New Year…(Sort Of) New Samantha

Happy 2016 blog readers!! Seems like 2015 just began, and here we are! Our family rang in the new year as we always do, with matching PJ’s, a gift exchange, a yummy dinner and a trivia game that puts all others to shame. There is no place we’d all rather be than together. Trust me, I know how amazingly blessed I am to come from the family that I do. The way we love each other is just beyond. Okay, enough bragging about my wonderful family! 😉

This new year I am filled with hope, and not just the kind of “fake” hope we all fill ourselves with, with the promise a new year. This is real, genuine hope! At the end of December Dysautonomia International released an abstract regarding a study around the effects of exercise on people with POTS (the Dr. Levine protocol). This was (obviously) a controlled group of POTS patients in a very controlled environment. I want to add in the disclaimer that POTS is a very complicated condition, and no two POTS patients are the same. However, of the patients that complicated the exercise program, in addition to maintaining their medications, there was a 72% cure rate. Yes, CURE rate. These people no longer met the criteria for POTS. They no longer had the 30+ beat per minute heart rate increase upon standing. This. Is. Amazing. Additionally, almost all (the exact number escapes me) of the patients reported having an increase in their quality of life. Also, amazing. Now, before everyone jumps on the “why doesn’t everyone with POTS just do this and make themselves better??” bandwagon, let me explain…people can develop POTS from several different root causes. If the root cause is something that can be cured, then a person has a better chance of a recovery from POTS. For example, a virus. If a virus caused you to develop POTS and the virus is cured, then you stand a better shot at recovery from your POTS symptoms. We are fairly certain that this is my circumstance from my lyme and mono diagnoses. However, if you obtained POTS due to an autoimmune issue or traumatic injury to the body that is non-reversible, you are less likely to see recovery. But, there is ALWAYS hope, for all of us! I am so excited for Dr. Levine to release the specifics of this exercise protocol so I can look at it, and hop aboard! Look for future blogs tracking my journey. It is also important to note that all patients need to be followed by, and monitored by, a doctor if you take on this exercise program. Luckily for me I have a cardiologist who is super supportive, and a cousin who owns a gym…they’ll make sure I don’t fall on my face…and if I do fall, they’ll laugh, and pick me up again. If you are interested, here is the link of the abstract:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26690066

Additionally, I’ve made some pretty big decisions about my professional life that I’m very excited about! Before Christmas break I was in a funk…a big one…a major one…a massive one. I was down right miserable. I was so unhappy that there were days I actually seriously considered handing in my resignation. I started so many drafts of the letter I could fill a whole notebook. Those of you who know me personally know this is NOT in my nature, and I have a major love affair with my career. Being a teacher is part of who I am in my soul, it felt so terrible to be in that negative place in my mind. It wasn’t just one thing, it was everything…and I couldn’t get on top of it. I really think that I let the fatigue from my POTS creep into my head and it totally reeked havoc. I needed this break to refocus, re-energize, and really think about what I want…stay tuned for a new year of changes in this arena too! Big things are coming…POTS be damned!

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Other than that, I’m just ready to take on 2016 with an open mind ready for health and changes. As I reflect on how I feel today versus how I felt a year ago…I’m not even the same person. I have made so many strides forward. I have WAY more good days than bad…and isn’t that the ultimate goal?! I’m proud of myself for 2015, and I’m ready to tackle 2016 with the same open heart and mind.

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Happy New Year!!

 

 

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