Thursday, 26 March 2015

POTs Treatment (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)

On Tuesday I took a trip to London to attend an appointment at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery .  I had been referred by my heart consultant and I was really happy to have this referral as I knew that my heart consultant had got to the point that there was no more he could do for me.  I had naively thought that a hospital of neurology would also be able to help with M.E. as well as the POT syndrome (which I just consider a symptom of my M.E. really).  However the consultant I saw was purely focused on the POTs and made it clear that she was not an ME specialist.  It seems strange to me that when 80% of people who have ME also have POTs, that a POTs doctor wouldn't have a greater knowledge of ME.  They must see lots of people with ME.  There is also the issue that when you have ME a multi faceted condition, surely it is difficult to just isolate one issue and deal with it without taking the other situation into consideration.  One of the non drug treatments for POTs for example is exercise, well there's a reason I need someone who has an understanding of  managing exercise with M.E.  I mentioned for example that I was very interested in the work of Dr Nancy Klimas in the US, who is using a "below anaerobic threshold" exercise programme with her ME patients, but was told that they couldn't help me with that.
So, lets set all that aside and just say that I was hoping for a slightly more all around approach to my current condition.  What I in fact got was a very detailed and specialist approach to the POTs which regardless of the above paragraph, I am very grateful for.  I had known for example that I needed to increase my fluid intake, but couldn't find out any specifics on by how much and I knew I had to increase my salt intake, but couldn't find out by how much, so all this verbal information was very useful.
I had a very thorough physical examination where I was checked for hyper mobility in my joints.  It appears only my elbows are hyper mobile and I scored a low 2 out of 9 in that test, which is good and all my reflex reactions were tested and were all normal.  So, physically I did well and the doctor said that was good and a little unusual.  My heart rate was 107 sitting and only rose to 112 on standing - this is where the Ivabradine drug has really helped me. 
The doctor took a detailed history and asked me if I wanted to attend a support group which i declined at this stage thinking it not practical with the travelling involved, but I might take them up on that at a later date.
They are going to give my autonomic system a good check over, with two days of testing  including another tilt table test, 24 hour blood pressure and heart rate and blood tests.  There are different types and causes of POTs and when they have all this information they will be able to then offer a more accurate treatment programme.  I was given the choice of travelling up to the hospital on two consecutive days or staying over.
So, I came away a little disappointed that I wasn't going to get any specialist ME help, but happy that if they can treat the POTs and ease the symptoms, that should make everything in general easier.
Whilst I wait for my appointment to come through I need to increase my fluid intake to 2 to 2.5 litres, take salt with every meal up to a full teaspoon a day and try and continue with any exercise I can do, but specifically, recumbent cycling and swimming - both very good for POTs and my yoga practice.  The idea with exercise is that you build good strong muscles in the legs which then squeeze and support the blood vessels in the legs to help pump the blood back up.

Energy wise, it's not been a great couple of weeks, I still haven't been able to do the normal yoga class but am enjoying my yoga at the therapy centre.  It has also been a time of emotional stress, both good and bad, which always has an impact physically.  I need to focus more on pacing and continue with tightening my other protocols until my reserves are a little stronger and then keep going with more of the same!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Fustrating ME relapse

I really dislike writing when I'm having not such a good time, but this phase has been going on too long now and I need to get it down on record.
I haven't really recovered from our New Year trip to Copenhagen.  I knew at the time that I was pushing myself, but I hadn't quite realised how much.  I have no reserves of energy to draw on right now.  Even my normal baseline activity is more than I can manage comfortably at the moment.  On Friday I went to my yoga class and that has wiped me out again.  Today I went to my really gentle yoga class  and tonight I am feeling muscle fatigued and just have that internal agitation in my system that I can't put my finger on.  I need to go and see my cranial osteopath, he helps when my body feels like that.  After having a period of really, really good sleep a couple of weeks ago, I'm now waking 4 or 5 times a night, it's so annoying.
I have refocused on my Perrin technique massages and again on my diet.  I feel a bit useless right now, everything is such an effort.