Giles ate my blog post

It’s the all new blogger excuse. My laptop ate it.

My  dear POTS-ients,

How are you this fine fall day? I’ve just realized how awesome fall/winter truly is. The reason, my dear readers, is not just the crunchy leaves. Rather, it is the ability to deal with our temperature intolerance in a socially acceptable way. Plus, the cool temperature totally causes vasoconstriction, so there’s a chance we might actually have blood in our heads for once. Not only that, but we can bundle up our poor frozen extremities in fashionable accoutrements. I particularly like the wrist warmers and hats on etsy. Talk2thetrees is my favorite shop there : )

Seeing your breath, snuggling up under a quilt, are all wonderful things. My one sadness is that my tea intake has been slashed. I have completely given up caffeine. This is especially tragic in light of all the loose leaf chai I purchased right before school started *sigh* My cardiologist mentioned ages ago that I should limit my caffeine intake, “pshaw, THATS not going to happen” plus it doesn’t have much caffeine… or so I grumbled. But then I started to see a hideous pattern. A pattern of lousy afternoons after drinking my morning tea. And the lousier the afternoon, the stronger the tea I drank. It was an unfortunate cycle. Anyways, I would love to encourage you to try herbal teas instead, even for just a few weeks. Ginger tea is also super tasty, especially if you use local honey.

Yes that’s me. Totally worth it.

I also found some blueberry tea at a local farmers market, it’s filled with petals and bits of dried fruit. I think loose leaf tea is more of a pleasure to drink, even if it’s more troublesome to clean. Plus, when it’s chilly outside, nothing warms my heart like tea.

I’ve also began to wear my hideous anti-embolism socks again. During summer and early fall it’s really difficult to convince myself that thick, high socks are at all appealing. Now though, they fit nicely under jeans and cords. I think I could live my life with corduroy pants, honestly. They’re warm and so so soft. Oh, I’m also experimenting with leggings, boots, and dresses to hide the despised socks. I bought a pair of chocolate brown leggings and they are a master of disguise. I’m also using them for my halloween costume. What am I going as? As a teddy-bear. What did you expect?

How do you guys embrace the seasons? My last bit of fall is baking bread. It’s really easy and far, far tastier than store bought. Plus, it smells phenominal! And it kind of blows your friends minds when you say you made it yourself. It’s nice to make something tangible when you’re sick. Like Pie says, sick days are ” a day on repeat that gets lost in translation”. Days blend together, so for me baking bread gives meaning to a day. My favorite part is when your hands smell sticky and sweet from kneading dough. I use wholewheat flour and fresh honey (I love honey, far too much in fact). Bread makes for awesome breakfasts, I love melting brie on it and then eating blueberries by the handfull. I messed about with recipes this summer, and this is my favorite:

Whole Grain Cockaigne Bread (From The Joy of Cooking with a few alterations by Teddy)

Ingrediants

1 package active yeast & 1 tablespoon brown sugar in 1/4 cup of warm water (105-115 degrees)

Let that sit for about fifteen minutes while you make the wet mix below

1 to 3 tablespoons nonsalted butter (I melt it in the milk)

2 cups warm milk

1 tablespoon salt

4 to 6 tablespoons honey

After fifteen minutes, mix the yeast/water/sugar mix into the wet mix and slowly add six cups of whole wheat flout (I use whatever flour I have on hand (oat, graham, etc.) with decidedly mixed results. Wheat turns out best). Knead and let sit for 1 to 2 hours in its bowl. Then divide in two and knead again. Put the halves in their pans (Two 5 by 9 inch loaf pans) and let sit for another ten minutes while you preheat the oven for 350 degrees. Put those suckers in there for 45 minutes and two golden brown loafs should come out! Stick a knife in the middle and pull it out. If theres dough sticking to it, put it in for a few minutes longer. If it comes out clean, it’s done!

Okay, now that that little burst of domesticity is over, I have a funny video to show you.

So. That’s my funny for the day. I have been downright negligent, so I plan to post every day for the next week. You will be heartily sick of me by the end of it! They may not be as long as my usual (I wrote this in Theology class…. so I guess I have time :P) but I will definitely try to get you to smile every day this week! So, lots of love and have a nice Halloween weekend!

Be Well,

Teddy

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Sodium Solutions

Hello readers! It’s Teddy.

Remind me to never promise a post a week, I will almost certainly break it. I have a longer post I am working on, but I figured that I would get the short one out of the way first : )

Pie wrote a post awhile back about things foods that are good to eat for a POTS kid’s health. So, I’m being redundant here on the whole necessary salt intake concept. The way we get most of our salt is through either unhealthy things or salting our food. I know that we live in a culture that equates sodium with poor health, but for us it is actually the reverse. Too much salt creates high blood pressure for people that are susceptible. But we have low blood pressure, so the pressure’s off (heeheeeehe, that made me chuckle).

