Derek Evans was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a dysautonimia disorder, at the age of 17. The Exeter Township native has since written about his experiences in a recently released book, “So Close To Death yet So Far Away.”
Evans describes the disorder as an imbalance of the nervous system, and says that while the disorder is fairly common — not many people know about it.
According to WebMD, POTS is an increased heart rate (tachycardia) that starts after a person stands up and within 10 minutes. Diagnosis can be established through a Tilt Table Test and monitoring blood pressure and heart rate when shifting from a lying position to a standing position. The symptoms are widespread.
For the next eight to nine years following his diagnosis, Evans says he dealt with the disorder until one day he collapsed while working and woke up in ambulance. That day changed everything for him. He said that due to his condition, he had to make a choice and he decided to leave his job as an assistant branch manager at Hertz Rent –A- Car.
“During that time, I wrote a book about my condition to raise awareness to it,” said Evans. He explained how when he first began to write, it was mainly because he was frustrated. “Then I thought, maybe I could actually bring awareness to this and make something out of it. And that’s when I started reaching out to other people to help me out.”
In addition to sharing about his battle with POTS, the book also includes interviews with others going through similar experiences.
“It’s been really well received. Since I released it, people have reached out to me on Facebook to say ‘hey, thank you for bringing awareness.’ They appreciate it,” said Evans. “Getting messages like that kind of encourages me to keep bringing it out there to the general public.”
He said the messages received are often from folks which have disorder themselves or know somebody that has it. He plans to remain involves in the cause and continue to raise awareness.
“It’s something I’ve been focusing my time on now. I kind of feel like, throughout life different things happen and then you figure out maybe this is something that I was meant to do.”
His writing journey began back in October 2016. Five months later, he says the book was released and is now available online through Amazon and Barnes and Nobles. It can also be found at the Exeter Community Library.
Coming up, Evans will be at the Barnes and Nobles in Wyomissing on Sunday, July 30, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for a book signing event.
Evans is a 2009 graduate of Exeter Senior High School.