Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Shortness of Breath ~ Dysautonomia

I am rather tired of this S.O.B. interrupting my life. I am referring to the shortness of breath, but the pun was totally intended. Enough already I say!

It never fails that my body decides to go wonky on Thursday, which happens to be the day my PCP is out of the office. Then Friday rolls around and I feel a bit better so I suck it up and reassure myself this will go away soon. You know how things can change minute to minute with these defunct nervous systems. Then I usually put it off and the weekend comes and I am either miserable waiting for the office to open on Monday or I am beyond whatever was initially ailing me and on to something completely different by then. You all know what I am talking about here, right?

Well this time I was not feeling better, but actually worse on Friday. I bit the bullet and called to see the doctor. It took me until after lunch to decide to call, but I was really not feeling like this was letting up. I know that I looked like the classic anxiety patient and I even told my doctor just that. When you come in looking shaky, short of breath, high heart rate and B/P and a mouth so lacking spit that you have to take a sip of water every couple sentences just to peel you tongue off of the roof of your mouth to speak, that is screaming anxiety. As a former nurse I totally realize that. As a person with a messed up autonomic nervous system (POTS) it means something totally different. I am not in a dark alley with a masked gunman, so can you stop this unnecessary adrenaline already. Enough is enough.

He reassures me that he knows that this is not just anxiety and that I am indeed sick and that we need to find some answers. What is causing this dysautonomia? We talked about some of the other things going on: lymph nodes, chest pains and the spinal cord issue. He then asks me if I have heard of sarcoidosis. Hmmm! (Not sure where this will end up.)

I left his office just as messed up as when I came. I huffed and puffed my way through a chest X-ray and lab tests and was sent on my way. He said they would call with the results on Monday. Well it is now Tuesday evening and I still have not heard anything. That must mean that everything came back normal or things are so bad that he is afraid to call me. Okay, that was not near as funny as intended.

It is a good thing that by Friday night I was feeling better. It felt like a switch was turned off and my body just slowed down like it was suppose to. No longer was my heart rate over 100 at rest and the other symptoms let up to my normal level of messed up. Whew ~ that was a long couple of days. I have learned to deal with feeling like dog doo when I am standing, but don't mess with my sitting also. Laying down 24/7 is not on my to-do list. That may sound like I think I am totally in control and I've got this. Not! I am completely humbled in knowing that I am so not in control and that Jesus is. I may fuss and not always like what is happening with my body, but I am so thankful and joyful for everything I do have in my life. Another thing that I am sure of is that Jesus has a sense of humor, just look at me! Humor is great medicine and I intend on using it to keep things real. Humor and sarcasm are close kin, right?

I don't get freaked out anymore about the dizziness, nausea, shakiness, weakness, pain, impending doom fatigue and all of the other junk I deal with, but I do not want to have to get used to being short of breath on any regular basis. It really stinks.

Hopefully I will get my results soon. Not that I expect any answers at this point. Actually it feels that I may never get any. I know that answers do not mean I will get better, but it may stop the doctors from poking ad prodding at me. Keepin' Hope Alive!


  1. Shortness of breath was one of the symptoms that finally sent me to the doctor and ended up keeping me in bed. I still get it when I am doing particularly poorly, but it has improved. It is a sign that I need to lie down and rest. I hope you have a better day soon.

    1. Thank you! I am feeling better. I am sorry to hear that you also have to deal with this. It is indeed NO fun. Laying down is indeed the answer and my stubbornness is not.


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