Learning to Live With Imbalance
In December of 2019 I sailed from Lisbon, Portugal to Miami, Florida on a cruise ship… I stepped ashore and felt the motion of the ship. This was not unusual as I have sailed many times and continued to feel motion for up to three weeks. This time I continued rocking and rolling.
In early March of 2020, I was diagnosed with a rare but known brain disorder triggered by being on a cruise ship, Mal de Debarquement Syndrome. Most people return to normal within a month but for those who are still experiencing motion after 6 months the prognosis is poor. There is NO cure. Learning to live with a constant sensation of bouncing with rocking and rolling as if on rough seas has been my greatest challenge. I stopped walking outdoors due to fear of falling, stairs were completely out of the question, and walking in stores or restaurants was embarrassing since I appeared to be intoxicated.
After struggling with her condition for over a year, Nancy contacted Cioffredi & Associates in May of 2021. Taylor Daley, PT, DPT began working with her to improve strength in her core and legs to counteract the destabilizing effects of her condition. Over the coming months, Nancy participated in a research treatment program out of Mt Sinai Hospital in New York which reduced her symptoms by 50% and proceeded to add in personal training with Cioffredi & Associates trainer, Meghan Yandow, ATC, CPT.
In the beginning, all of these exercises were an extreme challenge and being near stairs terrified me. With Taylor and Meghan’s continued encouragement, I improved each week. After five months of continued effort and practice I was walking confidently outside, and going up and down stairs. I will continue to practice the skills they taught me in preparation for a return to Portugal in spring of 2022. Learning to live with an imbalance disorder is challenging but with adjustments and practice it can be improved. Working with Taylor and Meghan has made the challenge easier.