Some of y’all might know that I do online school. I think the thing that most people wonder, but rarely ask, is why the heck did you switch from regular school to online school? Well, the answer is short: I was sick. And not a “dope” or “too cool for school” kind of sick, but a “I can’t get out of bed” kinda sick. I have something called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS for short. It sounds scary, but I promise it’s not. I’m doing great now that I have a diagnosis.
But getting a diagnosis wasn't easy, because POTS isn't a well-known condition. I'm writing this post today because I want to spread the word about POTS and change that fact. I don’t want attention for myself, but I do want to draw attention to POTS because there isn't enough knowledge about it. So, on to my story, which is a common one among us POTS folks: I was sick for almost two whole years with mono-like symptoms. However, mono didn’t show up in my blood tests. In fact, nothing showed up in my blood tests, so nobody believed I was sick. Not even most of the countless (well, I sort of counted, it was around 15) doctors who examined me over 2 years. Almost all of them told me that I was simply “depressed” or “whatever is wrong with me is un-medical.” Two years of doctors telling me that my illness was all in my head got frustrating. Super, super frustrating. I started to believe I wasn’t sick - even though deep down I knew that I was - which was probably the worst part of all of it.
Thankfully, my parents never gave up searching for an answer to my mystery illness, even though doctors told them I was fine. They got me into Mayo Clinic which diagnosed me within the first 30 minutes of my first appointment (although I stayed there all week for tests to confirm it).
As I said, the reason I’m writing about my journey is (1) to spread the word about POTS and (2) to help other teen girls with POTS - boys too, but it occurs mostly in teen girls and pregnant women. I'd love to spare as many people as possible from wasting weeks, months, or, like me, years of their life questioning or doubting their condition.
So if anyone (teens, younger or older) you know has the following symptoms, please let them know about POTS so they can talk to their doctor:
-racing heart -low grade fever -blue/purple legs when standing too long -extreme fatigue -headaches -fainting spells -stomach pains
These are just a few of the symptoms, but they change from person to person. I don’t want anyone to think I'm offering medical answers. What I am offering is a way to spread the word, to share my story to so others can read it and identify with it, or maybe open people’s eyes to some questions they might be able to ask their doctors who might not have had heard of POTS.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this, and for helping spread the word about POTS! If you have any questions, then feel free to leave a comment. I promise to read every single one of them!
xox ~ chloe