Every school has a policy on substance abuse and using drugs on school campus, but this week in Pasadena, that policy was enforced on one student who adamantly proclaimed her innocence. Jazmin Garcia, a 15 year old Pasadena Memorial High School student was suspended from school after passing out in class. The school alleged that she was using drugs, an unidentified substance, and even recommended her for expulsion.
In an interview with ABC News 13 Jazmin said "They were telling me that I was under the influence of something, when I didn't do nothing,"
After being suspended, the teen and her family took her to the doctor and she had a drug test performed and the results were negative.
The news story ran in Pasadena and viewers responded with their thoughts and opinions on the topic. One viewer thought the symptoms and situation sounded all too familiar, though, and reached out to the family of the high school student.
Rachael Ainsworth, a member of Dysautonomia Support Network, has POTS. POTS is a neurological condition in which the autonomic nervous system dysfunctions and can cause your cardiovascular system to not function properly. POTS stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.
One of the main symptoms is passing out, fainting or syncope.
After Ainsworth reached out to the Garcia family, Jazmin went to the doctor and was diagnosed with POTS.
Garcia is being allowed to return to school but has lots of adjusting to do with her new condition.
Rachael Ainsworth is a member of a national support group and non-profit, Dysautonomia Support Network and reaching out to others who battle this condition is one of the many things that the organization does. Her quick thinking and desire to help others has made a significant impact on this young woman's life. When asked about being a member of this non-profit support group and how it has helped her to be able to reach out to others, this is what Ainsworth had to say:
“It has helped me to realize that those of us living with this illness have such a robust support and advocacy community. I have been so devastated by my symptoms in the past, and have been in so much pain, that I was having really negative thoughts. The support I have received in those trying times has helped me carry on and keep fighting. Finally, my doctors and I found the right combination of treatments and I’m doing so much better now. If I did not have the support of DSN and other online support communities, I may not have had the chance to reach out and help Miss Garcia. So really, the Dysautonomia Support Network has come full-circle, and I’m so grateful and glad I’m here to help others”!
Rachael, herself, has had struggles related to her POTS condition.
“I was fired from jobs," Ainsworth said. "I was accused of being on drugs. I was told I was lazy, dramatic." ABC News 13”
Many patients with dysautonomia struggle to get a diagnosis. The diagnosis rate of any form of dysautonomia is 5 years and 11 months. Because of the nature of these disorders they are often misdiagnosed and patients are accused of faking their illnesses. The symptoms can come and go and be very elusive, and providers can miss the diagnosis.
Organizations like Dysautonomia Support Network focus on patient empowerment and have resources available so that patients can find the help that they need, while also building relationships with the medical community and spreading awareness about dysautonomia and its related conditions.