October 31, 2011

After 4.5 years....a DIAGNOSIS!

Most of you know that ever since I had my appendix taken out in February of 2007 during my second year at UC Davis, I have been pretty sick off and on. I have developed a lengthy list of life threatening food allergies and been plagued with symptoms that have knocked me off my feet, interrupted relationships, forced me to resign my job, and made me spend countless hours in doctors offices.

I've seen more doctors than I can count, and provided more vials of blood than most people do in a lifetime. I've seen specialists and a holistic healer, tried various medications, and spent countless hours on wikipedia trying to diagnose myself when all my doctors could not figure it out. The diagnosis they all seemed to settle on was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A very real, and debilitating disease. However, I've always felt like a piece was missing. Some of my symptoms could not be explained, and I have still been having these frightening episodes where I feel like I'm going to pass out/start to pass out. Grant has spent more time then he should have to taking care of me, and my family-specifically my mom- has spent countless hours supporting me, listening to me, and going to appointments with me.

Last week, I was on the phone with my doctor at the Vanderbilt Integrative Health Center and she said that POTS was something we should consider. When I called my primary care doctor to discuss it, the receptionist thought I was calling to ask for a marijuana test for myself. As with any new suggestion from the doctor, I had to google it. I didn't even know what POTS stood for. Thanks to wikipedia, I now know that POTS stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. If you want to read about it...click here! Basically, it's a problem with my central nervous system where my body has trouble maintaining homeostasis when changing positions or if I am standing up or sitting up for too long. My blood pressure drops and my heart rate goes up. These effects can cause a whole host of things to happen and according to the wikipedia article can even cause chronic fatigue syndrome.

There are treatments though! First, I have to drink more water than usual, and increase my salt intake. I need to keep swimming, but be careful not to overdo it. And keep taking the medicine I am already on. The mayo clinic says that a neurologist is the specialist that will help treat this syndrome, but I'll learn more about that tomorrow when I meet with my primary care doctor.

Here's a video mom found on youtube that helps explain POTS.

After 4.5 years of searching for an answer...I am so happy to finally have one!

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