Monday, June 4, 2012

What do you do all day?

I get this question frequently when acquaintances realize that I've had to take a break from working due to POTS.

Well depends on the day and how adventurous I feel.

Occasionally I'll do some errands by myself. Sometimes I feel energetic and good. And sometimes I seriously consider taking a sit down break in the check-out line.

If it's a bad week, I feel successful if I feed myself 3 times a day, and exercised. I'm a rock star.

Oh, and paperwork! I'm excellent at doing paperwork. From appealing health insurance claims, to proving disability to my insurance company, to figuring how to get my doctor to correctly fill out forms, to providing enormous amounts of documentation to student loan companies. Oh yeah, bring on the bureaucracy baby. I'm not afraid of you!

Perhaps in another post I'll list out some big things I've done the last year.  Since I've developed POTS I've decided to use this time to experience new things. Despite my limited energy, I've done that.

Exercise update:

I've reached the point where I can exercise standing up. I'm so talented.

Standing can be quite exhausting for someone like me. My heart can reach speeds of 160 beats per minute just by standing still. So I have to incorporate standing exercises slowly. I've been doing standing cardio for 3 weeks now. Here's my current approach:

25 minutes recumbent bike
5 minutes elliptical.

*Initially I only spend 2 minutes on the elliptical. 

I had the gym to myself the 1st day I elliptical-ed it. Listening to peppy music I definitely threw some fist pumps in the air and sang along. It felt awesome to stand and exercise. Even if I could only do it for 2 minutes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easily manipulated by peppy music

Exercise update:

So there I am, laying on my face on the workout bench. I've finished doing quads and calves. One last set of hamstring curls remains. My internal monologe goes something like this, "girl you've significantly upped the wieght for quads and theoretically that also works them hammies. How bout we just bow out now."

"but that makes me a wuss."

"um, your legs feel like mush. and you look pathetic." (see my reflection)

"yeah you're right."

*cue ipod to begin playing peppy song on shuffle (apparently this background music to playing a FIFA videogame GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!)

"Thank you shuffle feature!!!"

"oh my gosh, girl, you are so easily manipulated by peppy music."

And then I finished my last set. Yeah!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ya, mon. Exercising is great, mon.

Did you know you can use a recumbant bike and do leg exercises in paradise? Me niether.

Working out in Jamaica is great when that's the only thing you have to do each day.

I will say POTS changed the way I vacation for now. I would've loved to go to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro. I will climb that mountain one day. Just not right now.

A. I don't have the energy.
B. Don't have the money.

Caribbean all inclusives where all I have to do is show up for meals and sit on the beach is a POTS vaca I can handle.

So how did I get my husband and I out to Jamaica?!  We did the travel all on points and miles. Thank you to daily reading on Frugal Tavel guy, the points guy, mommy points, and million mile secrets. I've got more time on my hands since I'm not working. Might as well put it to use banking up miles for travel, eh?

Exercise update:
Haven't missed a single day.

Today I recumbent biked it. I broke a new record with resistance at 5. 5?!?! At like 70 ish rpms consistently. When I started I could barely do a resistance of 1 without have to take a break!

Way to go body.

Note: I'm pleased I've been able to keep up the exercise, however at this point I haven't seen an improvement in my POTS symptoms. Doesn't mean it won't happen. Just haven't seen it yet after 6 weeks.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

1 year

It's one year since POTS happened.  March 15th. Beware the ides of March!
I went into Dr H's office and told him about a tricky patient. Dr H embodies dental praticality so I knew he would know what do. I sat down to explain what was going on. All of the sudden, I felt as if all my strength and energy dropped like a releasing dam. Everything sunk down to my fingers and toes.

I knew what that meant. I'd passed out before.

"Just so you know, I feel like I might pass out. I don't want to worry you Dr H, but I figure it's best to say something before I pass out."

Ha! That's a relaxing conversation to have eh? And thus began my POTS journey. I went home that day, and relaxed. Came back the next day and the same thing happened again. I knew something was wrong with my body.

So now what? Well, I'm still pushing to get better. I'm exercising and doing all I can to regain my strength. I'm reading up on dental continuing education. I want to be extremely knowledgable when I get back into my profession. I'm keeping up with friends and family. I volunteer at my dental school when I feel good. I'm learning how to get frequent flyer miles so I can visit people for cheap.  I'm reading great books. I just started to brush up on my Spanish. I'm growing an awesome windowsill garden.

