Name: Lynda Trujillo, 26, of Hit The Road Jane
The Crisis: "For over a year I had a slew of episodes that included tachycardia, blood pressure spikes and dips, dizziness, tingling, and shortness of breath. It started at home one night while I was relaxing and I thought I was going to die. I was taken to the ER that night and from then on, the scares (and numerous ER trips) continued for months with a lot of invasive testing. I was misdiagnosed and put on serious heart medication that made it worse. I didn't feel safe at work or going out alone for fear that another episode would occur and I would pass out. I was terribly depressed, scared, and felt like I had no control in my life."
The Change: "I decided to find another doctor at the Mayo Clinic and they were finally able to give me some answers. When they helped me figure out what was wrong (I was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and vasovagal syncope), it was like the clouds lifted and I decided that my circulation problem would not define or limit me. With my doctor's approval, I signed up for my first half marathon, the Disney Princess run, even though my longest run had only been four miles long and the race was a month away."
The Change: "Crossing that finish line that day was my greatest accomplishment. I had control again and I felt stronger than ever. Racing saved me from depression and restored the confidence I once had with my body. It helped me focus on something bigger and thus took away my fear of getting sick again. Running also helped me change my diet. I avoided triggers that could cause my heart to race like caffeine and ate small meals which helped my sugar levels stabilize. I made sure to hydrate with electrolytes and the extra sodium helped keep my body from having episodes."
Lynda's Tip: "Always seek a second or even a third opinion medically. Listen to your body! After all, no one knows it better than you do!"