I pass out. So WHAT?

Well my goal for February can be checked off my list! I started the Loco Boot Camp on Monday! Loco stands for Lowcountry, not crazy, BTW.

My alarm clock went off at 4:45am and I was out the door by 5:05am. I arrived at the location a little early to get my stuff together, and start stretching. I also started drinking Gatorade to add more electrolytes to my body. The workout started while she was explaining what we will be doing the next 6 weeks, and then we were off! Running, doing chair squats, lifting weights. I guess its comparable to Cross Fit? Anywho, 30 minutes into the workout, I knew something wasn’t right. The familiar feeling of fainting/passing out/losing control of my surroundings had begun. I quickly sat on the floor…..when that didn’t help, I turned into my 10-year-old self who was conditioned to deal with this and lifted my legs above my heart. After waiting 5 minutes, I joined back into the workout.

See, I was diagnosed with a heart condition back in grade school, called neurocardiogenic syncope. I think I was 4 when I first passed out after getting stung by bees while getting the mail. My parents did not think it was too abnormal since I was so little and had just suffered a bunch of bee stings. Well then it started happening more, I was carrying books by my stomach and ran into a pole in elementary school and I passed out. Then I passed out in the school library. And then I passed out when my great-grandmother died. So my parents started to ask doctors and see what was going on. I was in 2nd grade and we saw many doctors. I even had a cone head for a few days…Thanks Mom for documenting this great time in my life.


I am the one with the cone head:)

I also had a tilt test, Echocardiography test, a heart monitor (who I told my friends was a purse for the 3 days I had it) and a bunch of follow-up appointments with doctors. The interesting thing about diagnosing me with this, was the fact I was so young. Usually this was not found in patients unless they were late teens, like 16 years old. I guess it is easily explained as your brain and heart not communicating. So in 3rd grade, their only solution was to give me salt pills. In 3 months I gained a bunch of weight and went through a very dramatic period of my life. (My mom let me cut my hair super short, when I threw a fit! Word to the wise, never let a 3rd grader pick their hair length) So we stopped the pills and came up with our own solution. I was getting to the age where I could feel and knew exactly what the triggers were. If I jumped out of bed in the morning, I usually passed out. If I had a dance camp or anything active, I had to be aware of my electrolytes.

Basically from 3rd grade until I left for college, I had Gatorade EVERY morning. It did not bother me, and became routine without me even having to think about it. The condition didn’t really bother me, but I do think it held me back. My parents became worried with just about anything I did. When I went to a sleepover, they weren’t worried about safety or games I was playing, they were worried about me waking up the next morning, or not getting enough sleep. God forbid I ever wanted to take a shower in the morning, my mom always insisted on me leaving the door cracked, in case I fell. I participated in Relay for Life starting in 7th grade until I was a senior in high school, and my mom was always concerned about me staying up all night to walk the track. I was on my school’s color guard/dance team, and when we would have Saturday workshops, I always had to be careful. I even remember one Saturday not feeling good and knowing I was about to pass out. So I went behind the bleachers in the basketball gym, and passed out. Waited about 10 minutes and then rejoined the group. My coaches always knew, so they just let me deal with it in my own way. Whenever I went to summer camp with my friend Stacie, I always had to have the lower bunk, and always had approval to have Gatorade in the cabins. When I turned 16, my parents were worried about me driving in the mornings. The doctors said when I go to get pregnant, it might flare up again, so I know the worried parents and husband will probably never let me shower or walk down the stairs by myself. And I am okay with that, they love me, care about me, and will just be looking out for the safety of my baby.

See once I became old enough to realize I would never die from passing out, the only real fear is the possibility of hitting my head or passing out while driving a car, I knew I could live with it. NO big deal. I can feel it coming on. I start to see sparks in my eyes (seeing stars really does exist), my ears start to ring, I start to lose control of my heart and body. I sit down, if that doesn’t work, I put my legs up, if that still doesn’t work I just become stiff as a board, keep my eyes open, and lay there for a little bit. After I wake up, I break into a cold sweat. I need about 10 minutes to recover, will probably drink some electrolytes, and will be ready to continue whatever activity I was doing. I haven’t technically passed out in a few years, because I know the triggers and can avoid them usually.

Until now. I hate the fact that my evenings are getting busy with commitments, that I am willing to wake up at the crack of dawn to work out and my body is still rejecting the workout. Friends and family of mine have said, well you will just have to work out in the evening, don’t work out too hard and then your heart rate will never freak out, it’s all in your mind. So it should be as easy as mind over matter, right? WRONG. All I can do is know my limits, and listen carefully to what is happening. I will not give up on boot camp, and I will definitely not give 110% of myself to the workout. That would be a waste of my time.

I used to tell everyone I was involved with about this, but I just don’t anymore. I didn’t tell the boot camp leader, because there is nothing for her to do. I will probably end up telling her if it happens more often, just so she doesn’t freak out and call 911. It is not an issue….I ran a marathon after getting up at 2:30am, and the race beginning at 5:30am. I did not pass out:)

Sorry this is long. I clearly am very passionate about this. And I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. I just want you to be sympathetic if I vent about how annoying it is, trying to get healthy and lose weight, and having to be stopped because of my stupid heart problem. It’s just frustrating and annoying.

And so if I happen to pass out around you, you don’t call 911…..just raise my legs!

For more information on neurocardiogenic syncope, visit these webpages:




3 thoughts on “I pass out. So WHAT?

  1. This is a really informative post, Ashley. I know it stinks to deal with this, but what a positive outlook you have. I’m proud of you!
    Aunt LaLa

  2. Pingback: My One Year Blogiversary:) | A Seersucker Life

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