Disclaimer – The following post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or sickness. Please use caution if any parts apply to your specific situation and contact a health care professional for further advice.
Hello hello hello. Thanks for tuning back in for another blog entry of Dude With POTS. (Funny how this whole blog is one letter away from being a completely different genre of blog ha ha). Remember to follow the blog by subscribing with your email! Thank you for all the support.
Part 1 – Exercising with POTS
I know I briefly touched base on this before, but I wanted to go into a little more detail about the challenges of exercising with POTS. This is a cruel condition because POTS creates an almost impossible scenario for exercising, but it is also one of the most beneficial ways to treat it. I can remember before I was diagnosed and still trying to figure out what was going on, I would try to go on jogs or play basketball with friends. Between the headaches and incredibly fast heart rates, it became impossible. My advice for any newbies living with POTS (or any chronic condition) is HAVE PATIENCE when trying to reintroduce activity into your life.
At the low point of my journey I didn’t even have the strength to stand up through worship songs at church. I had to turn down invites to go to movies because my headaches were so bad. Sitting around doing nothing was literally all I could do. When I finally was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic, exercising quickly became thrown at me as something I needed to start doing. Which was awesome…a guy who can’t exercise needs to exercise so that he can exercise. Makes complete sense right?
I had been an athlete my entire life, so my idea of exercising typically involved playing full court basketball for a couple hours, going for a 3-mile run, or playing a tennis match. I was so stubborn in my POTS recovery that I refused to believe exercising would be of any use to me. I needed something that would help me BE ABLE to exercise. It felt like no one understood.
When I finally got around to accepting what I had and that I needed to start building up some form of stamina, it was a SLOW SLOW SLOW SLOW process. I sat down and created a notebook to document my progress. I called it “POTS life” and wrote down my first workout. One-min walk on the treadmill. This was both humiliating and demoralizing for me, but I knew this was something I was going to HAVE to get through.
Over many months this workout plan increased to where I am at today. I battled excruciating headaches, stomach pain, exhaustion, dizziness, and just about every POTS related symptom in the book. When I went to the gym I had to overcome my fear of what others thought and kept my workouts to only what I could handle. This sometimes meant jogging on the treadmill for 3 minutes, doing some sit ups, and then leaving. I didn’t look like I was dealing with any issues, so I am sure I looked like some lazy guy who was wasting his time.
Although I got some help from medications and other lifestyle changes, exercising really helped me be able to do upright activities like a healthy person could. I have been successfully managing my POTS for over a year now, but that doesn’t mean exercising is not still a challenge for me. As I mentioned in prior blog I am training for a half marathon, and there are many times I start getting dizzy during my runs. At times I have to walk and get some water. Thankfully summer is coming to an end which means cooler temperatures. This is good news for anyone with POTS, as we thrive on cooler temps. Warm weather increases all symptoms. I also wear compression leggings which help to support my blood flow from my legs back up to the rest of my body.
Even with the best preparations, I still overdue it sometimes and have “POTSY” moments. One time I even passed out after lifting weights. Thankfully the flooring was carpeted so I didn’t get hurt. I sat back up and went and got some salt water from the kitchen. Needless to say I am very cautious to make sure I am exercising in safe environments where I can get help if needed. I also have to be careful not to take too many days off in between workouts. One day rest periods are ideal, as even two days in a row of rest can lead to drastic setbacks in energy. My POTS specialist told me once that “Even if you feel like you are dying, still push through your exercise”. Friends let me tell ya, I felt like I was dying every day for over a year. I try to push through any bad days now and I believe the doctors are right.
Ultimately, I feel like crap whenever I exercise. It is just hard for my body to pump blood everywhere it needs to under those stressful circumstances. This makes me feel GREAT whenever I am not exercising 😊. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t see improvements over night. Chronic illnesses are something you can only learn how to manage and not something you defeat with one trip to the gym.
Part 2 – Fantasy Football
Not a lot new in my life, so I thought I’d just write a brief summary of my upcoming fantasy football season.
Yup you betcha I play fantasy football. In fact I am in four leagues. A couple are for money. A couple are for fun. This is about my 10th year doing fantasy football and I have never won. I do not blame that on a lack of managing skills though. Every single year I am cursed with season ending injuries to my best players. Why do I even bother.
Rachel and I are also co-managers of a team this year. This is exciting but also scary. Pros – She will want to watch football with me. We will get quality time together. We will learn how to make decisions as a team. We could win some money. Cons – Rachel wanted Marcus Mariota as our QB. Rachel wanted to select a guy because he “looked cool” and “liked his name”. If we lose she will probably blame me for losing us money. Why do I even bother. (All jokes aside this should be fun! Rachie Football is what she is known as around town).
OF COURSE I drafted LE’VEON BELL as my number one pick in one my leagues. And OF COURSE he is holding out right now and might not even play until Week 11. Why do I even bother.
I did an “Auction Style” draft for the first time this year. You get $200 of fake money and you bid for players you want. Seemed cool and easy enough. Until I spent $150 on three players and got a bunch of scrubs for my other 12 spots. My three stars will probably get hurt too. Why do I even bother.
I have zero faith in any of my guys on my team. Last year I was winning one of my weekly matchups by 1 point. The team I was playing had no players left, and I had one guy left (Joe Flacco, QB). LITERALLY ALL HE HAD TO DO WAS NOTHING, and I would have won. He proceeded to throw multiple interceptions, having negative rushing yards, and throw no touchdowns. He earned negative 2 points and I lost the matchup by 1. This year I might not play any of my guys ever. Why do I even bother.
My favorite team is the Seahawks because I live in Washington. GO HAWKS! That doesn’t help me one bit in fantasy football. A good rule of thumb is if you pick players from a team you like, they WILL SCORE VERY LITTLE POINTS, and your favorite team WILL LOSE. There is a part B to this rule though. If you then pick players from a team you hate, thinking you will jinx them, the players WILL SCORE VERY LITTLE POINTS, but other players on the team will step up and the team you hate WILL WIN. So moral of the story is draft a team full of kickers because WHY DO I EVEN BOTHER.
But nonetheless fantasy football will be my life for the next few months 😊
Disclaimer- I was not paid or given any product/services for free. This review was made purely from my own will.
Thanks for reading! Please contact me for any specific topics, questions you want answered, or reviews you want!
Jarod Gunning – Dude with POTS.