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Possible To Have A Successful Active Career?


Successful Career after POTS onset?  

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I was just recently diagnosed with POTS, and in the process of starting my career. I am finding it hard to keep up with the duties of my job and chosen career choice.

I would like to know if it is possible for people with POTS to have successful active careers, either by sheer will, and/or by proper treatment?

Thank you for your time.

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I am able to keep up for the most part with my full-time job. I have had to take some time off with relapses (matter of day or two per yr). Ithink some jobs would be harder than others. For example, I am not sure I could handle a super high energy job like being an elementary school teacher or a job that required a lot of travelling, esp air travel, through time zones, etc. I need good rest. I also admit that I do let my fear of POTS get in my way. eg, I do not apply for jobs where I feel I might have to be very active all the time. I'd love to work overseas but have fear of being able to get medical care if and when needed.

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I didn't complete the poll because I became disabled after significant trauma from an accident. That being said, in my former profession of 25 years, there is no way I could make quick decisions, climb 5 flights of stairs throughout the day and cross 2 campuses, carrying books/supplies, standing (on feet) the biggest part of the day, multitask, round with physicians (and remember things needing asked/writing orders). The temperature variance within the campuses was quite pronounced and the bright lights and stimuli. I had to be excellent with communication and now I stop mid-sentence, forgetting what I was even talking about. I would have to be able to lift/raise arms above heart level when lifting (that wouldn't be 'doable' for me. I'm still waiting on the right mix of meds to get me hypertensive. I started Midodrine in September. Mestinon was added in Oct (but I could not tolerate the terrible stomach cramps and nausea that came with it) and they stopped the Mestinon in Dec. Now with my EDS and dysautonomia, fluid/blood pools in my legs and the potent water pill has me going for about every 10-15 min for up to 4 hours (if I wait too long in letting the fluid build up before I take the water pill, I have to take it 2 consecutive days to get the fluid off). I miss my old job and all the responsibilities/socialization that came with it but honestly now, I don't think I could get through a probationary period without an absence and I know I would not be safe to practice as I formerly had. Seemed like I lost my identity when I had to retire early. I had spent more time at work in all those years than I actually saw my own family. Now that I'm home, my family is grown and seldome here.

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i am early days with POTS and work, so i can't say much at this stage. Will get back to this. booking meeting rooms and working working in a room or from home where possible helps. Flexible hours is also helpful to me, but leaves me working very late.

Stress is a major factor, but id be more stressed if i wasn't working.

Think my employer would get rid of me if they could, not sure really, but at this stage they can't.

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I think you are correct in that finding treatment to help the symptoms is key. It is never going to be easy to work and have POTS. Even small improvements in health through medication or lifestyle changes can make all the difference. I went for the sheer will strategy for about 8 years. I was then in such poor health that I looked to significantly downsize my job to regain some quality of life. I then went on a new medication which dramatically improved my situation and have been able to stay in my job and, touch wood, hope to continue in the future.

If you have reason to believe you will have POTS for 5+ years, as has already been said, career choice is important. The two most important factors for me have been flexibility and a sympathetic employer. This is in terms of hours worked, meeting deadlines, ability to lie down and eat when necessary and to have a job where colleagues can cover for you and would be willing to do so on the occasions when you just can't do it alone. It is not all give; I help out others and I am a hard working and loyal employee. The careers that come to my mind are the old professions such as law and accountancy, IT and similar consultancy work, statistics/information management and also academia. I am sure there are others.

I'm not sure what you specifically have in mind when you use the word "successful". I am grateful for being able to stay in employment. However, I don't think I have been as successful as I might have been due to physical restrictions from POTS but also mentally, tending to avoid putting myself forward for roles where there is more individual responsibility and I am worried that I would be unable to perform to the required level.

I can put some of this down to POTS and I am sure some is down to my personality. I suppose it is just another area of my life where I feel reasonably content but still have that feeling of POTS holding me back from achieving my potential.

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Cath_UK: Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, I don't think mine will go away, as it has slowly been getting worse over the course of a few years. I had my first attack over 5 years ago, even though I was only recently diagnosed, as I finally saw a neurologist who was willing to look into the possibility of a problem with my autonomic nervous system. 5 years ago my only real problem was fatigue and breathing issues occasionally every few months or so; increasing in frequency over time. Now I can't walk across a hallway without chest pain and breathing difficulties. I personally believe mine is autoimmune related (family history of autoimmune disorders) or somehow related to my other neurological disorders.

Do you think it is possible it can just go away? Is there any way to know if you have a type that will just go away?

Thanks.

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Please keep in mind that many of us on this site are still searching for answers. But, there are people out there with POTS not using this site because they did get better. I am not able to work currently, but, I have hope that one day, I will be back at work.

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Its a work in progress always for me. Ive struggled through 8 years working fulltime as a manager with POTS. Not much fun but some times have been a lot easier than others. Finding a treatment that helps is the key. Without one its very variable so you need to find an employer that understands.

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It is possible for some people with POTS to have successful careers. Not all of us can work, but there definitely are many who do.

Most people on the forum are here because they are so sick and need information and support. Those who have gotten better from POTS don't tend to stick around on support forums. So there are probably many more with POTS who are out there and working.

I hope that you are able to find the right treatment and start feeling better soon.

