Happy No-Faint-iversary To Me!

Today is a special day, Chronic Readers.

I have officially passed the threshold- I have been conscious for an entire year!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For 12 years, I have fainted, almost fainted, lost feeling in half my body/all of my body (hemiplegic migraines), and, on one memorable occasion, turned blue from lack of oxygen. However, from June 29, 2014 to June 29, 2015, I have not had one single, teeny weeny, itty bitty hint of any of that.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I haven’t really told anyone that this day was coming, mostly because I have semi-legitimate Chronic anxiety that the moment I said it out loud, my autonomic nervous system would hear and then shut down, wrecking my streak before it was a complete year.

I didn’t want to jinx it.

Oh, but now it is here, I am on Day 1 of Year 2 of complete consciousness, and nothing can make me cranky today, not one thing. I am annoyingly chipper today!

I am just so happyyyyyyyy!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clearly.

To celebrate this wonderful, monumental date in my Chronic life, I spent this past weekend doing something else I haven’t done in a really long time- we went to New York. My incredibly beautiful and talented cousin had a party to celebrate her high school graduation. A multitude of other incredibly beautiful and talented cousins also attended- there were so many of us it might as well have been a convention! 🙂

This was such a huge deal- I have not been able to visit in 9 very long, very lonely years because of one Chronic reason or another. Pretty much everyone I’m related to lives in New York, and to have spent almost a decade not seeing them (with the exception being 2 funerals they traveled to here, not happy circumstances) was awful. You just don’t realize how much you’ve missed people and how soul-crushing it was to have to see the pictures of an event (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.) and not be there yourself, until that cycle is broken.

Side Note: As the cycle is in the process of being broken, you may perhaps be overcome with emotion and have to have a tiny meltdown pity party in the hotel bathroom for 5 (ok, 15) minutes because you missed so much, but then you put your big girl panties on, show up at the shiny, happy party you’ve actually made it to, and allow yourself to be enveloped in the nice warm hug that is your family.

You remember how much you love people and how much people love you.

Then you get to go home with warm fuzzies and a deep desire to move to an Island that happens to be Long.

In addition to celebrating consciousness by traveling, I also celebrated by getting up super early so that I could do my run/walk podcast outside before the sun woke up. I’ve actually done this a few times in the past 2 weeks now, but it is also something I haven’t done in a considerable amount of time- both waking up before 8 am and exerting myself in the great outdoors. Let alone doing those two things at the same time. (Wait, actually, I don’t think I’ve ever done those two things at the same time…)

Plus, you know, I ate celebratory Chick-fil-A fries with my sister this afternoon because one must always remember to respect one’s condition (which happens to respond exceptionally well to sodium-filled snack time). I mean really, I didn’t get to 1 year of consciousness by magic. #RespectYourCondition #EatFries

So yes, lots of happiness and celebrating and saying YAY in all caps.

Also, lots of exclamation points.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel like maybe some of you who are POTSies might be wondering what magic pill I took to get here, and I’m sorry to say there wasn’t one. There was not one solitary thing that I did that allowed me to get to this milestone. It was a combination of things. For the past year, I’ve narrowed my “treatment plan” (in quotes because there is no actual medical treatment plan for POTS- everything is about as scientific as saying, “Let’s see if ____ does anything!”) to focus on things I can control myself. Diet, exercise, learning biofeedback techniques so that I can go with the flow of body symptoms and not be scared/overwhelmed by them, and making my own meditation tapes have been HUGE helps to me.

I’ve also taken a few chances in trusting myself, specifically believing that I can trust myself- that I do not need to be a totally dependent person for the rest of my life, whether that means dependent on my mom, sister, medication, or doctor’s opinion. For me, this means that I decided to figure out how to run safely (Couch to 5k podcast!) and that when my medication didn’t feel right, I worked with my doctor to get off of some (super hard) and now take so much less of others (kinda hard), and feel so much better because of it.

This 1 year mark did not fall in my lap. I worked so hard for it. As much effort as I put into it, I had a lot of help too.

I’d like to publicly thank my mom, cause she’s awesome. Thanks for being the first thing I saw when I came to 95% of the times I fainted. Thanks for pushing my wheelchair (Do I get to say, “you’re welcome,” to your biceps? No? Ok, never mind…). Thanks for scooping me off the floor, the couch, and the middle of the street that one time. Thanks for helping me sew the world’s heaviest weighted blanket so I could snuff out the tremors. Thanks for scraping your fingernail along the inside of my arm so that we could judge how long it took to get feeling back. Thanks for knowing what I was saying when I literally couldn’t say anything. Thanks for Niki-proofing the house. Thanks for trusting the dog’s emergency alert capabilities. Thanks for not crying as much as you probably should have/could have/would have. Thanks for understanding that there aren’t enough words in the English language, time in the world, or space in a blog post to say THANK YOU enough.

I’d like to publically thank my sister, cause she is also pretty awesome. Thanks for the piggy back rides, for never actually letting go when pushing my wheelchair down a hill (Again, it would only be fun for a second and then it would NOT be fun anymore!), and for making sure that my dress never flew up over my head. Thanks for laughing only when appropriate 95% of the time. I forgive you the other 5%.

I’d like to publically thank my dog, even though she can’t read this. I’ll tell her what it says. Thanks for telling mom and/or Sissy that, “Niki fell in the well!” You are way more effective than Lassie ever was. You also have the best, “Are you ok?” face in the world:

IMG_1394

The view from the floor.

I’d like to thank all of my friends and family who have never given up on me, no matter what I’ve missed out on, however many last minute cancellations I’ve had to make, whatever. Thank you for sticking around and accepting me the way I am. You make my heart burst in a good, non-medical way.

Finally, I’d like to thank all of my Chronic friends who’ve taught me so much, but most importantly that you can be a Chronic and a Human at the same time. I really wasn’t sure about that for a while, but I think I’m finally starting to get it.

To all of the Chronics reading this who are dealing more with setbacks than steps forward, I want to say I see you. I feel for you. I understand you. I have been where you are. If I have learned anything in this past year, it has been that I am so much stronger than I ever believed myself to be. I have a feeling you are too. I’ve been doing this whole Chronic thing for officially half my life now. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and it is hard. But there are good times, there are better times, and they will find you if they haven’t already. Hold on. The only “better” that matters is if you can say you are better today than you were yesterday. It is possible, I promise.

Thanks for listening, Chronic readers.

One last note:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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3 thoughts on “Happy No-Faint-iversary To Me!

  1. abodyofhope says:

    I’m in tears celebrating with you, Niki. I started reading your blog just over 1 yr ago when you were still having episodes, and I’m so grateful that you’ve continued to share your experience with the POTS monster.
    You give me and others hope for better days ahead.
    My parents are caring for me this summer and this is the perfect thing to share with them, too.
    Big huge thankful celebration hugs to you!!!!!! I’ve got a virtual party hat on for you 😉
    Keep going vertical!!! Xo

  2. abodyofhope says:

    Reblogged this on aBodyofHope and commented:
    I started reading this blogger’s page just over one year ago, when she was still having episodes, but always found a way to keep her readers laughing with her. I have been so inspired by her progress and very hard work this past year as a fellow “fighter for verticality.”
    Read how this long-time POTS & Migraine survivor got upright again. Her gratitude is contagious!
    Happy Anniversary

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