Woman left feeling permanently seasick after holiday cruise

Ceri Roberts
Woman left feeling permanently seasick after holiday cruise
Woman left feeling permanently seasick after holiday cruise

A Berkshire woman has told how she has been left feeling permanently seasick after a two-week cruise to Hawaii in January 2008.

Michele-Marie Roberts told BBC News that she is suffering from a rare condition called Mal de Débarquement Syndrome (MdDS) - and very little is known about why it occurs or how to cure it.

Michele-Marie says that her symptoms began as soon as she stepped onto dry land. She told BBC News: "I walked down the gangplank and collapsed - completely blacked out. I got the flight back home and I was staggering all over the shop. I was slurring my speech - on one occasion I blacked out while chopping vegetables."

She explains: "It's like the disorientating feeling you get after coming off a waltzer at the fair - all the time. It's horrendous. You think you're going bonkers when you have MdDS. You feel so isolated. The doctors did tests on me and there's very little they can do."

Ms Roberts believes that she was predisposed to the syndrome because she was a woman in her 40s who suffered from migraines - a link that was suggested by researchers in 2009.

She's now been feeling seasick for five years, and says her marriage ended because she could no longer look after her two autistic sons, leaving her husband to become a full-time carer.

The symptoms are particularly bad when she's stressed, when shopping in supermarkets or when using a computer. But vigorous exercise, like swimming, diving and Zumba, as well as driving, can help to alleviate the swaying sensation. She now exercises for at least two hours per day to minimise the symptoms.

Unsurprisingly, she says that she will never go back on a boat - not least because there's a chance that it could make her symptoms worse.

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