Why battling Bella is on a mission to help charity

Photo: David Hurst'Postural Orthostatic Tachycadia Syndrome sufferer, Bella Kowalska of The Elms, Whitegate Drive, Blackpool with her son Phelix
Photo: David Hurst'Postural Orthostatic Tachycadia Syndrome sufferer, Bella Kowalska of The Elms, Whitegate Drive, Blackpool with her son Phelix
0
Have your say

Bella Kowalska is a young woman on a mission.

The Blackpool mum wants to raise awareness of a little-known medical condition, which has changed her life beyond recognition.

It has taken her six years to get a diagnosis of what the problem is, having seen countless doctors and specialists in various fields.

Bella lived a normal, active life until the birth of her son, Phelix – now aged seven.

Now the 27-year-old has to spend most of her time at home lying down or resting, and if she does feel well enough to go out, has to use a wheelchair.

There is no cure for her condition – which is called POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) – and affects heart rate, blood pressure, blood volume, her temperature and her internal organs.

And she is hoping that, by telling her story, she can help to raise awareness of POTS.

Bella said: “Over the years, I have got gradually worse.

“There is just not much awareness of this condition.

“I’ve seen so many different doctors and it has been suspected to be everything from heart problems, to epilepsy, to panic attacks.

“It started after I had given birth. I can remember being in the hospital and walking along the ward and suddenly feeling dizzy and I fainted. It was the first time I’d ever fainted.

“I just thought it was down to giving birth, but then I noticed when I was at home, if I was standing up for a while, doing something like the washing-up, I started feeling dizzy and faint.

“Now I can’t stand up really, or walk for more than about 10 or 15 minutes.

“I get a high heart rate and short of breath just walking up stairs. It also affects my digestive system, liver and kidneys. It has affected every aspect of my life.

“I’m lucky because my parents live nearby and Phelix’s father, although we’re not together, is really good and helps out.

“I feel grateful I have that network and support, as some people may not.

“And although Phelix is only seven, he is wonderful, he understands sometimes I don’t feel well and he tries to do what he can to help.

“I hope to raise awareness in case there are other people out there with these symptoms who might be trying to find some answers.”

Bella is backing a call by charity Dysautonomia International, for people to donate through its Just Giving page.

Throughout December, an anonymous donor has agreed to match any donations. The money will go towards research into POTS, as well as helping to support those living with it. More women are affected by POTS than men.

* For more details, visit www.dysautonomiainternational.org/GivingTuesday