Melissa's Story


My name is Melissa, I have POTS, and I'm a proud member of DYNA.

My symptoms started in December 2000, just two days after Christmas. On that morning, I woke up and immediately could tell something was wrong. I was extremely dizzy, sick to my stomach, lightheaded, and the room seemed to be spinning. I staggered to the kitchen where my mom was reading the newspaper, tripping and stumbling along the way. I tried to shout for one of my parents, but I couldn't seem to speak louder than a whisper. When I reached the kitchen, I passed out. My parents took me to the doctor soon after that; we were alarmed because I had never passed out before. The doctor seemed to think it was something neurologically wrong, so we went through numerous tests and scans to try to figure out the source of the problem. When none of the tests were conclusive, I was referred to a pediatric cardiologist. He was intrigued by my symptoms, and believed that it could be POTS. He told me, though, that there wasn't much information regarding POTS in his medical books, and that it was rare. I was put into the hospital in January 2001, which during I had a tilt table test done that confirmed I had POTS.

I have been tutored by the school system since I became ill, but I enjoy going into school whenever I can and catching up with my friends. It makes me sad that I've lost contact with so many people since I've been unable to go to school, but I am lucky enough to have a group of friends that stick by me through everything, and for that I feel blessed. My friends and family are the ones that keep me strong and encourage me to stay on top when I feeling like giving up. I'm so lucky to have such a supportive group of people behind me that believed in me and my illness when medical professionals didn't.

I encountered DYNA by an appointment with Dr. Grubb. He sent me home with one of the newsletters and information to contact the DYNA office, and on the whole six hour drive home I read the newsletter cover-to-cover, engrossed in the articles and poems written for and by people who knew what I was going through. It had never occurred to me that there would be an organization for people with dysautonomia- I thought I was alone. When I got home, my mother called the DYNA office and shortly after that I became a new member. I was amazed at all the members who warmly welcomed me. It was wonderful to finally have people that understood completely what I went through everyday. I've met many friends through DYNA, and I hope to stay in contact with all of them for many years to come.

I still have symptoms, but they are nowhere near as bad as they were. When I'm down in the dumps, I remember how I felt in December 2000, and I feel lucky that I haven't felt that bad in a long time. I have hope that someday I will be able to live a completely normal life without the influence of POTS. My doctors have told me that they believe I am over the worst part and I will slowly start to improve, so I am making plans to go away to college and pursue a career in the medical field. These past couple of years has led me down a long, hard road, but I believe I've become a better person in spite of it all.