I flew to Australia in 2009 which was my first ever long haul flight. It was approximately 21 hours long with a half way break in-between (1hr). When I arrived in Australia, we had a transfer time of about 2 hours to our hotel, which then I did feel fine. We then, got a short ferry trip across to Sydney from Manly which only took about 15 mins. The first time I felt the symptoms was when I got up to walk about on the boat; the feeling was something I had never had before. The nausea came on instantly and the dizziness was unreal. I just wanted to lay down and be left! This feeling lasted for approximately half a day. I was fine for the two weeks I was there, and I flew home. Strangely, I was fine when I got off the plane back in London, and I never felt anything else until my next trip which was to Mexico from the UK in 2010; the flight was about 10 hours direct.
Excited for my holiday as the sickness was a distant memory from the Oz trip. As we landed in Mexico and went through customs, there it was again, but this time it was as soon as I stepped off the flight and stood still, that awful awful feeling; the dizziness and the nausea were overpowering and I slumpt down in the airport queue feeling shocking. I had to get to my feet and get through the queues; I remember the feeling like I was going to pass out! Again this passed about half an hour later and we thoroughly enjoyed our two weeks in Mexico! apart from thinking, ‘oh no I’ve got to get back’! Before we landed back in the UK, as we were descending, I felt the symptoms taking hold of me again; I got off the plane and this was the worst I had ever felt! I am so shocked how I didn’t vomit as the sickly feeling was so so bad and I remember sitting in the airport with my head in my hands feeling unbelievably unwell. This episode lasted for a few hours, and I did feel slightly better when driving home. I suppose it was a distraction.
When I returned to work 3 days later, the symptoms came back again. This time, I was trembling with it. I was rather worried at this point as I had no idea what was causing me to feel this way. I went to many doctors and their first thought was ear infections, or inner ear problems; I still had no idea what it was. All I wanted was to feel normal again.
After a year and a half, I was sent for a CT scan, which worried me as I didn’t know what they were looking for. I do not have a history of migraines or any other health problems, but I was having regular headaches along with my dizziness and nausea. The scan was clear, which was a relief, but I still had no idea of what was causing my symptoms. By this time, I felt that anyone who was witnessing me struggling through this actually thought I was mad! A few times I had things said to me which made me feel like I was going crazy, like, ‘Well, you look ok!’ or ‘It must be all in your head’. Nobody understood how I was feeling, which was one of the hardest things.
In 2011, I got an appointment to see an ENT specialist who diagnosed me with MdDS. He did advanced hearing checks, and a dizzy test. The test in which they used hot and cold water in my ears was awful.
Along with the symptoms of MdDS it has triggered quite severe health anxiety; basically I believed I was dying! Most people thought I had gone totally crazy, and I actually believed it myself. I have suffered with depression along with everything else but I now feel I have control and do not experience really bad symptoms from MdDS now. I do have slight vision problems some days; my eyes feel slightly blurry and strained, I get occasional dizziness and nausea but nothing I can’t handle.
I am taking beta blockers for my anxiety, which I think has helped. I find it hard to even think about flying anywhere. I’ve even had nightmares about it. I loved my holidays and now have to deal with the fact I won’t be going travelling like I once thought I would. But I suppose it could be so much worse! I take my hat off to anyone who suffers with this… Let’s find a cure! 🙂 xxx
long haul flight, 2009