LANCASTER, S.C. (WBTV) - Abigale Smuda competed in Miss Teen United States nine months ago while fighting a rare autoimmune disorder. We’ve been following her journey as one of our amazing #MollysKids since 2016.
Wednesday night, we find out, she’s fighting a second diagnosis.
The high school senior from Lancaster, South Carolina, was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Or, POTS. She’s been in and out of the emergency room these past couple of weeks with high heart rate, dizziness, fainting, shakes, loss of vision, sweating, and brain fog.
Some of our other #MollysKids live with POTS, so past research has taught me this is a neurological disorder that primarily affects circulation. Blood pressure needs to be steady, which POTS prevents from happening. Abigale’s blood pressure isn’t stable, causing severe highs and lows. Her autoimmune disorder is triggered by POTS, but important to note one can be diagnosed with POTS without any other medical battles.
Some might call this new diagnosis “a setback.”
Abigale calls it a challenge to overcome.
"I have much to look forward to,” she said.
Though she admits, there is fear.
“Being diagnosed with POTS was scary, but it also gave me an answer. Now I know why I feel dizzy and black out and shake.” she said. “I know I am strong. I will not let this define, nor confine, me.”
This smart, practical, beautiful 18-year-old was accepted and will attend Queen's University in Charlotte in the fall. She says she intends on studying Nursing with a concentration in pediatrics because – no surprise after her experiences during childhood – Abigale wants to be an RN.
“Give back to those who have helped me along the way,” she said. “Being a nurse just seems like my future.”
If you have a child with POTS and want to connect with Abigale and her mom – they are looking to network. Share this to others who might be able to help. Or, if you wish to be private, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can forward your note to them directly. No worries.
Promise you, they’ll be reading every word.
*Editor’s note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there, which is why it’s written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.