Tabitha Hellman's Journey with POTS Entry I- Writing About Edison



The first semester of my freshman year of high school was a breeze. I started a new sport, had a 4.0, and went to every football game I could. By the second semester I was missing multiple days of school a week because I was too dizzy to walk straight or my vision was blacking out. Sophomore year I passed out, hit my head, and got a concussion, causing me to  miss almost all of the last two months of school. During all of this I was constantly visiting different doctors, answering the same questions over and over again, and going on now three different medications. It wasn’t until just a month before my junior year started that I got an official diagnosis. We had always suspected that I had something called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), but it took two years and at least five doctors to get it on paper. 

POTS causes my heart rate to increase and my blood pressure to decrease every time I stand or sit up. This causes long lasting dizziness, fatigue, nausea and an array of other fun symptoms like passing out on occasion. These symptoms have taken away my independence, made school significantly harder, and prevented me from living like a normal teenager. 

When I first heard about mobility service dogs, the idea opened up a whole new world of possibilities. The thought of going away for college was no longer as scary because I could have a dog to help me get around when I was dizzy and prevent me from falling. When we first started talking to Mobility Service Dogs West Coast Project the hope was to find me a dog before college in two years that was just for mobility. Then we found out about medical alert dogs. Dogs that could sense that I was going to pass out before it happened and let me know, giving me time to sit down and prevent injury. That is what we hope Edison is going to be able to do for me. Currently twelve weeks old, Edison, a poodle, is coming to live with us to help me get back my independence. I am so grateful to Mobility Service Dogs and everyone who is supporting Edison and I. I can’t wait to get started training with Edison, and am now excited about all the possibilities the future holds. 

Tabethia Hellman, Entry 1