Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Birthday-3 years with my new POTS "normal"

*Dropping heart rate-check
*Rising BP-check
*Short of breath-check
*Blurred vision-check
*Brain fog-check

All is "normal".

It's amazing after living with POTS for three years I've grown quite accustomed to my new POTSy "normal". Going from a healthy energizer bunny type to a blechy couch potato is not meant for the "faint"hearted (ha-ha-ha). I began this journey on a retreat in Big Bear on April 27th 2008, with a quick diagnosis on May 7th 2008. It's been quite a journey and I've learned allot from it.

The first two years I feel were the hardest for me. I compare it to being a new mom the first couple months with my new born son Sean. Every squeak, whimper, cry or rise in temperature he had I imagined as a major catastrophe that needed an immediate consultation with his pediatrician. My son's pediatrician was a Saint. I've mellowed out a bit since then, which I'm sure my current doctors appreciate. Fear was a constant with POTS. Each symptom was frightening and filled me with a sense of constant gloom and doom. Who wouldn't freak out a bit when your heart rates goes from normal (50's) then drops in the 30's in seconds, only to be followed by a a sharp rise to 160's within a minute. I thought for sure I was going to die. The symptoms of POTS are scary and bazaar! It also doesn't help to have an illness that is rare. Most doctors don't know how to treat it, and it can be frustrating to hear your doctor say he doesn't have a clue as to how to treat you. The thing that has saved me is the awesome group of fellow POTSies who have shared their experiences and helped me to realize that what my body was doing is "normal" for POTS.

My new "normal" I now wear like an old favorite sweater. After experiencing freaky heart rates and blood pressure on a regular basis and the deluge of regular POTS symptoms, I no longer freak out. I always remind myself it could be much worse; feeding tubes, catheters and being bed ridden. Knowing how bad it could be truly makes me appreciate living in the now.

H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y P O T S ! ! !
3 years old and waiting for a cure.


Matthew 6:34
"So don't be anxious about tomorrow, God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust!

Bowm...bowm....bowm.... Another one bites the dust! Another favorite past time has bit the dust, and another ones gone and another ones gone and another one bites the dust! I'm so glad there's music to soften the blow. The barbecue is now off limits to this temper"mental" POTSy body of mine.

The weather was perfect yesterday (low 70's). Most of my family was home, so I decided it was a perfect time to light up the barbecue and cook up some mouth watering steaks and buttery roasted potatoes. As I was flipping the steaks and cooking up potatoes the smell of the smoke just shut down my lungs and sent my body instantly into a POTSy crash. I haven't crashed in a while, so it took me by surprise. I should have foreseen this coming this winter when I would step outside while neighbors had their fireplaces burning. My lungs would go into instant shut down and I'd have to hurry into the house. These things always seem to catch me off guard. Last year I didn't have a problem with the barbecue, so why this year?

I've been Little Miss BBQ chef since I was 10 years old. I love hovering over food on the grill until it's cooked to perfection. Swatting at onlookers to step away from grill so that I can do my barbecue magic. Followed by accolades from friends and family of my mad barbecue skills!

I guess it's time to pass my beloved barbecue tools and blessing to the next generation barbecue chef, my son Sean. Sean, may you never burn a single meal, may your meat be cooked to perfection, and may your food be cooked with perfect grill lines.


Exodus 29:41
And the other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it the same grain offering as the morning and the same libation, for a soothing aroma, and offering by fire to the Lord.
I always wonder if God loves a good barbecue? I'm looking forward to cooking up a great barbecue feast when I'm in heaven!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Super Teacher vs. Super Wimp!

I often believe that there are two separate people living inside this POTSy body of mine. They seem as opposite as night and day. The super teacher whose strong and making a difference in the world. I can comfort a weeping five year old in her arms one moment then sing the peanut butter song with hand motions and dancing the next. Then there's the super wimp who can't walk up a set of stairs at church without being dizzy and out of breath by the time I get to the top. My classroom life and my home life are so different that I'm always aware of the contrast. Yesterday I had a 20 minute chunk of time that seemed super human or super teacher. As I recall each incident I shake my head in disbelief that I was the one who did all those things. Here's a play by play of that chunk of time;

Finished a K-W-L chart on oceans with the class.
Made out a nurses pass for a sick student.
Refill the baby wipe container.
Corrected six papers with students.
Helped a student figure out how to get an answer to a math problem.
Tied a shoe.
Stop two running students and mark their behavior charts.
Checked the bathroom for urine on the floor after a student complaint.
Called custodian for a clean up of urine on bathroom floor.
Wash the eyes and hands of student who got bubbles in his eyes.
Comforted a crying student.
Settled an argument between two students over crayon stealing.
Picked up some trash and a backpack from the floor (which is a never ending job).
Quieted the class twice with a clapping chant.
Directed several students to get back to their seats and get to work.
Unhooked a child's earring that got stuck on the earphones to the listening center.
Corrected seven more papers.
Called clean up and gave positive complements to those following the rules.
Excused the class for lunch.

Now compare this with this mornings trip to the mall.

Park in front of Target.
Walk into the store and pick up four items (including my happy chicken free range eggs) all on the first floor of the store.
Wait in a line of only two people to pay for my items.
Walk back to my car.
Drive to a handicapped parking place in front of Macy's because I'm already pooped.
Walk straight to the make-up department on the first floor.
Purchase my foundation for my pasty white face.
Walk back to my car.
When I get outside the store I'm ready to curl up on a bench, I'm so tired.

My classroom time described above is a little over twenty minutes, but I had been working in my classroom since 7:20 that morning.

By the time I get to the staff parking lot at the end of the day I feel like I've been hit by a bus full of kindergartners. I'm too tired to have a social life outside of my classroom. I know the reason I'm able to work is because God has a purpose for me there. Every day I pray that I can somehow live out that purpose. Being human I often fall short. There are days when the stresses of the classroom make me wish for Friday to come so I can rest on the weekend. I'm not sure why I do that, I'm most "normal" when I'm at work. I feel like I'm almost living up to my potential at work. Why wish that time away?

Super Wimpy Michele

Philippians 3:13-14
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.