After being turned away or misdiagnosed by dozens of doctors in Texas, one woman finally got help from a local doctor here in OKC. Part of her problem stemmed from blood circulation.
"It was like one day, I was fine. The next day, I couldn't walk without feeling like I was going to pass out or passing, sweating, swollen purple legs [and I] couldn't breathe," Ashley Ivester said.
Back in 2016, Ivester had been trying to figure why her health was declining so rapidly.
"It took about a year for them to diagnose me with POTS, and then it took about five years of trying to figure out why I had the POTS," Ivester said.
Most cases of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS, are diagnosed in women. The disorder makes people feel dizzy. It usually happens when there are issues with blood flow to the heart when standing.
"I started getting tremors that started in my legs and went throughout my entire body," Ivester said. “Couldn't drive anymore. I needed a cane or a scooter.”
Ivester remembers a trip she took with her family when she was unable to do much of anything.
"I remember my niece was looking at rocks, and she asked if I could help her look for rocks," Ivester said. "I remember I couldn't even help her. Could only sit there and point.”
In her early 20's, Ivester was in physical pain. She was starting to give up after going to almost 40 doctors in Texas.
"I would always either get told from the extreme of, ‘It's all in your head,’ (or) ‘You just have anxiety,’” Ivester said. “I've been told a few times that I had these devasting other illnesses that I was dying. Basically dying.”
Before she reached her breaking point, a family member pointed Ivester to Dr. Blake Parsons and the Cardiovascular Health Clinic in Oklahoma City.
"She's definitely unique in the severity of her symptoms as well as her response," said Dr. Parsons.
Dr. Parsons told News 9 that he has seen people, especially women, with similar issues and symptoms.
"A lot of times these women get labeled as being crazy or having anxiety, and that this isn't really a medical problem,” Dr. Parsons said.
Many times, the patients know there's something wrong.
After running tests, Dr. Parsons found an area that needed a stent to help Ivester's blood flow.
"I would say, within the first week, it was very noticeable," said Ivester.
Now, Ivester has been able to travel, drive and even go horseback riding. Dr. Parsons and Ivester hope her story helps others still searching for answers.
"Endless possibilities," Ivester said. "I mean, I'm getting married now. That was something I had given up on a long time ago."
For the first time in years, Ivester said she has energy and hope.