October 11, 2012

Day 11: Living at My Own Pace

One of the hardest things about being diagnosed with POTS was (is) learning to live at my own pace.  I would like to say that I’ve got it all figured out, but it’s a constant struggle.  I’m at the point where on the days I feel crummy, I know I need to cancel my plans.  But I still struggle with not over doing it on good days. 

I’m 24 (25 as of tomorrow!) and hate feeling limited by this chronic illness.  But if I take control, if I live my life at my own pace, I have much fewer issues.

I am a Special Education teacher.  I know without a doubt this is one of the things that I am supposed to be when I grow up.  I taught the 2010-2011 school year in California at the high school Grant and I attended.  It was my dream job.  But Grant was on the other side of the country, and the Army wasn’t willing to move him to California, so off to Tennessee I moved.  I was sad to leave, but there were plenty of teaching jobs in Clarksville so I wasn’t worried.  After dealing with the major HASSLE of transferring my credential and getting certified in another state, I was hired as a high school Special Education English teacher.  Everything seemed to be falling into place.  Except I was really sick.  Insert all your typical POTS symptoms and that was my life.  I was miserable.  I was barely making it through the day.  Every aspect of the situation was a bad component.

By Labor Day Weekend, I was literally too sick to work and had to start the process of resigning my job due to medical reasons.  I was devastated, but it was time to take care of my body.  Now I know what my body can handle.  Living in Clarksville, there are numerous stresses in our life.  Most are caused by the Army and the fact that our support system in all the way on the other side of the country.  My body can only handle so much on top of POTS and all these stresses.

So I reorganized my schedule.  I can volunteer with Theta, Junior League, and the local domestic violence shelter.  I can go to boot camp three times a week.  I can tutor four students 4-7 days a week.

But sometimes I have to sleep in and skip boot camp because POTS decides to show up.  And sometimes I tutor in leggings, uggs, and a sweatshirt because I feel really crummy.  And sometimes I wait to cook dinner until Grant gets home because I’m having a rough day.  And sometimes we crawl in bed really early to watch crappy tv.

But those are now the rare occasions.  Because most of the time, I can do exactly what I want—as long as I listen to my body.

Living life with POTS is about living in a world with limitations, it’s about creating a world that allows you to be successful, do exactly what you want, and still feel great (at least most of the time!).

How do you listen to your body to live a successful life?

Disclaimer: While I am sharing information I have researched, read about, and found to be helpful myself, I am not a doctor and all decisions regarding your own personal treatment should be discussed with your own doctors.  Remember, I am just a patient.

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