Carlee’s Story

“I was amazed by the fact that Dr. Driscoll and her team had already studied my case before my visit. They were determined to not only treat me for POTS but to find the underlying cause of it. ”

 

Carlee, age 17, was suffering for years and had significant symptoms limiting her ability to pursue her dreams of becoming a college cheerleader. She wrote us an update less than one month later.

 
 
 
UPDATED 12/1/8/18: I am doing a lot better! Just got to Alabama to spend time with my family for Christmas before school starts in January.  I haven’t had a bad day in a week or so.
 

11/29/18-My name is Carlee and I am 17 years old. I’m about to start College and I’ve been training to try out for Cheer for over two years now. A few weeks ago my mom drove me to Colleyville Texas to be treated at POTS Care. I was diagnosed with mono in April of 2017 and battled it for nine months. Being sick for that long affected me in such a negative way. I have always been very active, eaten healthy, and gone to the gym multiple days a week; working out and keeping my body healthy has always been a huge part of my life and something I love doing.

After recovering from being sick for nine months (and losing 22 pounds), I decided it was time to get back on track for college Cheer tryouts. I started going to the gym multiple times a week and even got to where I was able to run 6 miles in under an hour. My body had never been in such great shape. This was so encouraging for me until 3 months later I found out my mono had been reactivated. I had never been so defeated in my life. Who in the world has mono for over a year?! That was only the beginning of ER visits, seeing multiple doctors, specialists, etc. only to be told I had mono and there was nothing they could do about it (or how I was just a teen going through hormonal changes causing “anxiety and depression”). It not only affected me physically but mentally as well.

The fact that doctors were telling me I was okay when clearly something serious was wrong was so frustrating. I had lost many relationships with friends and I began to not even remember who my old self was anymore. No one, not even my own family, could begin to understand the way my body felt and what I was going through. I was sad, mad, and had no hope for getting better. After many doctors (& others) telling me I was fine and it was all “in my head”, I began to do some research. There was no way I was going to let these people convince me I was making it up! I was determined to prove everyone wrong.

I remembered a woman telling me about her son having something called POTS and she suggested I do some research on it to see if I might have any of the symptoms. It took five minutes of reading about it and I knew this had to be what I was battling. My mom started looking up doctors who treated POTS patients and came across Dr. Driscoll and POTS Care. She told me we were going to Texas for a few days to try and find some answers. If I’m being honest, I didn’t think anyone in the world could help me at this point but I decided I’d give it one more shot.

I was amazed by the fact that Dr. Driscoll and her team had already studied my case before my visit. They were determined to not only treat me for POTS but to find the underlying cause of it. Right, when we got there we were introduced to Melissa. I knew immediately after talking to her that I was in the right place. I was surrounded by people who genuinely cared about me. They had complete confidence they would get to the bottom of my sickness. For the first time in years, I had no doubt in my mind I was going to recover.

After meeting with Melissa we were introduced to Robert who took me to run multiple tests. Robert was constantly making me laugh all three days & taking care of my every need. As I usually feel uncomfortable at the doctor, I actually felt like I was with people who believed what I was saying & not jumping to conclusions. Their kindness was so genuine! Finally, we got to meet Dr. Driscoll. We sat in her office and talked for a long time about her findings on my case. She shared with us how she and both her son and daughter struggled with POTS for years (and by struggle I mean being completely disabled). She was the first person who had ever been able to relate with me about what I had been going through. It was such a relief to have no longer felt like I might be going crazy and it was all in my head (I mean that is what multiple doctors hinted at).

Dr. Driscoll worked and researched for over a decade to dig deeper into POTS & even experimented on herself to figure out how to relieve the horrible symptoms affecting her and her family. To hear about how sick her and her children were and how all three of them are now living perfectly normal lives, I trusted her with everything in me that she knew exactly what she was doing. After a productive three days at POTS Care, we met with Dr. Driscoll one last time to go over exactly was going on in my body and my treatment plan. They discovered I have intracranial hypertension and cerebrospinal fluid is surrounding my optic nerve putting pressure on my brain stem. This unknown pain in my head I had been experiencing for so long was nearly disabling me, preventing me from being able to train (or barely even get off the couch).

Dr. Driscoll knew exactly how to fix it, giving me immediate relief in my head that I hadn’t felt in months. They also found I have inflammation in my vessels causing me to not be able to recover. Before we left she gave me a bracelet she had been wearing all week that said “Warrior” on it. Whenever I begin to have doubts or feel like POTS is taking over my body, I just look down at my wrist and remind myself all Dr. Driscoll and her family overcame and all the long hours of research she put in that has changed so many peoples lives. It reminds me that I’m a warrior & I’m going to overcome this! Keeping a positive mindset is a huge part of my recovery. I never imagined leaving the doctor could be so sad.

After being back in Baton Rouge for only a few weeks, I have already experienced a HUGE difference in the way my body feels and also in my attitude. I have even started to (slowly) get back into training. If it weren’t for Dr. Driscoll, POTS Care, and the rest of her team, I would have only gotten worse and may not have ever been able to continue working for my dream of cheering in college (plus might not have even been able to take classes). I have full confidence I am going to continue to get better and be able to achieve all I have worked for. There is nothing I could ever do to express how thankful and blessed I am for all everyone at POTS Care has done for me. They truly changed my life! POTS is so much more than “getting dizzy when you stand up” or “feeling nauseous sometimes”. It disables so many people & Dr. Driscoll is determined to change the way doctors look at this horrible sickness. 

Her & her team are the real warriors. 

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

Isaiah 40:31 is the verse I have been living by. I read it out loud every morning & I know that if I put my trust in the Lord, He will renew my strength. When I am weak, He makes me strong! I look forward to the day I will run and not grow weary and walk and not be faint. I am certain that day is coming soon.

To anyone reading this who might be suffering from POTS (or any other unknown illness) I encourage you not to give up. God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers.

-Carlee