OKLAHOMA CITY – Jayci Robison dreamed of playing college basketball.
“I remember just getting really hot and overheated. I passed out in the middle of the game and we thought it was just dehydration,” she said. “We kind of just brushed it off, and then it just started happening every day and then three to four times a day.”
Robison also started getting headaches and chest pains.
She says she could not breathe and felt sick to her stomach, but the turning point came when she had one of these episodes while driving.
She went to the emergency room but was told everything was fine and it was probably just anxiety.
But Robison knew better.
“I could tell something else was wrong,” she said. “I wasn’t just anxious. I mean, I was because I thought maybe I was dying because nobody knew what was wrong with me, and that was scary.”
Robison and her family wanted an answer and went from doctor to doctor in search of one.
Jason Robison, Jayci’s father, said, “Finding the diagnosis was probably the most stressful.”
Fortunately, they finally found the information they were seeking.
Robison was diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome also known as POTS.
The biggest symptom is an abnormally rapid heart rate when you stand.
It has been a few years since Robison started having symptoms and now at 19, her focus has shifted from basketball and school studies to another kind of study.
Doctors have recently discovered three antibodies that interfere with blood pressure, which explains the symptoms.
“The two main ones are called alpha and beta one,” said Dr. David Kern, a researcher with OU Medicine. “They were in all the patients that we studied.”
The antibodies often come along after an illness and are found mostly in young women.
Aside from taking about eight to 10 different pills a day and infusions of medicine, Robison is adjusting.
She said, “I don’t go anywhere without a Sprite and a beta blocker because you don’t know when a symptom is going to hit.”
Doctors at OU Health Sciences Center say they may develop better treatment or hopefully, find a cure within the next year.