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9-30-2019 Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis giving us hope!

“For the first two months I was like suicidal,” he said. “Really, it can drive you absolutely crazy…I had to figure something out. So creatively, I got involved in our musical.”

— Huey Lewis in the San Francisco Chronicle

Hello all! Welcome to the first blog post here at MyMenieres.com!

We will be taking a look at a wide variety of different topics each week, but we had some inspirational news in the world of Ménière’s this week, and it was too good to pass up for our first post. Singer/songwriter Huey Lewis who was diagnosed with Ménière’s last year, is releasing a new album!

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Huey’s Sports album from 1983 went platinum with four different songs on the top 100. The “Power Of Love” hit number 1 on the billboard chart in 1985 and was featured, along with a cameo of Huey, in Back to the Future

In a People’s Magazine article in April 2018, it was noted that Huey was dealing with the effects of Ménière’s and as a result of the impact to his hearing, was unable to identify notes and could not tour anymore. A second article published with the San Francisco Chronicle noted that Huey would have a good day or two followed by a month of symptoms. While this may not be true for all Ménière’s sufferers, I can certainly agree with that false hope of two days of no symptoms followed by the ringing, ear fullness and migraine symptoms that all come back without warning can certainly be disappointing and demoralizing. 

When Huey talks about the depression in the Chronicle article, it is something we have all faced especially when it feels like you are at the point where you are averaging two to three severe attacks a week. Or when that tinnitus just will not let you get that sleep that is so crucial to keeping your symptoms in check.

It was suggested that the new album may not include a tour. While not mentioned either article, we all know that loud noise, bright lights, and stress can trigger those awful vertigo attacks as well as making that tinnitus worse.

The new album is due out soon but the single is available on his website now: http://www.hueylewisandthenews.com/

Saturday Morning French Toast

If you like a good Saturday morning breakfast like I do, I was a little down after thinking breakfast was going to consist of shredded wheat for the remainder of time. Thankfully there are some good low-sodium alternatives out there. Today we are going to look at my recipe for French Toast.

Bread Selection

Believe it or not there is actually a bread at the Walmart that works really well for this – the Sliced Brioche comes in at 130 per slice, so you get the great taste of a brioche bread, and it’s low sodium. Keep it in the fridge overnight so it will not be as soft when making the french toast.

The batter

This was fairly simple I use five eggs (70 each) which will get you 12 slices of french toast.

Combine the eggs with a third of a cup of milk (53 for the 1/3 cup). Add a teaspoon of vanilla (0) and one tablespoon of cinnamon (0). Keep the cinnamon handy, we’ll come back to that. Give that all a good stir and we are ready to start dipping

Onto the flat-top we go

Coat each side of your chilled Brioche and onto the flat top until the bottom is golden brown, then flip. Generally about six slices will fit onto the flat-top and once those six are on put in another tablespoon of cinnamon (otherwise those that eat the first few slices get all the cinnamon).

Once both sides are golden brown you are ready to go. Most of the direct from Vermont type syrups have 0 sodium, but it does not hurt to check the label before you buy. The beauty of the Brioche is that it does not really need butter, but you can always add a no or low salt butter if you desire.

The details

So for this breakfast you are limited to three slice if you want a side of bacon (we’ll get into the bacon battle at a later date, but most of the low sodium variety comes in at around 160). Each slice will equal 163.5 assuming the sodium on the milk you are using is similar to mine. Three slices will put you at 490 with just enough room for the bacon.

Enjoy your Saturday morning treat!

Next up we’ll take a look at a semi-store bought pizza option.

From a box cornbread

In our house, my wife handles most of the cooking, and I handle the breakfast and baking. We will review some of her excellent low-sodium recipes for BBQ in future blogs, today we will focus on a baked side for that BBQ.

As is typical of most prepared foods (including those in boxes) the sodium is through the roof on just about all of these. But when you are having some low-sodium BBQ and you are still under 700 you are going to want that treat.

Sodium Content comparisons

Some mixes come in super high in sodium – Jiffy is a whopping 340 per serving – the per serving is always key, but even with the sizing similar Jiffy is still one of the highest mixes. Not to be outdone Krusteaz comes in at 390 a serving. Zatarains mix is at 350.

Our winner is Famous Dave’s which only hits 190 a serving. The serving size roughly matches the Krusteaz and Zatarians and is slightly smaller than the Jiffy.

Ease of Preparation

The mix takes into consideration using one egg as part of the recipe, and is very simple to make. You want to make sure you don’t overmix the batter, but beyond that – this took less than ten minutes to prepare.

Taste

The result is a sweet, buttery, moist cornbread that tastes very close to the “real” thing. A little no salt butter (which hopefully should not add any sodium) will add a little more flavor but is not necessary. This recipe holds up to refrigeration well, and no taste or texture was lost after a few days in the fridge.

Results

For low-sodium diets, this treat is hard to beat for taste, ease of preparation and sodium content.

The Fatigue Factor

Hello all! I hope you’ve had a symptom free week!

We all have different triggers for our Ménière’s, some are fairly easy to control, others we have a harder time dealing with. We’ll spend time on all of them, however today we’re going to look at fatigue. For me post-attack (my code for vertigo that results in physical illness) fatigue is always worse that fatigue that exists along with normal symptoms such as the tinnitus or throbbing ear fullness. However, let’s take a look at our day-to-day, non-attack fatigue first.

My wife and I decided to have kids fairly late in life, so we’re sitting in our forties with a toddler and an infant. Both children are absolutely wonderful, except of course when it is 2 am, the toddler decides to move into bed with us, and the infant starts feeling some teething pain. Factor in a stop at the bathroom at some point in the night (regardless of if you are on a diuretic or not) and that is less than an optimal sleep cycle.

I can pretty much tell from the moment the alarm goes off if lack of sleep is going to cause a problem that day. Since one of the recommendations for Ménière’s symptom relief is to lay off the caffeine, the old large cup of strong coffee is no longer an option for less than optimal sleep. My wife has done yeomen’s work with the kids on week days, since theoretically at least, we can sleep later on weekends. I am not sure what would happen if she was not redirecting the three year old back into his bed, and soothing the infant when her teeth act up.

To cope with the issues of light, we have installed blackout shades in the bedroom which help immensely. I turned the alarm clock away from the bed to avoid having that light, and essentially the phone goes face down so it does not light up at random points in the night. All that remains is a small red dot on the TV that does not seem to impact sleep.

Shifting bedtime backward works well especially if I am feeling overtired, however is not always an option as work, plus commute will occasionally land me home close to 8 p.m. which leaves little time for eating dinner, relaxing or spending time with the kids before we are back to bed to start all over again.

Speaking of the commute, if you have a commute factored into your day, this will certainly add to the mental strain increasing fatigue. Prior to my diagnosis I was working nearly three hours from home, driving in mostly bad New York City traffic. While I did change jobs to get closer to home, it shaved off an hour from the commute, and seems to help to a degree, sitting in traffic does add to fatigue no matter what. Aside from playing some light music in the car, making sure that I have some decaffeinated tea with me, there is not much else that can be done in this regards, except for to keep looking for a position closer to home.

Post-attack fatigue is a bear to deal with as your body readjusts. However I find that I am not exactly able to sleep off post-attack fatigue either. While my vitamins do have a nice amount of B-12, they do not seem to provide any assistance in getting me going the two days following a bad attack.

How do you cope with the fatigue factor? Let us know in the comments how you deal with fatigue and what you have done to get a better sleep.