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Life with POTS

Kaelyn, age 19, New York

I was a healthy normal teenage girl until age 15. Then on August 22nd, I ended up passed out on my stairs. The paramedics took me to the closest hospital which was 20 minutes away. I got sent home thinking it was low iron or dehydration. 4 hospitals, 7 doctors, 8 cities, 4 states, 2 neurologist, 2 cardiologist, 1 rheumatologist, and tons of tests later... nothing was wrong. No seizures or anything. So I started physical therapy in hopes of building myself back up for figure skating.

Orthostatic intolerance tested positive eventually between these doctors around October but the physical therapist helped with that. A year after that was diagnosed, I still wasn't back to figure skating. I was just weak and it was exhausting just to do school let alone sports, but I loved skating. By this time, I was a high school sophomore and hoping to be back on the ice. The joke was on me. I was off the ice until the summer of my junior year started. That's when the orthostatic intolerance started healing and getting better or so I thought.

Little did I know after I started college and got into my freshman year that I would have a flare up. I got transported back to the cardiologist and sure enough the POTS test was positive. Instead of testing for my gold dances in skating, I got to sit in my hospital room with a diet Pepsi and salted popcorn. I built myself back up, but never got back to where I was. I'd wake up and have to sit. Go to Starbucks and sit. Drive back to my dorm and stop in the lobby. Then I'd be exhausted. Other days I'd go out to the gym and walk to Starbucks off campus with my friends. Then we'd have a picnic at the beach and spend the day playing beach volleyball and swimming. I wasn't tired until that night. The next day I was a little tired but my liquid IV helped me.

I hated not having a college life. Instead I was the girl in bed on Fridays - not drinking or out dancing. I was in my dorm exhausted after barely making it through my morning shower or my second class. I learned a lot from all my doctors about the disorder that I now have for life. Instead of carrying a purse, I keep an emergency POTS pack in my car and backpack. It has water, a mini fan, pretzels, sour patch kids, Oximeter, Liquid IV packets, instant ice pack, and mini chocolates.

POTS took over my life a long time ago but any control I take back is what POTS won't have anymore. POTS took long walks on the beach, college parties, late nights, and more from me. Teenage girls & women shouldn't have to suffer migraines, fainting, brain fog, fatigue, and more POTS like symptoms on top of period cramps, work issues, or other illnesses. I don't want POTS, but like it or not I'm stuck with it.

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