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The First Question I Googled After the POTS Diagnosis

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“What is the life expectancy for someone with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)?”

This is what I inquired of Google when I received one of my first diagnoses. It was a simple question filled with fear. I didn’t want to know what the answer was, but my curiosity outweighed the fear.

I was immediately hit with a plethora of ambiguous answers that only added to my anxiety. Some professed your lifespan wasn’t altered by the diagnosis while others spoke of losing a family member at a grievous age. This opened up a greater question for me — was it worse to have a shorter lifespan or an average lifespan spent with a nasty syndrome?

I called my cardiologist the next day and nervously asked her the same question I’d asked Google. She laughed and told me my lifespan is not believed to be altered. This caused me to introspectively examine my future dreams and goals. This new diagnosis was going to present some obstacles in achieving them, that was for sure.

When my mom took me to get prayer at our church, our pastor, trying to be kind, said there were other ways to help people, discounting my hopes of wanting to become a doctor. It took me about a year of pondering and struggling before I realized no matter how many diagnoses I would receive, there was nothing that could stop me from achieving my goals. It would just be more rewarding for me in the long run, knowing I overcame the odds and still achieved goals I had since I was a child.

It was then I decided my diagnosis would not define my identity nor my future.

Originally published: August 26, 2016
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