Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm Melting!

It's that time of the year again. Time to write my blog on heat and dysautonomia. Thankfully Southern California has been behind the times for hot Summer weather. Every day I said a prayer of thanks for the unseasonably cool Summer and dreading the day when the temperature would rise above 80 degrees. That dreaded day has finally come, and it's brought along a friend named humidity just to rub it in.

Heat has become one of my biggest enemies. When the temperatures go up my POTS symptoms soar right along with it. Hello increased heart rate, dropping bp, head aches, fatigue, shortness of breath, the increase chance of fainting, and that all so wonderful polly juice experience of my blood feeling like it's bubbling just below my skin. At times I feel like the witch from The Wizard of Oz, screaming "I'm melting!". Just my face whispering from a puddle that once was my body.

I do have a few weapons to help me fight the heat. I love my Artic Heat ice vest, a bit ugly but very cool. I just pull it out of the freezer when I need to take short trips outdoors or when I can't seem to cool my house down (I don't have central AC so I depend on two room AC's). I drink lots of water, so much that if you poke a few holes in me I convert to a watering can. I take extra salt tablets because I'd have to eat 5 bags of potato chips to get the salt I need. I stay indoors like a hermit and shut my house up like a bat cave. If it gets really bad I take a cool shower imagining I'm taking a swim at a luxury hotel with a cabana boy waiting to hand me my towel, a girl can dream! The heat is also a good excuse to load up on chocolate ice cream and mango smoothies. And most important,I say a prayer that God keeps me safe on these difficult days. Preparing for a hot day is much like preparing for a trip abroad, if you forget one important detail ( a passport or salt tablets) and your day or your trip can go very wrong.


Isaiah 25:4-5
For Thou has been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat, for the breath of the ruthless is like a rain storm against a wall. Like heat in drought. Thou dost subdue the uproar of aliens; Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Elephant in the House

Some time in my teen hood I realized I was not like all those other teens striving to fit in. I wasn't normal nor was there anything about me that seemed to fit societies picture of "normal". I lived in a home where a giant white elephant tromped around my house (alcoholism). Everyone around me tip toed around the house trying their best not to disturb the elephant and acting as if the elephant didn't exist. Thinking I was the only person in the world living with a white elephant I put myself in the "abnormal" category and I saw everyone around me as "normal". It kind of gave me the freedom to allow myself to be different, to dress different and free of having to meet the social expectations of everyone around me. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized that pretty much everyone has some version of an elephant living in their home and that "normal" is shaped by our perception.

I know living with a white elephant has prepared me for my journey with POTS. Growing up never knowing what to expect from one moment to the next has definitely prepared me for the varying symptoms of POTS. Feeling barfy one day then not barfy the next but experiencing heart rates in the 150's all day instead. Growing up feeling like no one could ever understand what it's like to live with a white elephant is similar to having POTS where most doctors don't understand what I have so how can I expect those around me to get it either (though it does help to communicate and educate those around me). Living in a home where things were pretty bad most of the time I learned to find joy in the little things around me. Seeing a beautiful flower on the way to school turned a really tough morning into a very special one. Being able to find joy in the most unusual places has helped me cope with those difficult POTSy days. Maybe being a POTSy mom is my children's white elephant. I can only pray that it does change their character. That it shapes them into caring empathetic adults. I hope they can appreciate every moment and look for the rainbow at the end of a storm.

I have a great teaching job, a nice home, a decent car, a son and a daughter who are working and attending college, two dogs and a cat. From the outside I don't look sick and seem to fit in societies idea of "normal". I don't believe I was born to be normal or ordinary. POTS isn't normal or ordinary either. So Michele and POTS seem to be a perfect match.

Inspired to be extraordinary.

Ecclesiastes 7:14
In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider God has made the one as well as the other so that man may not discover anything that will be after him.