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The Indispensable Life Lessons My POTS Has Taught Me

I will never forget March 3.

That was the day my life changed. It was the day I was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which is also known as POTS. Following a year of tachycardia and a week-long period of time when I was couch-ridden, I never knew that POTS could be so life changing.

We got a call from the hospital saying that the doctor had a cancellation. I cried tears of joy, but I was extremely apprehensive due to the fear of the unknown. That fear is inevitable.

I walked into the patient room and was rattling off my symptoms as the doctor marked them off on a POTS checklist: syncope, headache, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia and brain fog to name just a few. I then proceeded to the dreaded orthostatic test.

For many, this noninvasive test isn’t a big deal, but for a POTS patient like myself, it can feel like the death of us. I stood as still as a statue for 10 minutes while my feet turned red and my whole body was shaking. It looked as if my feet were extremely bruised.

After the test, I had the opportunity to lie back down and get redressed as the doctor continued to speak to me about my future. He told me three words that changed my life:

“You have POTS.”

I instantly felt a sign of relief after suffering for two years, but I didn’t know what my future would bring. He then proceeded to rattle off a list of medications and lifestyle changes that I would have to adapt for the rest of my life. 

After that appointment, I walked out of the hospital feeling like I was on Cloud 9 from the excitement of having an answer. What I didn’t know is that POTS would continuously be debilitating. 

Each day, I live with POTS. I live with the fear of the unknown and the apprehension of not knowing what the day will bring. Through living with this condition, I have learned that your best friends aren’t the ones who have known you the longest, but the ones who have never leave your side. While this isn’t the way I ever thought my life would be, it has made me stronger than I ever thought I could be. 

And for that, I thank you, POTS, for showing me the good in life and teaching me indispensable life lessons. 

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

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