Name: Allie Chrismer
Occupation: High School Student
Hi, my name is Allie Chrismer and I'm 16 years old. I was diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), a heart disease, about a year ago. If I do things that get my heart rate up or drastically change my position, I could pass out. My heart doesn't pump blood like it should. A normal heart will fill up with blood and then pump that blood out and send it all over your body. When my heart beats it doesn't always fill up the whole way. So sometimes my heart beats faster to try to make up for the blood that my heart isn't filling up with.
Normally a person with POTS will pass out after about 20 minutes of being up right. I passed out in 4 minutes. So you could say my case is pretty severe. After I was diagnosed I tried a bunch of different medicines. Medicines that made my blood pressure increase, and ones that made it decrease. There was at least 12 different ones I tried. Most with unpleasant side effects. So once they had no more meds to try the doctors pretty much said, there's nothing else we can do you'll have to live with it.
I was a very active teenager. I played varsity volleyball my sophomore year and I was doing CrossFit with my local trainer. When I got diagnosed the doctors told me that I wouldn't be able to workout anymore. No volleyball, no CrossFit! Being the active girl that I was didn't take that very well! I decided I would take matters into my own hands!
I started searching online for other people with the same disease and trying to find out if they were doing any exercise or not. I then found a program from a school in Texas and I contacted them asking them about the program. I was doing slow things like rowing and the stationary bike. They said that slowly building up to more intense exercises will be beneficial in the long run. I finished the 3 month program for the school in Texas and started a program at CrossFit Hanover.
I'm now working out everyday. My workouts are still not as intense as normal CrossFit but I'm getting there. I may not be there yet but I'm closer then I was yesterday. People ask me all the time, why not just stop exercising, why make it harder on yourself? I just tell them to think of the thing you love being taken away and they only thing stopping you from getting it back was your own limitations. I'm the only person that can change my life into what I want it to be. I do it to prove the doctors wrong. I do it to prove to myself that I am stronger than this disease. I do it because it's what I love doing. To me, taking the easy way out isn't an option.
I still get check ups with my doctors and I think I surprise them with the progress that I've made everytime I come back. They do urge me to be careful and they do EKG's and ultra sounds to make sure I'm not hurting my heart or anything by doing it.
My goals are mainly to become the healthiest I can be. My goals are to prove to myself that I am strong enough to overcome anything that life throws at me. As for volleyball, I most likely won't be back on the court for a while considering it's such a high impact sport and it's a lot for my heart to handle. I hope to one day be able to play on a rec league or something like that in college. To girls, women, or even men fighting some sort of obstacle, Keep fighting. Be the best you can be. Only you can control the outcome of your situation.As our Fashlete of the Month Allie will be receiving a custom, one-of-a-kind charm engraved with her mantra: "I Control the Outcome". Allie says: "This necklace is a reminder that I am the only person who can control my future. No matter what the doctors told me, I'm already proving them wrong!