onwards and upwards

It’s well over 2 and a half years since my diagnosis. And an age since my last blog post! I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time, but life has got rather busy. So much has happened!

My partner and I have bought a lovely house, which wasn’t as stressful as I’d expected, apart from the multiple gas leaks, holes in the roof and co-ordination of various tradespeople. I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy all our hard work in the coming year, now all the major work has been completed.

I also suffered one of the other delights of living with pots and hyper mobility-dislocated knees! (Yes, two!) I often get partial dislocations but never before have I actually dislocated something. It was flipping painful, especially the first time where we were in the middle of nowhere on a walk, and they really do take a long time to heal.

Despite this, I am still trying to walk at every opportunity, as it is the main form of exercise that I can tolerate. It’s also been fun exploring the area we have moved to through walking.

The first injury coincided with our house buying, and it all culminated in a bit of a flare-up. This then resulted in me making the difficult decision to go from full time to working 4 days a week. I do feel so lucky to have been able to manage for so long full time. But I realise now I’ve moved out of my parents house I’ll need to be able to manage my symptoms much more carefully. And anyway, I was finding I was having to call in sick a few times purely due to PoTS, and that alone stresses me out meaning my flare up gets worse!

Working part time has allowed me to be able to look after myself much more, and rest when I need to. This means I have that little bit more energy to do interesting things with my weekend, as I know I will be able to rest during the week. I’m also very strict with my days off-I do the absolute bare minimum which means I can nap whenever I want and usually feel much more able to get through the week. I’m usually too exhausted to do anything even if I wanted to anyway!

I feel I’ve come so far, both physically and mentally, since I last wrote a blog post. I’m comfortable with the fact that my career has taken a different path, and whilst I’ll always think about how life could have been, that’s ok. Life is different, but in a good way. Perhaps I’m able to enjoy life a little more, in the slow lane. Seeing things from the perspective of someone with a chronic illness has certainly made me realise how lucky I am, and I can’t really say I have any regrets. Yes I have been on a huge learning curve, one which I am still learning from today, but I am thankful for every day, no matter what it brings.

feeling accomplished!

So, I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of this PoTS thing. For the first time in ages I finally feel like I’m recovering and I definitely think that this is down to the exercise I’m able to do now. I honestly can’t believe how much more active I can be now; I’ve not used my wheelchair or commode for over a month.
I’m so relieved to be able to say goodbye to the wheelchair. I know I have it if I ever need it again and it’s been such a help, allowing me to carry on with life and get out and about, but I’m certainly not missing it! I’m also able to cycle on my exercise bike for half an hour most days which feels pretty amazing!

The big news though is that earlier this week I managed my first run since last November. I say run, I’m sure most people could walk faster if I’m honest. It was harder than any run I’ve done before and very slow; I didn’t get very far, but at least it’s a start. My heart rate went sky high but thankfully recovered after half an hour or so of lying down drinking water by the pint! I’ve had to tailor my exercise regime around when my highest dose of Ivabradine is due so that I’m getting maximum benefit from my medication.

I’m feeling so much better at the moment which I’m putting down to the fact that I’ve been able to increase the amount of exercise I do. I feel almost human again! I’m mainly only struggling with the extreme fatigue, lack of appetite and nausea and I had a pretty bad bank holiday Monday as I woke up vomiting but I didn’t feel too unwell after so can’t really complain.

Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here!

on yer bike

I’ve not written in a while because the last fortnight has passed in a blur. I woke up the day after my last blog post and madly decided to take the next step: exercise! I have seen research that claims exercise is the single best thing you can do to manage PoTS symptoms, but knew this would be impossible to start without the help of drugs to allow me to tolerate exercise.

As I was now on medication I decided the time was right and it felt good to unpack all my old running gear (yes I still hadn’t unpacked them from when we moved house!).  I’ve started on an exercise bike because I can sit down and go as slow as I want. I’m not going to see the benefits for months yet, so it will be worth it in the long term, although realistically in the short term it’s leaving me worse off. 5 mins on the exercise bike is leaving me in bed for the rest of the day!

My eventual aim to to be able to run again but the eight month plan I downloaded from the dysautonomia international website for PoTS patients advises to wait until month 5 at least before starting upright exercise.  It feels good to have something to work towards though, and it feels like I’m achieving something positive.