Anyways, putting extra salt in a normal diet is easier said than done. For meat dishes, it’s simple. Just pour it on. But Pie and I are vegetarians, and salting salads is a little odd. We do eat meals other than salad, but vegetables are a large part of our diet. Easy things to salt are pasta, broth based soups (like French Onion or stews) and that’s about it. Maybe omelets, but not too much. The other general salty things are pretty high in fat, like chips and french fries. Pie has this weird thing where she puts salt in her Juicy Juice, but I draw the line there. Might as well just lick salt off your hand if it comes to that.

So I decided to recommend some ideas for increasing your salt intake. We mentioned pedialyte before, but it’s wicked expensive. Plus, it’s kind of awkward to leave the store with a half dozen bottles of  a substance that only half dead babies drink. So, my mom and I recently found that amazon sells pedialyte powder packets. SUCESS! Here’s the link.

http://www.amazon.com/Pedialyte-Powder-Packs-Variety-0-3-Ounce/dp/B004M1BOC6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311296634&sr=8-1

Thank me later. It’s still expensive, but less so. Plus, it’s a lot more portable. When I was on the tennis team I used to take several bottles of the stuff to matches. It’s revitalizing, no matter how strange it is. I generally lug around a bottle of gatorade or G2 powder in my purse at all times in case I get dizzy. For some reason the sugar/salt combination make it work faster. I assume because it goes straight to your bloodstream.

I saw a hilarious picture as I was perusing the web of POTS related items. It was posted by that facebook group SuckItPots (which I definitely recommend, though there are mostly adults on there). It is a POTS mocktail. Since I’m not old enough to drink, I never thought this was an issue. But alcohol messes up POTS systems in a big way and makes our already fragile bodies weaker. I am not saying this to be self righteous, I am saying this to be practical. Don’t drink. At least not until you are well. Even the wikipedia page will tell you that. But back to the picture. Isn’t it hilarious? I would never have thought of that. Pie and I might have to have POTS mocktails in the near future!

That picture makes my day, sea salt and gatorade. A genius and funny way to deal with the problem at hand.

Ok, another easy solution is pretzels and popcorn. They’re both low in fat. The doctors at Mayo clinic recommend you have a small salty snack every mid-afternoon. These, nuts, Cheese-Its, wheat thins, and Triscuits (the love of my life) are all essentials. I can down a bag of popcorn on a bad day, no problem. Gosh that makes me sound like a glutton, I am not advocating this! Especially since the more we eat, the more blood rushes to your stomach. So small meals. But lots of ’em : )

Right, this is going to make me sound positively off my rocker, but it IS salty. Erm, you know pickles? Well, I love them. I pile them on sandwiches. So mom and I thought of something that has us questioning our own sanity. Pickles are full of salt, and coincidentally, so is the juice. As kids, did you ever make popsicles in little plastic trays? Because you can use any liquid that freezes. Coincidentally, the vinegar in the pickle juice freezes nicely. We call them pickle popsicles. They’re not the bad, if you have a brave tongue. At least I’m not recommending pea popsicles. That gives me some credit right? No?

Something that was also recommended to us at the Mayo clinic was salt tablets. Athletes take them to help rehydrate themselves along with water. You can buy them over the counter, and they’re quite safe in moderation. They don’t have as much sodium content in them as you would think though, so you still need to eat other salty items. I don’t take these, I tried. We tried some called thermotabs, I understand they’re pretty standard. We bought them for school, but I kept throwing up when taking them. Keep in mind that this was mostly my own fault, I didn’t eat before (I planned to afterwords). But the pure salt was too harsh on my stomach and it made for a very close relationship with the girls bathroom. So be warned, even though my stomach may just be fickle.

Right, moving along. One rule that is imperative for all this salt intake is eating. Milk is preferable (especially if you are taking beta blockers at the same time like I do) but bread works too. Your stomach lining is sensitive, so treat it well. Mine just happens to be very persnickety. I don’t know anyone with POTS besides Pie, so this could be normal. If you ever need to ask a health question about a weird POTS symptom, shoot us a comment. Between Pie and I, one of us has probably dealt with it. We’re obviously not doctors, (and you should be going to yours regularly)  but we can give you some support.

A point I try to get across as often as I can is to not feel weird about the things you have to do for your health. Especially if you can twist it in a way to make it look like it was your idea in the first place (Like rainbow socks covering my anti-embolism stockings, kids love them and they always are good for a smile). So make your salty smack a part of your daily routine. In high school, I would purposefully bag a bunch of goldfish or triscuits and share them with my friends in class. Everyone loved it, and it makes you generous rather than the odd one out.

