Thursday, August 23, 2018

Saying Goodbye 

Elicha, Rita and Ralph 

A friend of mine is leaving Las Vegas because her EPA office is shutting down. I am saddened that this beautiful soul will be exiting my life, though she plans to return when she retires. 

I am also excited for her as she makes this journey across the country. Changes are sometimes good and I wish the best for my dear friend.

We met in 9th grade in Algebra class at Rancho High School. (Our teacher was Leroy Brown.) Her light shone back then. We reconnected on Facebook many years later and I’m better for having her in my life. 

Our busy schedules often take us in different directions, but she is always there for me. Including me in activities and making me feel welcome.

Until we meet again my friend. 

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Monday, August 20, 2018


Sunday we sail out of Tampa enroute to Cuba. Oh, there is a stop in Grand Cayman where we will snuba. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel if you want to see our adventures. 

One of my favorite sites is the whale tail on a Carnival Cruise Ship.

I remember the first time we snuba(d) was in St. Thomas. Our fellow cruiser immortalized it on YouTube. It was the most freeing moment I ever had. Swimming with the fish. It ended all too soon. 

One of the places I always wanted to visit is Cuba. It was a pipe dream until Obama opened trade with the Cubans. When I saw the cruise listed at such a great price I booked it after talking my husband into taking a second cruise this year.

One of the spots to see in Grand Cayman is Hell

Beaches are a big part of Grand Cayman too!

We are looking forward to our Cuban adventures. It will be like stepping back in time to the 1950’s. This is one of the reasons it was important for me to go now. I have romanticized Cuba, but once it starts to be industrialized it won’t be the same. 

I will be blogging about it here and on my writing blog and we will be vlogging on The Ralph and Rita Show.

I hope you’re spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Let’s Talk About Depression 

I’ve been in a slight depression, I’m guessing the constant vertigo and not being able to drive had so much to do with it. I wrote this last night to try to describe how I feel in a Depression...

I often talk about coming out of the fog, but what is it like in it?

I often don’t realize the fog has descended until I am well into it. So how do I know? 

  1. Little things will irritate me. Things that normally just are a fleeting thought. 
  2. I find myself crying at every touching show or commercial. I am overly sensitive. 
  3. I get mad easily and stay mad longer. Although I am quick to anger I usually am sorry instantly, but not when I am depressed.
  4. Thoughts race through my head. Usually replaying everything I think I’ve done wrong. Never letting me forgive those who have hurt me. Making sleep impossible.
  5. I am tired, but my sleep is riddled with restlessness. I wish I could sleep for days, but my head won’t stop thinking. Instead I rest a lot. Sleeping on and off.
  6. One recurring thought that nobody will understood, unless they have been there... everyone will be better off without me. 

I am not suicidal, but my thoughts are... though at times I think about escaping into oblivion, I would never act on it. 

How do I handle depression? 

  1. I plaster my smile on my face. You have seen this. I am quite an expert at it. I hope by smiling it will fool my brain into thinking it’s happy.
  2. I keep busy. If I don’t then I’ll have time to think.
  3. Sometimes I take medication when I cannot fight it on my own.
  4. Meditation helps.
  5. Talking about it.

My depression isn’t constant, so antidepressants have only been effective for short bursts. There is nothing wrong with sling for help. I do all the time and I share my thoughts with family and friends. Talking about it takes its power away for me. It stops it from being my secret. It takes away the stigma when you realize how many people suffer from depression. 

I hope this helps others who are like me. 

My smile is as natural to me as breathing, but sometimes like this one, it’s not always heartfelt.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Life with Ménière’s 

Since eliminating the foods to which I’m allergic, I am not in constant vertigo. I have swaying back and forth, but not so I notice it without standing with my eyes closed. Tilting and stumbling seem to be a normal for me. 

Yesterday while going to my seat at the LV Aces game I fell without warning. I always attributed these falls to my ankle forgetting its job. However, it’s a drop attack. I don’t know if it’s MD related or if something else is going on, because I’ve had these since I was in my teens. MD wasn’t diagnosed until in my my 30’s. This is something I’ll be asking my ENT when I see her in October. 

Today, I had and endoscopy to make sure my ulcer wasn’t back. Fortunately it’s not. I do have inflammation in the esophagus and stomach, so they did biopsies. I’ll get the results September 5th. In the meantime I’ll avoid the foods that I’m allergic to and see if that helps. 

