She’s certainly not defying gravity.
A young woman who is “allergic to gravity” is speaking out about her debilitating condition, claiming she spends 23 hours a day in bed and is unable to stand upright for more than three minutes without passing out.
Lyndsi Johnson, 28, suffers from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome — a condition that creates reduced blood volume and an abnormal increase in heart rate when a person stands or sits up.
“I’m allergic to gravity,” Johnson told South West News Service in an interview about her unusual illness. “It sounds crazy but it’s true.”
“I can’t stand up for longer than three minutes without feeling faint, being sick or passing out,” the Bangor, Maine, resident further explained. “I feel much better if I’m lying down. I’m in bed all day.”
Johnson was working as an aviation diesel mechanic for the Navy in 2015 when she began experiencing symptoms of POTS.
The young recruit suffered severe back and abdominal pain, and soon began fainting on a regular basis.
“It was really scary,” Johnson recalled, saying doctors initially believed she was experiencing “anxiety.”
“I was passing out everywhere,” she stated. “I would be shopping at the supermarket and I had to sit down because I felt faint. I’ve even passed out after my dog has barked.”
In May 2018, Johnson was medically discharged from the military due to her mystery illness, but her symptoms only worsened.
By early 2022, she was unable to keep food down and was projectile vomiting on a regular basis.
“I’d throw up so much my heart would start having prolonged QT intervals and I’d be in the hospital on cardiac monitoring,” the mechanic revealed.
A cardiologist subsequently theorized that Johnson might have POTS and suggested she undergo a “tilt” test — during which the patient is secured to a table while lying down and the table is slowly tilted upright, with doctors monitoring heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide levels.
In February, she was officially diagnosed with the syndrome.
While there is no cure, she now takes beta blockers, which reduce her fainting to three times a day and help with her nausea.
However, she is still unable to live a normal life and relies on her husband, James, to be her caregiver.
“It’s really debilitating,” she said. “I can’t do chores and James has to cook, clean and help me shower and wash myself. I’ve gone weeks without brushing my teeth because it just makes me feel awful.”
The ex-mechanic — who used to pride herself on being super active — says the diagnosis feels like “the rug has been ripped from under my feet.”
A determined Johnson is now pursuing a music business degree from the confines of her bed, and hopes to be able to get back to work — in a job where she can work remotely and lie down.
“I’ve really had to adapt to this new life,” she declared. “I can’t do a lot of what I used to be able to, but I’ve come to terms with that now. I’m grateful for what I have.”
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