Right-oh, now that I’ve made my point I want to share some fun. A) Thank you Pie for the adorable birthday wishes. She gave me that bear hat I found on etsy for my birthday that is featured in a previous post. It’s adorable. I don’t think it will leave my head anytime soon.

B) I’ve been reading some awesome books. They need to be shared. I was just thinking the other day how I missed reading books that captured my heart and mind. So much so that I would be willing to avoid social obligations just to read them, and dream about them at night. Suddenly, three books came into my life.

1. Jane Eyre. I read this as a child, and I understood it on a basic level. But now that I am the same age as the heroine, it suddenly took on more meaning. She is witty, self-assured, and so so strong. I love how she sticks to her morality even though it sucks sometimes. She’s one of those characters who ceases to be two dimensional. They become a sort of friend.

2. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith. Read it. It’s about a girl who lives with her eccentric family in a crumbling castle in the middle of England. They haven’t paid rent in years, and her genius father refuses to actually work on his novel. The heroine is engaging and describes life as I would like to see it. This author makes you feel the landscape, not just see it. I tore through it, and cannot recommend it enough.

3. The Hunger Games. OHMYGOSH. I am almost done with the third, and it is killing me inside. I can’t stop thinking about it, can’t stop falling in love with every character. I had completely given up on Young Adult literature. Sure, some books had good characters. But the plot lines were about as interesting as watching football. And occasionally I would find a book with a world that far exceeded our own. But then the characters were lacking, and the plot lines fizzled out altogether. I never expected to find all three together. Not only are they fantastic, they keep getting better and better. I haven’t seen a series that actually IMPROVED on the initial novel. Plus the author called it a trilogy from the get go, and stopped at three. That is this rare thing called being honorable. Not that it happens often. I pride myself on being able to guess any plot line and ending. It comes of reading too much. So I hypothesize what the author will do, she does it, and then does a 180 degree turn within five pages. She floors me. It is so rewarding to read a novel crafted by an author whose mind so clearly exceeds my own. This is the highest praise I can give. And I haven’t even finished. Thank heavens my favorite librarian in the world forced me to read it. Now I am forcing you. Who said coercion is dead?

Well that is that. I’ve given you salt to increase your blood volume and novels to expand your mind. What more do you want? They make you feel intently and leave your own body for awhile. The silly salt ideas will help make you be able to dream of a life beyond your present one. So have a great day. Eat a pretzel.

Be well,

Teddy

Food+Workingout+Exercises = Energy? Say what?

Pie: Hello world (or any awesome person reading this) I must admit I was never really interested in blogs until I watched the movie Julie and Julia. After watching that movie I realized how amazing blogs are, and how they can affect people without being acquainted with them. Also Teddy thought this could be a really cool way to share our ways of dealing with POTS. In this post I want to talk about some of the things that physically make me feel better since Teddy and I have mostly talked about the mental medicine ❤ With POTS it’s very hard to control your symptoms, I still have yet to find the miracle to make it go away. But through hours of research in our own personal high tech lab (….our house!) we have experimented with foods and workouts that truly help.

