith also had Ménière’s disease, which nearly took away her quality of life. With the help of Meniett® therapy, though, Meredith gained control of her disease and eventually donated a kidney to her mother.
She experienced her first symptoms in 1997 during her senior year of college. Two years later, she was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease in her right ear. Debilitating dizziness kept her from participating in many activities and events. Meredith recalls, “I had just graduated from college, and it was a time in my life when my friends started getting married, and I couldn’t enjoy it.”
She tried a low sodium, no caffeine diet and several types of medication, but these offered minimal relief. “Cutting down on caffeine and sodium helped somewhat, but I still had frequent attacks,” she says. “Once I had an attack, I didn’t feel the medicine helped my dizziness at all."
Ménière’s disease made Meredith’s first job especially difficult because it required a lot of driving. Her dizziness was so severe that she often had to pull off the road and wait for a coworker to pick her up. After her worst-ever vertigo attack, Meredith states, “I missed a week of work and became physically ill by throwing up. The only relief I had was when I was asleep. I literally had to crawl on the floor because I couldn’t walk.” Eventually, she was so debilitated that she applied for disability.
Active and outgoing by nature, Meredith enjoys the beach, snow skiing, and spending time with her loved ones. But like many Ménière’s patients, she felt like a prisoner of her disease. “I stopped working out and wasn’t as active as I had been,” remembers Meredith. “Even going to the movies wasn’t enjoyable; I spent most of my time at home.”
Surgery was mentioned as a last resort, but she was concerned about undergoing invasive or destructive procedures that carried a higher risk of complications and little guarantee of success. Several years went by and Meredith began to lose hope that her symptoms would ever improve, causing her outlook on life to suffer. “I became depressed because nothing was helping me. Although my family and friends were supportive, I felt like no one could relate to me, or really know what I was going through,” she explains. “I was so anxious because I would always wonder when or where my next attack would take place.”
Still, Meredith was determined to pursue her dreams. “After I was married and became pregnant, I struggled daily just to function. I depended on my husband for everything and I basically stayed home the first 7 months of my pregnancy with my son,” relates Meredith.
But life changed in 2003. When she was 27 years old and 7 months pregnant, Meredith and her husband moved to Memphis, Tennessee. There, she saw a new otologist (ear specialist) who told her about the Meniett device. Meredith describes herself as “cautiously optimistic” that Meniett therapy would help, and felt she had nothing to lose by trying it because it was minimally invasive.
It wasn’t long before she began to notice a significant improvement in her symptoms, and her quality of life changed drastically. The Meniett device is small, easy to use, and very portable. Patients perform each 5-minute treatment themselves, typically three times per day. “The device was a huge success for me. I got my life back!” Meredith exclaims. “I don’t think I could be taking care of my children if I didn’t have my Meniett device. The dizziness and fullness in my ear are now a distant memory.”
When Meredith regained her ability to participate in the daily activities and joys of life, the people closest to her were affected in more ways than she could have imagined. Two years after she began Meniett therapy, Meredith’s mother became critically ill and needed a kidney transplant to survive. With her Ménière’s disease symptoms under control and her overall good health, Meredith volunteered to donate one of her kidneys to her mother. The transplant surgery went well and saved her mother’s life.
In 2006, Meredith had her second child, a healthy baby girl. Now 32, Meredith uses her Meniett therapy and lives life to the fullest. Currently a busy stay-at-home mom, Ménière’s disease no longer holds Meredith back. “I can drive, go to the movies, exercise, take care of my children, and I can just live a normal life again.”
This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.