All the best,

Rachel

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How I wish that sheer will were the answer. For three years I tried to maintain my job but got progressively worse until I had to quit. However, after I got diagnosed, the salt, fluids and Florinef helped quite a bit. But still not enough for me to feel comfortable fulfilling all the responsibilities ALL the time. Currently I work for someone else on an occasional basis when I am feeling well, and I'm very grateful for that.

I choose to look on the bright side and know that things could always be worse. But I sure hope I don't have to find out the hard way! I am inspired by other posters every day.

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I work fulltime but the hours are so good and I have huge breaks of time that I'm off. I believe that the only reason I'm still working is because I have HyperPOTS so I don't pass out. If I were passing out, I would not be allowed to work in my field (nursing). However, I'm similar to ramakentesh in that I get up some days so miserable and think "I can not take this anymore! I can not do this!". Yet, I always do and I always make it. I'm thankful for that. I keep my prayers going so that helps.

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For me my last two relapses were the worst ive had so they have made it harder for me. I never used to faint until 2008 (before that I got close but never fainted since 2003).

There was a patient on these forums with NE that went above 1800 when standing and she used to faint.

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Hi,

I was born with it, as well as 31 other diagnosed members of my family. Most of us are able to work. I crashed 10 years ago and was not able to work since. So far, in my family there are 5 disabled due to POTS.

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I owned and operated my own construction business up until I became ill. Due to the area I live I drove a average of 100 miles per day. I was a very active member of my crew and it became difficult to keep up with the demand of my job and crew between the symptoms and all the testing. About 5 months in I lost my ability to drive do to the syncope episodes. Then due to the nature of my job (plasterer) I was instructed by every Doctor that I saw that I could no longer continue with the work. So I had to fire my employee's and close up shop. That was a little more than 3 years ago and with the increasing symptoms and poor health the Doctors dont think I have a chance at returning to work or driving. I have been on Social security disability since june of 2011.

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Do you think it is possible it can just go away? Is there any way to know if you have a type that will just go away?

Thanks.

Sorry, I fear I have unintentionally got your hopes up. It depends why you have POTS (e.g. if it is something treatable or transient) and many people don't have an answer to that. If, like me, you have EDS, chances are you in it for the long term, particularly if symptomatic for 3 years +. If it is sudden onset, for example in pregnancy, puberty or from severe illness, some people's only lasts, say 3 to 5 years. However, some end up being in it for the long haul. These are broad estimates which I have seen in journals and, I think, are based on the author's experiences in their clinic; not hard and fast rules or something derived from research.

My comment was intended to be in the context of careers. There are people on the forum with sudden onset POTS and were in a career which is not compatible with POTS (e.g. someone who was a kindergarten teacher springs to mind and my heart went out to her because I recall she loved her job). In their shoes, I would be tempted to not work in the short term or make do with another type of job with a view to going back to their original career once they are better. If POTS did not in fact go away after 5 years, I would cut my losses and retrain in another career. However, if the individual is likely to have symptomatic POTS for many years then I think it is important to choose a suitable career which can accomodate POTS.

I don't know what your career is now; I assume you have already given some thought to alternatives in your field which might be a bit easier to manage with your current health situation. It sounds like you are in the early days of testing and I think that in your position, I wouldn't be too hasty yet and would try to wait a while and see how things develop. Your health issues may turn out to be something else or there may be scope to improve your symptoms to ease your work situation.

In summary, it is not possible to have a crystal ball so you have to make a decision based on the best information you have. My doctor told me that I would be symptomatic for the long term (given I had already been ill for 15 years I had worked that out anyway!) and, at the appropriate time, told me that there was no further scope to improve my symptoms in the forseeable future. I had been thinking of a career change and that helped make my decision. I suppose my point is that if you are in a bad patch with prospect for improvement, it is worth trying to stay in your chosen career. If not, and there are no alternatives in your field, I think it is worth researching other careers even if you don't act on them in the short term.

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I'm also new to this. I've been off work for ~12 weeks. At the moment, I'm working 1/2 days trying to get back to work. However, I come home and crash for the rest of the day. I'm really worried that I won't be able to get back to it. I'm the breadwinner in the family. My husband is disabled due to a back injury. I do have long term disability, but at only 60% of my income, we'd be in a world of hurt.

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i had to quit work and school (i was entering pharmacy school at the time) all in one day in oct 2009. Took an extreme nosedive. Have been anywhere between 65%-100% bedridden since...... no matter how hard i try, i still can't work...... i help out with our towing business and on days i can function, i tow, work wrecks, be at the office for a few hours, etc.... that might be 1-2 days out of a week...... other days im home, propped up in bed answering calls and dispatching..... in 3 years, i still seem to only have 1-2 good days in a week, and sometimes not even that and very rarely maybe 3-4 good days...... in the 'real workforce' there is no way possible i could hold a job down or school :( I've been sick for over 9 years, with each year progressing worse it seems.

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  • 1 month later...

I was a PhD candidate and had to drop out of my program when I got too sick last spring. I am able to work from home about 25 hours a week, doing research and editing/proof-reading. My boss is a retired professor who had to take early retirement from teaching due to his own health issues, so he is really understanding. I had wanted to complete the PhD program and pursue a career in teaching at the university level and work on my own research projects, but I think having to quit school may have been a blessing in disguise considering the huge budget cuts universities are making these days! I didn't expect to be doing this, but I am really enjoying it. And during times when I have extra energy, I can still work a little on my own research.

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