Gratitude to Huey

I’m really grateful to Huey Lewis for speaking public about his Meniere’s disease.

As Lewis himself notes, his MD is mild, and he doesn’t experience the devastating vertigo attacks that are the key life-destroying feature of this condition. I recall having three such attacks in one month and pretty much figured my life was over. I’m happy to say that thanks to a lot of self-research and strict adherence to a health regimen, I haven’t had an attack in over two years and can function again. I’m practically deaf in my right ear (aside from the roaring tinnitus) and am somewhat deaf in my left. Hearing my students can sometimes be a challenge, and I have days where it is perilous to walk, but I get by.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

One reason I write the James Strait novels, whose protagonist contends with MD, is to educate readers on the reality of this horrible condition. One of the worst aspects of MD is the social isolation it causes, because people who have it suffer disabling effects, but, between attacks, outwardly present as apparently well (note that between attacks, a range of other less dramatic but still burdensome symptoms persist). Some chronic physical problems are visible, because of wheelchairs, canes, etc. MD is largely invisible, even if it is every bit as serious as more obvious afflictions. Because the symptoms aren’t as visible, people sometimes doubt MD sufferers are really suffering from anything. This leads MD patients to become depressed and avoid people. One study found that MD patients feel more depressed than people with late-stage terminal illness.

As I said, I’m one of the lucky ones. I am blessed with understanding friends, family, and employers. I can’t imagine how much worse my life would be for someone who didn’t have similar support..

‘Lewis revealed in April 2018 that he was being treated for an inner-ear disorder, Ménière’s disease, which causes vertigo, ringing in the ears and hearing loss that comes and goes. The frontman of Huey Lewis and the News, who was still regularly touring with his band (75 shows a year!) at the time, canceled “all future shows.” He explained that his condition kept him from hearing music well enough to sing, because the frequencies were distorted.’

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