Blog, POTS

Some thoughts on POTS

What is it really like to have POTS

POTS is a tough condition to have. I won’t sugar coat that. Constantly feeling light-headed and sick is really hard, especially because there is no known cure/good treatment available. Every day I am affected by POTS, though some days are worse than others.

But through my experience with POTS, I have learned so much, and this is why I felt inspired to start a blog to share my insight with others. I don’t want anyone to feel discouraged or alone if they are going through the same thing.

I was diagnosed with POTS in January of this year (2017), after many doctors’ visits and medical tests. POTS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, is a neurological condition where the regulation of your heartrate and blood pressure does not function properly. Upon standing, patients experience a rapid increase in heart rate, leading to dizziness, fainting, fatigue, headaches, and a host of other symptoms.

There is fairly little known about POTS, so doctors are experimenting with different treatments to see what works best to relieve symptoms. This can be frustrating when different doctors are telling you different things about treating your condition. Some of the treatments for POTS include: exercise, increased salt intake, wearing compression stockings, increased fluids, and medication to regulate heart rate and blood pressure (ex. Beta Blockers).

Prior to being diagnosed with POTS, I was an avid rock climber, traveler, and hiker. Anything active and outside, I loved it. I liked to compete in climbing competitions and dreamed of being a professional climber.

When I became sick, I had to take 4-5 months off of rock climbing. Every time I tried to climb, I would become very dizzy, faint, and shaky. This was very difficult for me.

I was also finishing my last semester of college, and I barely made it through. Being on my feet was close to impossible. I felt incredibly sick, all the time. Doing things like laundry, cooking, and cleaning were so hard! Somehow, I pulled through and was able to finish.

Later, I was prescribed a beta blocker, which helped me feel well enough to do everyday tasks. I still felt sick, but there was a marked improvement in my quality of life. I started to climb again, and I am still climbing. Not with the same intensity of before my sickness, but I push myself because of my love for the sport.

Some days, I go to the gym and I have to leave after 5 minutes because I start to pass out or get too dizzy. Other days, I push through the light-headedness and fatigue and get a decent work out in. It is a constant battle, but I’m not willing to give up.

Aside from my climbing, I graduated from college with a degree in marketing, and now hold a full-time job in software sales. I’m living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Though POTS makes life really difficult, I am determined to defy the odds and continue enjoying my life and doing what I love.

I definitely have cried countless times, and felt discouraged, sad, and frustrated with the challenges I’m facing. Sometimes, I have a difficult time not being jealous of other people’s health. But when I become down, I chose to lift my head up and to keep trying. I want to encourage others to do the same.

It is possible to live a happy life and still work towards your goals and passions if you have POTS.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below!

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