A 28-year-old woman in the United States, who describes herself as being “allergic to gravity”, has revealed that she spends 23 hours in bed, faints up to 10 times a day and can’t stand for more than three minutes without passing out. Lyndsi Johnson, a former aviation diesel mechanic for the US Navy, claims she suffers from one of the world’s least understood illenesses, which sometimes even forces her to sit with her legs crossed in order to stop feeling sick.
According to the Independent, Ms Johnson said that she started suffering from abdominal and back pain in 2015. Over the years, her symptoms worsened to the point that she started projectile vomiting and fainting up to 10 times a day.
After years of going back and forth to the doctors, the 28-year-old was then diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) in February 2022 – a condition that creates reduced blood volume and an abnormal increase in heart rate when a person stands or sits up.
Ms Johnson refers to her condition as an “allergy to gravity”.
“I’m allergic to gravity – it sounds crazy but it’s true,” she said, as per the Independent. “I can’t stand up for longer than three minutes without feeling faint, being sick or passing out. I feel much better if I’m laying down.”
“I’m in bed all day – for up to 23 hours a day. I never thought that at 28 I would have to use a shower chair. I can’t leave my house anymore. There is no cure but I’m so grateful for what I do have,” she added.
According to Newsweek, the 28-year-old first started feeling unwell while she was working in the Navy overseas. As her symptoms continued she struggled with chronic pain. However, doctors couldn’t work out what was wrong.
Ms Johnson said that in 2018 she was medically discharged from the military due to her illness. Six months later she then started getting severe abdominal pain and began projectile vomiting.
“It was so bad I was screaming in pain and the vomiting was The Exorcist style,” Ms Johnson said. But doctors still couldn’t work out what was wrong, and she continued battling her illness. She was even hospitalised several times over the past few years but she was told it was probably her anxiety causing her symptoms.
By early 2022, Ms Johnson, was unable to keep food down. Her condition got so worse that she had to stop driving. She even struggled to bend over without feeling light-headed. “I’d throw up so much my heart would start having prolonged QT intervals and I’d be in the hospital on cardiac monitoring,” Ms Johnson revealed.
A cardiologist subsequently theorised that the 28-year-old might have PoTS and suggested she undergo a “tilt” test – which measures heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen. In February, she was then officially diagnosed with the syndrome.
“I was so thankful to finally know what was wrong with me so I could be treated,” she said.
As per the outlet, Ms Johnson said that she is now on beta-blockers which have reduced her fainting to three times a day and helped with her nausea. However, she is still unable to live a normal life and relies on her husband, James, to be her caregiver.
But despite her illness, a determined Ms Johnson is now pursuing a music business degree from the confines of her bed. She hopes to be able to get back to work – in a job she can work remotely and lie down.
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