Wednesday, December 30, 2009

POTS? What's That?

POTS stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. It is a type of dysautonomia, which is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system that regulates many bodily functions. In basic terms, POTS means that when you stand up, your autonomic nervous system doesn't react quickly enough to the pull of gravity. Blood doesn't reach your brain quickly enough, which causes your heartbeat to speed up (tachycardia). When your brain isn't getting enough blood, it puts your body into a position where it can. The best position for this is horizontal. Hence, you faint (syncope).

POTS is difficult to diagnose because there are no visible symptoms (except for syncope, of course). The only definite way to diagnose it is a tilt-table test.
For this test, you are hooked up to an electrocardiogram (EKG) and blood pressure cuff. You are strapped to the tilt-table, which is basically a motorized hospital bed. Your pulse and blood pressure are taken while lying down, then the table is slowly lifted up. It stops at about an 80 degree angle, so you are almost standing upright. Your blood pressure is taken every minute or so, and the test continues until you faint or after about 30 minutes. The results are read by a cardiologist, who makes a diagnosis.

When I had this test, I did not faint, but I came close. I felt incredibly dizzy and asked for the test to stop. I was crying- it was horrible. Thankfully it was over, and when the EKG was read by my doctor, it was determined that I have POTS.

  • Dizziness upon standing
  • Sensitivity to heat, cold, bright light
  • Stomachaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety

REMEMBER: I'M NOT A DOCTOR- I'M ONLY 16! This information is from my own personal research and knowledge. I'm just telling you what I know. Don't try to diagnose yourself. If you think you may have POTS, go see a doctor.

More information:

New Years Resolutions

I’m horrible at making New Years’ Resolutions. I always either forget to make them or completely ignore them altogether. But this year, I’m determined to come up with some resolutions and actually accomplish them. Here’s what I have so far.

1. Get my POTS symptoms under control. –I’m on lots of medications for them, but I wish I could control the symptoms on my own. The side effects of the medications suck are annoying, and it’s hard to remember to take them all at the right times.

2. Run a half marathon. –My PDR (personal distance record) is 12 miles, so 13.1 isn’t a huge step. I think it would be really fun to run a big race, and I’d like to raise money for a charity.

3. Get into college. –I’m technically not graduating until June of 2011, but I’m planning on applying to school early-decision. Just to have some peace of mind, ya know?

4. Be on the honor roll. –Pretty much speaks for itself.

5. Win a recipe contest. –Or at least place in one. =)

6. Get my drivers’ license. –Long story short: after you have a seizure, you can’t drive for 6 months. Multiply that by three, and I can’t drive until the first of the year. (Good timing, I know.) A blue Toyota Matrix wouldn’t hurt, either. So I can get lots of practice. ;)

7. Go swimming. –I used to love to swim, but after having my seizures, I was afraid of it. Seriously, I used to be pretty good! I got 4th place in backstroke in the summer swim team championships when I was in, like, 7th grade. =D

8. Be comfortable in my own body. =)

Friday, December 25, 2009


Merry (belated) Christmas!!

I absolutely love Christmas- it's my favorite holiday! We have lots of family traditions, like the gingerbread house.

I like using the icing bag to make it look all pretty, but my sister would rather just slather it with candy. We always end up arguing, haha. =D

Lovely presents:

Hello Kitty toaster... this imprints Hello Kitty ON YOUR TOAST. What could be better?

Pug plushie... from the boyfriend. He knows me well. :)
And the tree.

My parents, sister and I had a nice Christmas breakfast. My parents aren't exactly "breakfast people", so this is the one time every year when we actually eat it together while sitting at a table! We had quiche, bacon, English muffins, and chocolate pastries. I had a small sliver of quiche, a muffin with peanut butter, and the chocolate frosting off of a pastry. Hehehe. :)

Then, we went to my grandparents' house to see the rest of the family. I have 7 cousins, all younger than me, so it's always a fun, loud party. Everyone brings something to eat, so it's like a big potluck. I had some salad, a roll, a small piece of meat (very very small), and lots of my Mom's potatoes. She makes au gratin potatoes with gruyere cheese- so so so so good!! For dessert I had a few small chocolate chip cookies and rum balls. What are rum balls, you ask?

Those are rum balls (duh). Combine powdered sugar, crushed vanilla wafers, cocoa powder, and rum. Roll into balls and roll the balls into more powdered sugar. That's clearly not an exact recipe, but these things can be STRONG. Because they are never cooked, the alcohol is still there! My little cousins loved them (uhohhhh). =O

And another Christmas tradition... CHICAGO! We go every year for 2 or 3 nights- I love it! I'll let the pictures do the talking.

We have the Christmas tree at the Four Seasons hotel, the view from our hotel room (blurry, I know) and the Pritzker Pavillion in Millenium Park. Yes, all three of these pictures were shot by the same (tempermental) camera, haha.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cookie Exchange Party!

Sugar cookies

Clockwise- peanut butter blossom cookies, snowball Hershey Kiss cookies, spritz (cookie press) butter cookies, crispy Nutella cookies, iced gingerbread cookies

Stained glass sugar cookies in cookie tins
And now, for a recipe...
Crispy Nutella Cookies:
1. Cream 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar.
2. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 egg yolk, and 1/3 cup Nutella.
3. Slowly stir in 1 2/3 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt.
4. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. Roll it into small balls, then roll the balls into powdered sugar.
5. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Welcome to my blog!

Hi everyone! I'm Courtney, and Running From The Heart is my new blog. I am a junior in high school on the varsity cross-country and track teams. Why call this "Running From The Heart", you ask?
1. I love to run (obviously)
2. I have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which basically means that my heart rate doesn't adjust to the pull of gravity when I stand up. I get dizzy a lot, sometimes even when I'm running!

Besides running, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to bake. Some people are emotional eaters, but I'm an emotional baker. :P It's just so relaxing!

Yes, I am looking at colleges. :/ I've only visited a few schools so far, but I love Villanova University in Pennsylvania. I want to be a neonatal nurse, and their nursing school is INCREDIBLE. Plus everyone on campus is so friendly. :D

Anyways, I'm currently trying to get this blog set up, so my posts won't always be this informative/boring haha. Have a great day!