The anesthesia has made me super off-balance. Putting it on a Ménière’sy scale, I’d say 5. Right now I am in bed, but my mind is going a million miles an hour. I will rest for the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon and then I’ll meet Ralph & a friend at JW Marriott so we can go see Peter Pan. Don’t worry I’m not driving.

I am trying to live my life with Ménière’s, but it’s challenging. Things could be worse. I am thankful that I have support from my husband, brother and sister-in-law. 

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

The sign in the waiting area.

I know I do. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass the test. I have never been good at taking tests, so no big surprise there.

Being part of the studio audience was so much fun. The show itself is more fun in person than watching it on tv. I want to go every day. Can I? I can if I continue to feel as good as today. 

I had no Ménière’s symptoms today other than the tinnitus. I momentarily had a problem going up the stairs to the studio, but I recovered quickly. I did wear my blue light filtering glasses when I saw how bright it was going to be.

After the show.

They didn’t allow cameras once the filming began, but I took pictures of Chris Harrison when he came out.

In between filming the crew gives prizes and works up the audience. I think it’s so we’ll be ready to clap on command. 

Like this guy whose name escapes me at the moment.

And the best news, I drove us to and from the studio, because I felt great. I put together a video collage of the photos I took today for the Ralph and Rita Show on YouTube.

I hope you are spin free. 

Love, Peace abd Light! Rita

The Things I Do..,

I woke up this morning with my website on my mind. A friend offered some great advice. I am slowly following up on some of it. So I changed the description on my site. If you’d like to take a look it’s Rita L Smith. Feedback is welcome. 

Right now I’m just working on descriptions. I am trying hard to not begin every paragraph with I. It’s not easy since this is how I think of things that are about me. 

Trying to make things more personable with personal stories is not always easy for me. Perhaps because I have fictional characters burgeoning in my mind. 

I have kept up since before I published Mikey’s Tail in 2012. It’s gone through a few changes. Now I can blog directly from my website, but I was able to connect this blog to it as well. The website blog will be mainly about writing, but occasionally I’ll talk about life too.

I like the new look of the site. Eventually, I’ll choose another picture to replace my piano picture, but I love that it’s so quirky. That photo shoot was so much fun. Erica brought out the inner me.

You can find her on Facebook under Erica Tabet Spiritual Counselor. 

It’s a day that will forever be in my heart and I have the photos to help me remember. 

I am trying to decide if I should keep this website or change it to I got married last year and Trushaw is a more interesting name than Smith, but Mikey’s Tail is under my former married name. Decisions, decisions...

Bubbles were so much fun.

I will keep updating my website, since nothing remains the same. Life is full of change and I want to keep my site relevant.

I hope you all have a spin free day!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Food Allergies 

I just found out I have food allergies. I haven’t had any severe reactions, so maybe sensitivities. My gastro doctor thinks it maybe be connected to diarrhea and puking... If I can feel better by cutting out these things, I am going to try.

It means giving up peanut butter milkshakes, most snacks, and onion rings. Oh, perhaps I should put my list on here and you can see for yourself. 

Food allergies:

  1. Egg white
  2. Peanuts
  3. Wheat
  4. Walnut
  5. Hazel nut
  6. Almond
  7. Shrimp
  8. Cows milk
  9. Sesame seeds

I had already been eliminating most bread as I had trouble with it as I was eating it. Who new I could be allergic to the egg whites? Fortunately, the yolk tastes way better. Imagine me going to our Sunday breakfasts and asking for for an omelet made with Yolks only and no milk, unless they have soy milk. It boggles the mind.

We went to Famous Dave’s yesterday for dinner. I had to do the research to see what was in the bbq sauce and even the dressing for my salad.

Sorry I had already began eating before I remembered to take a picture. I made a mistake on my first salad by forgetting to omit the cheese, eggs and croutons, but my waitress was kind enough to get me another as I was trying to pick the stuff out. 

I chose honey mustard over Italian dressing. I need to avoid the ranch which is my go to dressing. I just have to make adjustments in my diet. 

Yesterday was my first day without the allergens in my diet, so I don’t notice a big difference yet. I did gamble with the salt content in my restaurant food, but my ears aren’t louder and no vertigo attack. 

Though to be fair I have been in constant vertigo for weeks now. When I say attack I mean the room spinning kind. Though being in constant vertigo is an attack, I can just push through it. 

