Monday, October 27, 2014

Running from POTS

Hi, I'm Amanda!  I am 36 years old and think I've just lost my mind.  I decided last week that I wanted to start running.  A little background......I've always hated running.  Running makes me feel like I'm going to die.  Chest pounding, heart skipping beats, beating so hard it feels like it will explode.  Overall, not awesome.  Common in non-runners?  Apparently so.  What did people tell me about all this?  

"You're just out of shape."  
"You'll develop endurance over time IF you can keep at it."  
"You're can handle it."  
"What do you expect?  You are inactive." (Wasn't true.)
"Well, running isn't for everyone."
"You just have to push until you get your second wind."
"Nobody ever died from running." (Also not true.)

Sound like a bunch of Indiana-hooey to you, too?

You see, I was an active kid.  I danced, played softball, and soccer.  I was a skinny kid.  Then something happened.  I hit puberty.  Something changed in me and I didn't know what it was.  Lightheadedness was my biggest symptom so the family doctor told my mom to get me some iron pills and that would take care of it.  No blood test, just an assumption.  The iron pills didn't help.  I learned to live with the "dizzy spells" as mom called them.  They were worse some days than others.  I never knew why.

I had to quit soccer both years I played after a couple of months into the season.  I started as a Forward and was a very fast sprinter (faster than many of the boys) and could run laps OK in practice, but after a number of weeks, my running ability regressed.  I felt like I would die in practice.  My coach couldn't offer any advice other than to push through it.  I tried.  After all, I had two older brothers who played baseball, football and basketball and I couldn't let them show me up.  Then, I developed shin splints.  Excruciatingly painful shin splints.  All efforts to remedy the pain were useless.  I quit soccer.  This sequence of events would repeat itself in my 8th grade year, as well.

Fast forward to about age 17 and I decided I wanted to start running.  That lasted less than 2 weeks.  Die.  I wanted to die.  What's worse than feeling like you are going to die?  Having someone tell you all of the above quotes about why you feel like you are going to die.  Not helpful.  In fact, instead of being helpful, it made me feel like a bum.  A fat, out of shape, bum.  None of which, were true.

What was my problem, then?  Why couldn't I do this simple activity that most normal people could do?  Why did aerobic activity just kill me? (I have a story about aerobics, too.)

Fast-forward to age 34 and I finally understood why.  I have P.O.T.S.  That would be Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

This would have been valuable information to have back then!  Want to know more about POTS

I'll tell more about my story of "getting sick" and my diagnosis later, but for now I want start this blog to document my quest to use running to aid my recovery from POTS and prevent relapse.  A little weight-loss thrown in would be a plus. :D

With the help of my cardiologist and the awesome Kyle (my exercise therapist who works for my cardiologist), I am well on my way.  I want to run from POTS.  Far, far away from POTS.


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