WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Carly Lloyd grew up living a mostly-normal life.
She was a three-sport athlete at Jamestown High School and very outgoing. She suffered from several bone breaks, but never thought it was out of the ordinary.
“If I had a frequent flyer card for the ER, I would be platinum status I would have so many flyer miles,” Lloyd said.
It wasn’t until 2015 when she started taking medication for headaches that she realized her symptoms were not normal.
Lloyd says, despite being an athlete, just walking up the stairs would leave her breathless and her heart rate skyrocketing.
The first doctor she went to told her that she was only suffering from being a tiny girl with a “type A” personality. So her family ended up taking her to another doctor, who diagnosed her with Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS for short.
“For people with POTS, we stand up and our bodies overreact. Normal people, their heart rate will go up and go back down because their body regulates their blood flow,” Lloyd said.
But unlike a normal body, her body struggles with raising her blood volume when she stands up, causing it to overreact and leaving her lightheaded until she faints.
Lloyd was also diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which causes weak joints and explains why she’s broken so many bones.
But it doesn’t end there.
Lloyd also suffers from Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), where her body cells overreact and can release too much histamine — causing her to be allergic to something one day and not the next.
It’s not uncommon to have multiple conditions related to another, but it’s Lloyd’s her fainting spells that leaves her worried about going to school in Washington, D.C.
On her way home from George Washington University over Christmas break, she had one particularly scary incident while on the metro.
“I passed out. I woke up with a woman patting me on the back asking if I was okay. It’s scary when you pass out and wake up, because you have no clue what’s happened,” Lloyd said.
That’s why she’s been raising money since 2018 to get a service dog from Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD), a non-profit that provides dogs for people like Lloyd.
“They’ll start picking up on what you do if you pass out. What you do after you pass out,” Lloyd said. She’s already raised $15,500 out of the $25,000 needed for the dog and her training.
Lloyd is currently being treated for her conditions by taking multiple medications like heart failure medicine and IVs at least four times a week.
While getting a service dog will not cure her conditions, it will give her family peace of mind knowing that someone will be there to help her in her time of need.
“It’s not going to prevent me from passing out, always. It’s not going to prevent me from dislocating, but it will help a lot,” says Lloyd.
Lloyd says that POTS is common among teens and women and some can grow out of the condition.If you believe you or your kids have symptoms such as tiredness, dizziness, craving salty food, and weak joints, she recommends going to the doctor to be checked for POTS.