As a side note, why are restaurants using metal trays in lieu of plates? I don’t like it. It makes me feel as if I’m eating in a buffet and instead of using a plate I filled up the tray. 

I hope you are spin free. 

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Day by Day

Have you ever just stayed in bed because you were hiding from the inevitable effects of your disease? I do all the time. Sometimes when I wake up, I cannot feel the dizziness or vertigo. 

Yesterday was different, I had vertigo before I even opened my eyes. I was half afraid that I would have full on vertigo when I opened my eyes. Fortunately, the room remained stationary.

Thanks to my sister for driving me I went to my GP doctor appointment. And then to Walmart to fill my prescriptions. Though before leaving the doctor’s as I got off the table to get my purse. I was knocked backwards. Fortunately the chair was there when I went down. It didn’t feel a violent as my normal slams, but I’m guessing it was a drop attack.

I didn’t feel well the rest of the day. Today I feel totally off, but no mini spins. I am having an attack, but still not the room spinning kind. Just waiting for the big one and trying not to stress.

It may be an early day for me again and it’s only 9 am. I keep on reminding myself to take one day at a time, one symptom at a time, one diagnosis at a time. Most of all to enjoy the good days and rest on the bad days. 

I am pretty sure my asthma and allergies is making the MD worse. Our air quality is poor because of the California wildfires. It’s so hazy you can barely see the nearby mountains and not the ones further away.

So, I’ll be taking it easy today. Hopefully, by the weekend I’ll be good to go. 

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Getting Answers? Or Trying...

Sadly, there are no good answers for health problems. I miss the days when I had something wrong and the doctor would give me medication and then U’d be alright. Chronic illnesses are not so cut and dry. Sometimes doctors cannot even agree on diagnoses.

My doctor is sending me to a cardiologist for my heart... just in case my mitral valve prolapse isn’t the culprit of a new experience I had with it where it did it’s racing thing and caused dizziness.

Oh and it’s that time to get the girls checked again, so I will be getting a mammogram. Ladies this is very important diagnostic tool. Do not put it off. 

I will be getting another endoscopy to make sure my ulcer hasn’t returned. Oh, and I had food allergy testing that I am waiting on the results from. I hate throwing up after I eat. I have it somewhat under control by eating smaller meals.

Oh and the biggest question to be answered will have to wait until I see the ENT in October. Am I bilateral? Will this ENT even think I have Ménière’s? Or will they diagnose me with something else? 

Though I actively seeking answers, I am getting very few quickly. The medical system is frustrating. It’s even more so when you need answers so you can maybe be treated. I am not holding my breath that I’ll get relief even if I do get answers, because the treatments don’t work for everyone.

Even my old standby meclizine doesn’t help me not feel dizzy any longer. In fact the pharmacist said one of the side effects is dizziness. It is a no win situation. 

I have done my research and know what to expect when the professionals tell me what’s wrong. So I am ready. I know the prognosis for Ménière’s. At least it’s not as bleak as when I was first diagnosed. And now I have others to talk to about it who understand and never doubt what anyone in the group tells them, because they have been there.

So it’s a waiting game for me. One day at a time is the best advice. Enjoy the good days, relax on the bad days and don’t let anxiety and depression take hold... 

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Monday, August 6, 2018

This is Not an Excuse

Ménière’s disease, asthma, fibromyalgia and everything else I have is not an excuse to get out of things. It is the reason I don’t feel well and can only do so much. 

I don’t feel well enough to need an excuse. I am just lucky I have my Sweetie by my side so I can get out even when I am not well. 

I’d never use it as an excuse to get out of things. Unfortunately, it will prevent me from doing things. Usually things that I enjoy suffers. 

So do not ever say I am using it as an excuse to get out of things. I hope you never have to feel what I feel on a daily basis. It sucks when your ears are ringing so loud conversations are challenging, when your brain is so foggy that thinking hurts, when you are struggling for a good breath, when your head feels like you are moving when you are completely stationary.,,. I could go on, since this isn’t the only thing that I feel. (See what I did there...I combined my symptoms. I did because mine don’t hit me one at a time, because I struggle with a multitude of things at once.)

Yes, a careless comment hurts me. So, I am writing it here so I don’t yell and scream. I never doubt when someone says they have problems, because I am not them and I don’t know what they suffer. It is not up to me to judge. (If I have in the past, I was wrong.)

