My name is Katie and I have POTS and EDS.
They say the first step is acknowledgment.
Well, this week, I forgot that
major minor detail.
Being Friday, it has now come back to haunt me, as I lay here more fatigued and achy than I have been in a while.
I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t even exercised since Monday. I have taught, stayed at school later than I should have, come home, and collapsed on the couch each afternoon.
The big one came today at noon…the inevitable crash that comes after my body has had it. The brain fog, the fatigue, the joint pain, the super low blood pressure, the headaches, the dizziness, the gastroparesis, the tachycardia…
I could no longer pretend that I could work without limits. My body had hit THE wall.
I knew that this week would be an adjustment, being my first week back to school. But I thought that I would have been able to better juggle rehab, work, and all of the other day-to-day happenings that make life, well…LIFE.
I was wrong. I learned today that even though it has been 2 years since I became sick, I still must give my body the time and LOVE it needs to adjust to a new routine.
Well, that is my plan next week. I will be more forgiving of my body and my limits. I will ask for help when I need it. I will add in small amounts of exercise until I’m back to where I was this summer without work. I will take the time to rest and eat well. I will drink more fluids and leave school earlier. This weekend, I will allow my body to rest and “reset” so I can greet my kids on Monday with a refreshed, “Good Morning.”
With that being said, I don’t want you to think that this entire week was a struggle. I did experience quite a few victories this week…
I fell in love with my 19 kindergarteners.
The child who cried and wouldn’t enter the classroom on the first day gave me a bear hug and told me she loved school today.
My team teacher brought it to my attention that I had no assistant on Fridays, and wondered if I had thought about what I would do if I was in the classroom by myself and had an episode. (I had convinced myself that I would be okay, but hadn’t thought much about it beyond that). She went on to rattle off how I may have 5 fine Fridays but that the 6th one may be a sick Friday for me because POTS and EDS are unpredictable, and I never know when the flares will hit…She continued to talk about what if I needed to lie down, or remove myself, or eat a blast of salt…I just sat back, and listened with goosebumps. At that moment I realized that not only did she care, but she understood. Like, REALLY understood. Every time I realize someone “gets it,” it feels like a mountain has been moved. (Thank you, Zondra.)
Knowing she was right, I sucked up my pride and stubbornness, and dragged my heels to the office to talk to my principal today. I asked her for a procedure or plan for Fridays if I became sick and needed help. She apologized all over the place, saying that she should have given me an assistant every morning, it was an over sight on her part, and next week I would have an assistant working with me all five mornings for the rest of the year. I told her that I didn’t come to ask for a permanent Friday assistant, but she stopped me mid-sentence and said, “Katie you have one, and I am glad you came to me. We want you here, we need you here, and I will do what I can to make sure you have what you need so that you can continue to teach.” I left the office with tears in my eyes, so relieved and so very thankful.
Chronic illness is here to stay. Sometimes that reality still hits me like a ton of bricks. But I continue to believe it is a part of my life for a reason. To remind me that I am not Superwoman. To remind me to embrace each “good” moment and make the most of it. To remind me to be kind and loving to my body and mind. To remind me to appreciate the little things in life. To embrace and nurture my GOOD health and the loving relationships that surround me. To always fall back on my faith. And to remember that it’s the little victories in life that matter.
It’s those victories that I choose to celebrate.
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