POTS, or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, has become something of a common term used in my everyday life. A little over 5 years ago was the first time I heard of it after being sent to a cardiologist for dizzy spells I thought were always normal. Having previously been diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and undergoing hip surgery, I was the perfect patient to be affected by POTS. Though I didn't know it then, this diagnosis would change me forever, more so than any other health issue I'd ever gone through.
POTS is a type of dysautonomia, which means my autonomic nervous system is not functioning properly causing dizziness, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, GI issues, chronic pain, fatigue, and many other symptoms. I was very fortunate to be sent to a POTS specialist before I even knew my condition was that bad. I was able to control symptoms and learn to live through medication, diet, and exercise. I some how graduated high school in the best shape I'd ever been in and left for college in 2014. This past year things haven't been as great as they once were. After taking a medical leave of absence from college for extreme GI issues, I've had to start the process all over again showing me that no matter how great life may seem to be going, POTS is still a part of me and something I have to deal with. Though I am doing so much better than I was when I left school, this past year has shown me just how much research and progress still needs to be made so people like me can go on living a normal life.
Last summer I attended a conference hosted by Dysautonomia International where I learned so much about the connections between all my different chronic diseases. I participated in a research project and got to talk to different doctors. I also met two of my best friends, Erin Harten and Taylor Kulp, who started Race to Beat POTS last year. Without them, and Dysautonomia International, I don't know where I would be. This 5k is to help benefit people like me, who rely on the research and funding Dysautonomia International provides. If you cannot attend the race, please consider donating to my fundraising team for this very important and personal cause.
For more race info go to: racetobeatpots.weebly.com
To learn more about POTS, Dysautonomia, other forms of Dysautonomia, or Dysautonomia International go to http://www.dysautonomiainternational.org/