  1. PEDIALYTE (okay, I know what you must be thinking, this random blogger is recommending baby Gatorade. Crazy wouldn’t you agree?) Pedialyte is a drink with electrolytes (snails and puppy dog tails) with POTS drinking fluids is a must to help with your blood flow (G2 is also good, and is better for you than Gatorade). For some reason pedialyte makes me feel a lot better. I’m not going to go to the extent that after I drink this magical elixir I turn into a superhero with super strength and the power to fly. No, I just feel a bit of my fatigue and dizziness wash away. I normally drink this before I workout, hang out with friends, or when I’m having a plain ol’ bad POTS induced day. They sell it at groceries stores and isn’t hard to find. Oh! Before I go to number two, pedialyte tastes a lot better when mixed with water…(you will be thanking me for warning you about that)
  2. Tea ❤ I adore tea! I love feeling like you have your own personally hearth inside your tummy. Teddy sometimes compares tea to drinking flowers….(she really likes flowers) she has this amazing orchid tea that we drink on special sister days. We just curl up, talk and watch our favorite movies and t.v. shows. Some teas are caffeinated (as I’m sure you know) and I’ve heard that caffeine isn’t great for POTS. I normally try to drink non-caffeinated teas but I’ll admit I do cheat this POTS rule and enjoy peach green tea.
  3. Water. I mentioned earlier the importance of blood flow for us who are…how do I put this…lacking. I drink tons of water! The only problem with this method is if you are like me, and you are cursed with the smallest bladder known to man. Imagine a human water fountain and you will understand where I am going with this. Always bring a water bottle with you wherever you go. I went to the mall today and I drank three bottles full of water. It’s my fuel source (if you don’t count cheese).
  4. SALT. That’s right you heard me! S-A-L-T no wonder my horses lick me. With great salt comes great responsibility (to drink enough water to counteract it). For a person who doesn’t have POTS, having a lot of salt in you’re diet isn’t a good idea. But since we POTS peeps already have a bad heart the doctors are telling us it’s good for us. Eating salty snacks like pretzels, nuts, and cheez-its are really great snacks. My doctors made it clear that I also have to drink lots of water with the amount of salt I take. You can’t just eat the salt 😦 Salt and water help create better blood highways. I don’t know, maybe like well-oiled cars? I know nothing about cars, so if I ever pretend I know anything about cars I am telling you now, I am not to be trusted when it comes to them!
  5. Cardio. Something that has always baffled me is when I went to doctors they told me exercise was one of the best medicines. As a 10 year old who was as tired as an old cat I thought that was a crazy idea! But they were right; cardio is another one of those things that helps. It doesn’t always help but it’s a good feeling to know you have done something productive. It also makes you feel better afterwards. Cardio can be swimming laps, playing tennis, taking a run/jog/fast walk, or running on an elliptical or treadmill. Basically anything that gets your heart rate up for around 20 minutes or more (you start small and add time as you get in better shape) I alternate from tennis and working out on an elliptical. (don’t recommend stair masters or jump-roping it can make you really dizzy)  Before I workout I drink a big cup of water and a big cup of pedialyte. Drinking beforehand makes me feel less out of breath. Teddy and I need to be distracted while we work out on the elliptical so we watch t.v. shows to entertain us. I normally watch shows that I can space out to. Here is a list, Gilmore Girls (<3 this show IS AMAZING), Americas Next Top Model, Ouran Host Club ( a hilarious anime that will steal your heart away within seconds), Project Runway (really cool show!) Endurance (it’s on discovery kids, it’s basically like survivor but with kids), Survivor (bet you didn’t see that one coming), Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad, The Biggest Loser ( It’s nice to see I’m not the only one in pain while working out), Drake and Josh, Degrassi (this show sort of scares me, but in the past week I have been watching it and I think I’ve become a bit…addicted), GLEE ( I love Glee! My parents bought me the first season when I went to the Mayo Clinic and my Dad and I watched it a lot haha ❤ and HE ENJOYED IT!), American Idol, and Hayao Miyazaki films (If you have never seen any of his films you have been deprived.) I think this list could go on and on but I am experiencing a brain fart.
  6. “Brothing” every morning. When Teddy and I wake up we get broth(bullion cubes) and go back to lie down. This is our first intake of salt that we need to start up our day. We lay there for about 15+ minutes. When we are done we do twenty-five arm lifts with 6lb weights, squats, and toe raises. This is how we jumpstart our salt filled day :]
  7. Leg lifts, one thing that is so hard about POTS is when you sit up abruptly you get really dizzy, which makes sit ups really difficult. Teddy and I both gained weight when we first got sick because we were too sick to do….basically anything. With POTS you aren’t supposed to lie down during the day but I still do leg lifts. Leg lifts are when you lie down on your back and hold onto something (bottom of bed, table legs, really anything that is stable) I love leg lifts because they don’t make my head spin and I feel like I am doing something to help get rid of my tummy fat (storage for winter…tomato tomAAto)
  8. Pelvic Curl….I looked up the name and it sounds more like a poke’mon attack then a stretch, wouldn’t you agree? A … pelvic curl is when you lay down on your back and your knees are in an upside-down V shape  -^–o    that’s you! Aren’t you as cute as a button? Then you lift your REER off the ground ( I have no idea how to make a stick figure to look like that… fail XD )
  9. Planks (a gift from the devil) if you are anything like me you probably hate planks. I love the idea that someday I will be this buff woman with abs (but we both know that’s not going to happen until I am really motivated) To do a proper plank you can go into push-up position with your palms on the ground OR with your elbows to the ground. If you do attempt this (I dare you) you will feel it working instantly. This is why I like it, because you can feel it working. Planks can make me a bit lightheaded if I don’t breath enough while I am doing it.

10. Humor, make sure to keep things in your life that make you happy. In our earlier posts we have talked about things that make us happier. It can be as simple as reading a cute book to watching a hilarious youtube video. “Make em’ laugh make em’ laugh! Don’t you know everyone wants to laugh? … You start off by pretending you’re a dancer with grace, you wiggle ’till they’re giggling all over the place.

And then you get a great big custard pie in the face!

Make ’em laugh

make ’em laugh  make ’em laugh” -Singing in the rain ❤

Life is amazing and don’t let POTS take over your life. It’s a part of your life, not your entire life. We have learned to refuse to let it take over. Fight it because we are going to beat this. Teddy and I just want to thank-you saints for reading our blog so far. If you have anything to add to my list of foods and exercises please comment! Share your knowledge! We really appreciate it and hope that we can help in anyway we can to make your POTS trip as enjoyable as possible :] Until we meet again ❤

*Pie*