POTS totally messed with my life course. But you know what. I'm still here and I'm at peace. I'm celebrating today.

I'm adding some of these beauties to my windowsill

These airplants get nutrients from the air and humidity rather than from dirt.

I think these guys have spunk. I love that they can grow in unusual places.

I like to think that I'm developing that skill, being able to grow despite this wierd illness.

Happy POTS-o-versary

Exercise update:
Big day yesterday! I broke 150 calories during cardio.  Ever notice that when you exercise around other people you tend to adjust your speed to thiers? This girl was trucking along and I checked out my speed. Holy smokes I was going fast! I'm bouncing against my seat my heart was pounding so hard. Slow down! S'okay!

Get excited everyone. I'll have to take a picture at the iron I'm pumping. I'm getting stronger.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Short sentence day.

Ditched big book. Too ridiculous. Reading another medieval historical fiction. Better.

Downton Abbey = evening diversion.

Ran out of toothpaste. Sorry dentist I am.

Strength : me as steel : mud

But here I continue pushing.

Exercise update:


Leg sore. 4 weights with quads. 1 weight with hammies. yay.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Learning to laugh at myself

The other day I mentioned that I did 3 things to prevent living with POTS from turning me into an angry, cynical person . (PS It was an Umbrella! Umbrella! day today. Please forgive typos and poor sentence structure. Hoping to work on that with this blog.)

Thing #1 - Watch, read, take note of stories of other people (or cute puppies) overcoming challenges.
Thing #2- Learning to laugh at myself.
Thing #3- To be revealed later. Get excited.

Learning to laugh at myself:
I'm a volunteer clinical instructor at my dental school. It's so much fun, the students like me, I like the students, I teach them stuff, lovely.

Confession: It's been a week since I could make it in to teach, despite living 6 blocks away. Thus is POTS.

The silly part is, it wasn't for lack of trying. In fact, I've gotten fully dressed every morning and I have been ready to get out the door on time. However, I'm so thoroughly exhausted getting ready each morning I end up resting all morning despite being ready to walk out the door.

And then I snicker at my predicament.

If I walked to the school in my PJs, with dragon breath, and messy hair, perhaps I'd have enough energy to get there. However, I imagine a dentist teaching would-be dentists to be dentists without brushing her teeth wouldn't go over well. I guess that's why I'm exercising everyday. So I have enough strength to brush my teeth AND go teach.

It's also a good thing I'm not crucial to the functioning of the operative dentistry course. And I'm a volunteer.

Exercise update:
Still exercising! Haven't missed a day yet.

Today was recumbent bike for 30 minutes. As I was a pedaling I thought, "why are my arms getting tired while I'm biking?!"  And then I realized, "Oh yeah, I'm reading a book."

For the record I did NOT think "Why is my heart pounding when I'm biking super slow?"

"Oh yeah I have POTS" ;)

For those curious, I'm reading World Without Endby Ken Follett, It's 1014 pages.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Human Barometer

Occasionally I'll hear "Umbrellas! Umbrellas!" outside my apartment. A very enterprising guy watches the weather closely and takes advantage of peoples' unprepared-ness. It's just part of the charm of where I live. But since I got POTS, the Umbrellas! Umbrellas! is a friendly reminder why I may not feel so awesome.

You see I am now a human barometer! Mwha-ahhahah! Sometimes I forget that weather changes bring on more POTSie-ness.

Sure enough, today, I'm building an amazing Sim City when I realize I feel dizzy and lightheaded and I'm super tired. I don't get it. I feel worse than usual and  did everything I'm supposed to.

"Umbrellas! Umbrellas!"

Oh yeah. I forgot. I'm a human barometer.

Exercise Update:
30 minutes on the bike. I had to drop down from the lofty Level 2 resistance back down to my original Level 1 at around 15 minutes. Human Barometer-ness turned my legs to jello. I'm pedaling along thinking "Wow! This is really difficult, this may be the first day I won't make it 30 minutes." And then I thought "By golly I could make it if I take it down a notch." So I did. And I made it to 30.