Disillusioned by Dysautonomia

Recently, my boyfriend and I were looking at places to go on vacation before he gets deployed. He wants to travel internationally because this is his last chance for a vacation for the year and wants to make the most of it. Lucky us, Iceland is among some of the shortest and cheapest flights, not to mention it is absolutely beautiful.

The problem? Dysautonomia. My POTS symptoms make it incredibly painful for me to be in the cold, which I generally avoid by not going to cold places.

Let’s take a short inventory of the vacations I’ve taken in the last decade:

Mexico, British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Galapagos, British West Indies, Hawaii, Southern California, Florida.

Do you see a trend here? Source: Giphy

I pretty much just go south for the winter.

So you can imagine the hard pill it is to swallow, PAYING to go to Iceland.

GULP. Source: Giphy

My fear is that I will be too distracted by the pain in my extremities and the inevitable symptoms flares that will come from the freezing weather, to even enjoy the views. So, the following conversation ensued:

Me: I have always wanted to go to Iceland… but it is f*cking freezing there right now and my symptoms will flare and I may be too distracted from the pain to really enjoy it.

Him: But look at all these gorgeous places! (*Shows me pictures that I have already seen, and saved on my computer because yes, I too love Earth porn*)

Me: I know how beautiful it is, but perhaps we go at a time that is warmer.

Then basically repeat this conversation for two and a half hours as I try to explain that I don’t just “not like” the cold… it physically causes pain to be in the cold.

I got really down about myself– when I can work out every day, control my diet perfectly, get enough sleep and be in the heat when it’s needed, then my symptoms are controlled so well, I forget I even have POTS. It makes me feel energized, reliable and I start to trust my body NOT to fail.

But I know when these things aren’t controlled, my body decides to work against me, making me feel unreliable, negative and pathetic.

So, for the duration of that two-and-a-half hour conversation, I started feeling scared, negative and upset that I was disappointing him about a place that he was clearly excited about. As great as he was, as reassuring as he was, I hate the realization that my body doesn’t just fail me… it fails other people around me, those closest to me.

It’s frustrating, it’s disheartening and it’s one of my least favorite things about me. I felt I had to warn him:

I am not going to be myself here. It’s going to be freezing cold and it’s going to hurt me and make me seem irritable because I will be in pain.

In the end, I couldn’t decline a $350 flight to Iceland. It just looks too effing beautiful for me to pass up.

How can you say no to this? Source: Pixabay

While I put my fears aside for this trip, I am still scared. But the best I can do is prepare aptly and do my best to soak in the beauty of this place– and maybe just dress like this:

Source: Giphy

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