One Woman’s Chronic Exhaustion Was a Sign of a Serious Medical Issue

Katie Davies noticed that she was constantly fatigued around the age of twelve, right when she started puberty. She remembers her quality of her life completely crumbling.

In a recent interview with Cosmopolitan talks about her life as a medial mystery. While her family thought she was moody from starting her period, her exhaustion eventually landed her in the hospital. After standing up from a nap too quickly, Katie fainted in her Ohio home. Not only did she have a serious fainting spell, but she also had a rapidly fluctuating heart rate and blood pressure. All her tests in the hospital were normal, so the doctors and nurses sent Katie home- without a diagnosis.

Katie remembers being stuck on a mattress on her living room, and having her mother “do everything” since she could barely sit up on her own. She lived an entire year without leaving her house, and skipped sixth grade all together.

At the age of thirteen, Katie had gone in for a tilt-table test for her heart, and was finally diagnosed with dysautonomia — a condition in which the “automatic” functions of the body that don’t require our conscious control, like temperature regulation, digestion, blood pressure, and heart rate failure. Her type of dysautonomia known as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS, is incurable, and effects up to 1 in 100 teenagers and up to 3 million Americans, many of which are young women at childbearing age.

Katie told Cosmopolitan that she was “obviously happy to hear a doctor tell me I’m not crazy”, she was most disappointed to learn that there was no cure. “You want something you can fix, not something you have to live with for life.”

For Katie, she had an uphill battle finishing her education and dealing with her diagnosis. She slept through many of her high school classes, although her teachers were sensitive to her plight and understanding. However, she did not have such luck with some of her classmates. She feared telling her peers because they may not have actually believed something was medically wrong with her.

“It’s so hurtful to tell someone what you’re going through and have them not believe you because you look fine,” she says.

Today, Katie is happily married to her high school sweetheart, and they are building their first home together. She dreams of having children through surrogacy or adoption and finally fulfilling her lifelong dream of being a mom.

Though she cannot be active for more than three minutes and requires a wheelchair to get around, Katie remains optimistic and grateful for her good support system. She keeps busy with projects around the house and by taking care of herself, with treatments such as fluids, compression socks, and consuming enough sodium.

Katie is grateful for her support system, particularly for her husband and family. “That’s why I’m happy today,” she says. Katie is truly an inspiration for anyone struggling with a chronic illness, as it is incredibly brave of her to share her story.

[H/T: Cosmopolitan]

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