Julie exudes competence, self-confidence, wisdom, peace, patience, and hope. She is able to build all of these same virtues in her patients. As Julie began to review the intake form I had filled out prior to seeing her the first time, I was immediately aware of her great knowledge about the disorder for which I was seeking treatment. Her academic knowledge was enhanced by her obvious possession of much successful experience in her chosen field. While all of these attributes are greatly sought for in looking for any healer, I was especially struck by Julie's healing nature which was expressed by her care, concern, and willingness to truly listen and respond with ideas to aid in healing. She didn't just come up with a treatment plan, she gave me other resources to help me on my path to health. She suggested books to read, tips on handling times when I was experiencing symptoms, tips on traveling with this disorder, food choice that might make a difference, and advice on how to handle reactions to activities and medications. She is both a gifted healer and teacher. She taught me about the importance of exercise and diet to aid in recovery. She suggested that I might explore dietary changes.
Every time I saw Julie, she gave me exercises to do to help me overcome my disorder and injury. The philosophy behind the exercise program she developed in one of habituation. In other words, I was to do those very things that made me dizzy in order to retrain my brain to accept those things that caused me to be out of balance with my body and my world.
As I think back over the past year, and especially over the last six months, I truly do not know what I would have done without the support, encouragement, knowledge, and help I received from this outstanding professional. It is no small thing to give one a name for something that is disrupting one's ability to cope with what is going on within one's body and brain. I learned that what I was experiencing had a name: vestibular disorder. I learned there was much to learn about the disorder itself, and I learned that the more you inform yourself about your disorder, the better equipped you will be to manage your symptoms and communicate effectively about your needs with family, friends, and health professionals.*
This past week, my husband and I traveled to the other side of the state to visit my mother. The trip itself was horrendous. The canyon roads that wind through deep canyons brought back intense vertigo. The changes in altitude as we drove over mountain passes caused pressure and fullness in my ears that added to the vertigo and nausea. I was fatigued, nearly unable to cope, my memory and concentration were disrupted as I struggled to regain some sense of equanimity in my mind and my body. Thankfully, I knew this was temporary. I knew what to do to regain some balance. I knew it would take time. I knew I needed to be patient, to pace myself, to rest. I was reminded that I should build in a recovery day when I travel. I was fine after resting a day. I am not able to drive mountain passes yet. I hope to be able to do so soon.
I know many will never understand the full scope of how this disorder has impacted my life, but I know that because just one person did know, did have the ability to diagnose and treat my symptoms, and listened to me while giving me help and hope, I am able to do those things I love to do again. That person is Julie Knoll. I will be forever grateful for her. She gave me the tools I needed to begin to recover my life. Thank you, Julie.
*Quote from brochure published by Vestibular Disorder Association