Thank goodness it's a leap year. It gives me more time to write about the tinnitus. I'm aiming for just one post a month - it's not a lot, but that's how I'd like it to be. The less my mind is on the ringing, the better. However, that said, the less I write doesn't mean the less it's on my mind.
It's been on my mind so much that I'm having headaches just thinking about it. Sometimes I wonder if the achy feeling I get when my head is on the pillow is a headache or if it's just the bump of the bun, which I tie my hair into every night. I hope for it to be the bun, but then it's a real headache. But the good news: at the beginning of this month, I finally got a credible diagnosis: nasopharyngeal reflux of gastric acid.
I have a list of foods I cannot eat. It includes blueberries, something I usually like gulping down in handfuls.
Coffee, too. I'm trying to be a writer without that.
Nowadays, my words sound a little sleepier, like lyrics for a lullaby.
I've gone one month cutting out a lot of food. It seems I'm also losing weight, which is not ideal, since I'm already pretty small. I tried to stuff myself at dinner tonight (won't tell you with what because it's probably not good for the acid) - but I just saw it and I thought, "That can make me gain weight." I looked at myself in the mirror after I ate. I tried to see if my arms already got a little fatter. Not yet.
In fact, I feel pretty nauseated tonight. I probably ate too much or ate the very wrong thing. The thing is: it's impossible to see food, which I usually enjoy a lot, and tell myself this and that are not possible. Also: healthy food usually fills me up faster, and then I end up just not gaining weight. I want to give myself one meal a week, where I can eat something that I would have in the past, and drink coffee. I don't want to live a life always with the boundaries.
I tried for a while, but then I sometimes failed because of ignorance. One very stupid thing I did: order a dish at a place called Pepper Lunch, not realizing that they would put pepper on the rice. I sometimes forget precisely what places are famous for. Not being a meat-eater does not help to make the choices more plentiful.
The tinnitus could be worse if I hadn't received the diagnosis. In fact, I arrived at it with a fairly weak intention. I wound up seeing a competent ENT after a random doctor, who was there to read my annual health check results, asked me why my Vitamin B levels were so high, and I said other doctors who were trying to address my headache told me to go on supplements. She asked me to describe the headache, then said, "You really need to check that out again. It could be a brain tumour. It's not impossible." She pulled up a very sketchy looking website - too teal and static, as if the website were more of a photo - and she said to go to the doctor there. I saw somebody dressed as a surgeon (notice: I didn't think I saw a surgeon), and then I memorized the name of the clinic and called them as soon as I could. They had a spot available the next day, a Saturday - this fact did not make me feel better.
The man who was, in fact, a surgeon, in fact, an award-winning one, asked me to describe my symptoms then put a camera down my nose and throat, and said he found the problem. The back of my nose, where my throat began, was not the color or form it should be. He pulled out a Xeroxed copy that said "Rare manifestations of acid reflux nasal pharyngitis" and highlighted the headings, names of symptoms entirely familiar to me. Great diagnosis. Followed by the bad news: Here's all the food you cannot eat.
I've followed his list for a month now, but the tinnitus is still here. It's not worse, but it's not much better. Yesterday, I went to see a TCM doctor, who gave me acupuncture (I definitely felt things moving around in my head where she left some needles; it was like there were koi fish swimming inside of me.) I can't yet tell what the TCM will lead to ultimately, and tonight, though I tried to go to sleep (thinking that if I can pass February without a post on this, perhaps I might be making progress), I instead felt sickened by sensations somewhere above my stomach and behind my chest. I woke my husband up moving around; he asked what was wrong, and I told him I'd been feeling nauseated for a while, it's just that I thought that if I could put off telling him, I might also accelerate its going away. Again: repression doesn't make a wish come true.
I feel a long line of things burning above my stomach, even if dinner was four hours ago, and the last drink three - as the ENT said I should do.
I haven't let all the ringing stop me from working. I've kept on working on the books. Hoping that one day I'll look back at this post feeling distanced, that my ears can feel the warmth of silence again. I remember vaguely, that my ears, when closed, sounded like what I imagined the inside of cotton balls sounded like. And like shadows. And like clouds.
It's been over four months. I should be able to go through tonight. It's just one more night, so just do it. Go to bed, with that good ol' white noise track on Spotify, set on repeat.