This Amazing Woman’s POTS Won’t Stop Her From Being Tops

Crista Procopio is a self-described type A personality.

“I never, ever let anything stop me from getting involved and succeeding,” she says. “When I set a goal, I always reach it.”

Just how type A is Crista?

  • While in school she was a member and chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council for three years
  • She also taught Business Success for two years while attending school
  • Crista is also certified in biotechnology
  • Following that work, Crista served as the Business Development Manager for Redox Diagnostics LLC, which worked to get Crista’s diagnostic assay through FDA approval

Pretty impressive stuff.

What makes it more impressive, however, is that Crista lives with POTS, or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.

“When I was in fourth grade, I remember going to the nurse’s office because I was extremely dizzy, I couldn’t hear very well, and I was unable to focus. I was simply given some crackers to eat and sent back to class.”

In the years that followed, plenty of other symptoms presented themselves (and I encourage you to read Crista’s full story on her blog). Unfortunately, she says, “every time I told an adult, I was told that it was nothing. I learned to just deal with my symptoms.”

After taking a leave of absence during her first year of college, Crista “had an epiphany and thought to myself, Why don’t I take charge of my health?” So what did she do?

  • She did research and made a list of possible diseases, ruling them out one by one
  • She made phone calls to family members to see what other diseases were in the family
  • And she had “dozens of visits with specialists and completely took charge of each visit”

Side note on the doctor visits: According to Crista, some of the doctors she saw “really disliked me because of my approach, but I was finally at the point of being so ill and needing answers that I simply did not care if my doctors liked me or not.” (Yeah, Crista, you badass mamma jamma!)

Thanks to her perseverance, Crista was eventually accepted to the Mayo Clinic, where a neurologist diagnosed her with POTS.

Crista’s journey, like many with POTS, has been far from easy.

Her example to keep fighting no matter what, to set goals and achieve them, should be inspiration for everyone. But Crista also recognizes that overcoming challenges is easier said than done.

“I know that everyone wants a cure right now, and I unfortunately cannot give people that cure. I can, however, give support, advice, a shoulder to cry on, and a warm hug.”

So if you’re living with POTS, I hope you’ll take a page from Crista’s book and keep fighting. And if you need support along the way, there’s always Dysautonomia International.

How have you taken charge of your POTS? Share in a comment and let’s a conversation going!

James Ernest Cassady

James Ernest Cassady

Though "Ernest" is a family name that's been passed down for generations, James truly earned his middle moniker when, at the age of five, he told his mother that "laughing is stupid unless EVERYBODY is happy." Since then, the serious little bastard has been on a mission to highlight the world's shortcomings (and hopefully correct them). In addition to his volunteer work at hospitals and animal shelters, James also enjoys documentaries and the work of William Faulkner. He is originally from Oklahoma.

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