Remember that many people have invisible disabilities and you don’t know what is going on with them. Just show compassion and all will be well. 

Many look like this. 

I will continue to push myself and smile. If I say I am not feeling well, then I probably feel worse than I did in this picture. I had vertigo and was off balance when this picture was taken. Can you tell?

Have a spin free day.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Ménière’s and Me

Ménière’s is different for everyone. Though I have been doing bad, there are others worse off than me. It’s been a source of comfort to be part of Ménière’s Worldwide and to be part of their daily lives. 

For a rare disease there are many of us with this debilitating disease. We are in different stages of it. I don’t know exactly what stage I am in. I thought stage 2, but who knows... I may still be in stage 1.

There needs to be more research into a cure. The worst part is that the professionals do not have all the answers. Heck they don’t always know much about the disease. I hope my new ENT knows about the disease and can start me on a treatment regimen that will help alleviate my symptoms. Is it selfish of me to want to go back into remission?

I was in remission for about six years. Tinnitus and the occasional tilting/off-balance were my only symptoms. I came out of remission in December at Disneyland. The bathroom walls were waving up and down... a new symptom for me. I was a bit unsteady, really hot and nauseous. 

My biggest mistake was going on Space Mountain. The movement coupled with darkness and occasional points of light made everything worse for me. I ended up throwing up in some bushes. (The trash cans have side slots at Disneyland.) I was too sick to locate a bathroom until after. 

I guess I downplayed how I was feeling because our friend didn’t even realize I was having an episode. I am not sure if this is good or bad. On the one hand I want others to understand, but on the other I want to appear normal in public. It’s a no win situation. 

Lately my head has been swirling sometimes even without moving. I have been having rotational vertigo (I feel like I’m spinning not the room.) My balance is off. I lean or fall to the left, I stumble, but I can still seem normal to most. I have started carrying my cane in public just to keep me upright. 

There are times when the tinnitus screams at me drowning out voices who may or may not be speaking to me. Noises hurt my ears, so I can’t listen to tv or radio at loud volumes. This means I may miss what the tv says. Throw in my husband’s constant vlog watching, my brother or sister-in-law talking and the pets whining/meowing and hearing is becoming increasingly difficult. 

Mostly my vertigo has been clockwise, but lately it has switched directions. The other day it was rapidly changing back and forth which may be why I had so much trouble on Tuesday. My brain fog was so bad that I can barely remember it. 

It’s difficult to explain brain fog... it’s like my head is enveloped in cotton wool. My head hurts. Sometimes I lose words when I am speaking. But the worst part is the inability to concentrate. Even reading is hard. And I love to read. 

The worst thing is that I cannot drive, because I have been either dizzy or in vertigo. I had the same tank of gas for 3 months and the only reason I needed to fill it up was that others borrowed my car. 

I am still learning to cope with the new me. I will continue to fight Ménière’s. It won’t defeat me. I will enjoy life. As long as my husband is by my side I will live. Thankfully I have Ralph, good friends, and family who understand. 

Keep on smiling, I know I will. I hope you are all spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Bingo, Dentist, Coffee & Fuku

Bingo in a casino is different than the Bingo I played in school. You have choices about how you want to play... old fashioned cards, a tablet or a computer screen. I chose the bigger screen.

I chose the bigger screen. With the electronic screens all the stress of checking all your cards is gone. 2 weeks ago , I won a bit... today nothing at all.

Then I was off to get my teeth cleaned. My brother dropped me off. My appointment was at 1:00 and Ralph’s at 2:00.... all I had to do was wait. I love the way they feel after all the tarter is gone and the are polished. (I am not driving due to the vertigo.)

Next door to my dentist is Bad Owl Coffee, so I ducked over and bought an Iced White Mocha decaf.., Their coffee is so good, not bitter at all. I wish they were a bit bigger, I would love to go write here sometime, but the chairs aren’t comfortable and the tables are tiny. 

Then my sweet husband took me to Fuku Burger. These burgers are yummy and I love the toppings on them. I forgot to take pictures. Next time.., I promise.

I am happy that I got out today... Tuesday my fibromyalgia had me down, yesterday the vertigo kept me down. Though I still have vertigo, my head is much clearer today. October can’t come soon enough for me. (That’s the earliest they could get me into my new ENT.)

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita