Saluting a New Lifestyle – Oxygen Magazine

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One morning in 2013, Navy instructor flight engineer Jennifer Suber awoke feeling dizzy and nauseated. What she initially assumed was food poisoning turned out to be a bout of vertigo that lasted for three weeks. Once the feeling subsided, she was cleared to fly and thought she’d put that behind her.

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However, a year later, she experienced a second episode. More testing revealed that she had superior canal dehiscence syndrome, a set of hearing and balance symptoms related to a rare medical condition of the inner ear. In February 2015, Suber underwent surgery but did not recover well — she required the use of a cane and a service dog, Lola, to help her walk and get around. She no longer was able to perform her job and was transferred to a limited duty squadron to be medically retired.

“In the blink of an eye, I lost my career, my independence and my identity,” says Suber, who fell into a depression that led to weight gain and alcohol abuse. “Imagine being an 18-wheeler traveling 100 mph and then hitting a concrete wall and everything crashing forward. That’s what it felt like for me.”

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