Facebook has greatly improved my memory. So many times a memory has popped up on Facebook, and I’m like, wow, I forgot that happened. Here’s a little tip – if you need to remember a key moment in your significant other’s life, your child’s life, your work life, etc, post it on Facebook. It’s like an online diary. Oh wait, diaries are supposed to be private. Well, the secret benefit is each year you’ll be reminded of that special moment in your loved one’s life, and you can “pretend” you remembered.
One of those recent Facebook memories left me with tears streaming down my face. For most of my 22-year battle with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), I kept my struggles to myself. I didn’t tell most of my family and hardly any friends. Such as it goes with invisible illnesses, it was easy to keep hidden from most. I could be standing right across from you, eyes locked, and you would have no idea what was going on behind those eyes. I didn’t want you to know. It would mean I was weak. It would mean you might feel obligated to show me sympathy I did not want. It would mean you might tell me not to do something I wanted to do.
Eventually, I learned that I could help others by sharing my personal struggles. I started posting my health challenges, along with information about POTS on Facebook. A whole new world opened up. I wasn’t alone. People I had looked in the eyes had struggles I knew nothing about. Others who had similar symptoms realized they weren’t alone and now believed it wasn’t all in their heads. There was a potential physical reason for why they felt the way they did.
Besides posting my challenges, I also posted an occasional victory. On February 1, 2018, I told my Facebook world that I had a zero-POTS-symptom day. By then I was having symptoms nearly every single day – ranging from mild to severe. Zero-symptom days were few and far between. When those days happened, my excitement was overwhelming. I wanted everyone to know.
I am a numbers girl. One number I like is how many days until a special moment in my life. There’s an app for that. I have a countdown/count-up app on my phone. Most of the time it is set to tell me how many months, weeks, days, and yes, even minutes, until my next black belt test. After reading my memory, I decided to see how long it had been since October 28, 2018.
460….460 days since my healing.
Just two years prior, I was so ecstatic about ONE zero-symptom day that I posted it on Facebook. I now had FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY zero-symptom days. The sheer number was so overwhelming, a floodgate opened. My face was drenched in tears.
On February 1, 2018, I would not have imagined what my life is like now – 460 plus days of no POTS symptoms, a stay-at-home mom writing a book, and an aspiring martial arts instructor. Well, by then I could certainly imagine the latter.