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Long Covid, POTS, and Restricted Lung Disease - Rehab Update

 Hey everyone! 

It's taken a little longer to post than I would have liked. We had a couple colds and the stomach flu plague our house last month and I'm just not starting to feel more human. So a lot has happened since my last post. My primary doctor figured out that I had covid at some point. I've always felt like this is why all my symptoms and everything got worse but I didn't have proof. If I had to pinpoint when I got covid it was in March of 2020. That's pretty much when things went downhill. If you've had covid or think you might have had covid and are having crazy symptoms I implore you to look into dysautonomia. It might be a huge piece of the puzzle you are missing. I was diagnosed with POTS which is a form of dysautonomia and by bringing my HR down to a more reasonable level the brain fog lifted and I've felt much better. I still fight hypertension 10-14 days a month but I was fighting issues 100% of the time. I was just glad to get somewhat of a life back. Just keep pushing and trying for answers. Anyways, the main topic today updates on rehab.

So I do have to skip some classes due to my BP issues. It's just not comfortable to work out when it's high and it scares the nurses plus they do have guidelines for how high it can be. My cardiologist says I can work out even if the bottom number is 100 but they are still really hesitant about it. Mostly because they don't really understand the conditions I have. The class is mostly geared towards pulmonary rehabilitation. All in all, it's been really helpful. They teach us about eating, breathing, exercise, etc. I get to work out for 30 min while I'm hooked up to an HR monitor and they check my BP before, in the middle, and after. It's kind of helped me see how my BP responds to working out and gives me some more confidence. They measure how hard we are working by watts. I'm still not sure what that means but I started out at I think like 35 watts and yesterday I did 69 watts. So I know it's starting to work. 

Now that I've grown more confident I've been hitting up my local YMCA. They have a similar recumbent step bike like I've been using in rehab. I've also been doing leg day there every other day. I just have a really hard time doing leg weights at home that I feel have been impactful and my cardiologist stresses to me how important it is to build muscle in my legs to combat the blood pooling. The weights really push me, but it's worth it. I just take it nice and slow and rest when I need to. I do work on my arms but I have free weights at home and I feel like I can get enough workouts at home. At least until I build more muscle. I tried one of the machines at the gym and even with the lowest amount of weight I was like left with an extremely sore upper body for a couple days. So slow and steady wins the race, right? 

I know I'm making steps in the right direction but it's still incredibly hard. Working out wipes me out, so I'm still not as productive at home. Bryan has been able to start going to work more but he knows if my BP is running high he needs to stay home. It's just too much on me and the rescue meds they gave me knocks me out. I've read it can take some time to get used to them so I don't think it's worth bringing up with the cardiologist yet. I'll give it a couple months at least. Anyways, I'm hoping to keep up the momentum and keep working on gaining more muscle mass and losing weight. Don't give up hope if you have any of the above-mentioned conditions. I know it's tough and life may never be the same but just take it day by day and do what you can.

Stay awesome and have a wonderful weekend!

~Totally Jen


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