As I have been open about sharing in previous blog posts, I was diagnosed with epilepsy back in June 2019. However, what I have not shared as of yet is a recent battle with vertigo, along with additional tests with Mayo Clinic that uncovered what they describe as brainstem and cerebellar dysfunction that has made life a little “extra interesting” since December. I think it sounds a lot more serious than it is! That said? My combination of epilepsy and brainstem and cerebellar dysfunction makes me one of approximately 400 individuals in the United States who are dealing with both conditions. And if you factor in the number of individuals who are experiencing both conditions AND who are left-handed (important, as the brains of us left-handers are often wired a bit differently than our right-handed counterparts)? Let’s just say that we could charter a bus and head down to Phoenix or San Diego…preferably from November 1 to March 31! 🙂
I have experienced mild dizziness, along with a chronic headache, every day of my life since Thanksgiving Day 1991. The day I suffered a severe concussion playing football. Being knocked unconscious, only to awaken with my nose under my left eye (with a horrified look on the faces of approximately ten people standing in a circle above me). That said, my dizziness has been much worse since suffering two days of severe vertigo back in December. So I was told I needed to see the “dizzy doctor” in neurology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. But before my visit with the doctor? I had to try and squeeze a couple more new courses played into my course collection!
My first course on the day was at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau Middle School in Galesville, Wisconsin. Some really short holes, and a few longer holes. Though from the perspective of safety? Holes 1, 3, 4 and 5 were a bit concerning. Throwing over a parking area, and throwing along walking trails and that same parking area. My guess is that it is a course that does not get played much outside of evenings, weekends and the Summer…as there were no signs of anyone playing that course since there has been a snowpack! Though I enjoyed my quick round. Minus having to play a bit of “Where’s Waldo” when trying to locate the Hole 4 basket from the Hole 4 tee. Shot a -7 (20) over nine holes.
My second round on the day was at Melrose Ball Field in Melrose, Wisconsin. If I had some concerns about safety at the course in Galesville, my concerns were unfortunately magnified about ten-fold in Melrose. Lots of tight fairways throwing immediately next to ballfields, fenced-off private property, throwing over picnic shelters, etc. Holes 4 and 7 MIGHT have been holes I would consider to be “safe!” But on a windy day and/or with a player lacking skill or accuracy off the tee? Even those two holes might have been iffy. If those ballfields and shelters are used on a regular basis, and people drive/park along the road adjacent to Hole 9, I think that course might eventually be pulled from the ground. I didn’t even try to run chains or set up deuces on Holes 1, 3, 8 and 9…as it wasn’t worth the risk. I think I managed a -3 (24) over nine holes, which sounds terrible for another short course! But I really didn’t want to be representing DGA, hopping into people’s backyards (over their fence) or explaining to people why my disc damaged their car. 🙁
After sneaking in those two courses, it was time to meet with the dizzy doctor! And after 8-10 tests, he said my problem is entirely related to my eyes, not my inner ears. My vision is fine! It’s just that my eyes aren’t working in sync with one another…making things blurry and intensifying the strength of my headaches. A bit more therapy in my future! And if you see me wearing glasses this Spring? Now you’ll know why. Even though I still have 20/20 vision.
Magic Number = 466 (1,534 Courses Played)
About Tonn’s Travels
How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >>
A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.
Derek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA, the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.