Using comedy to cope with illness

By Sarah Slayman
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Sarah Slayman
Grove City resident Eva Siedler wrote a romantic comedy that educates readers on the chronic condition Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Her novel “Work it Out” will be released at the end of January.

One way to educate people is through comedy.

Eva Siedler, a Grove City resident, debuts with her romantic comedy “Work it Out” as an effort to drive awareness for POTS, a chronic illness she personally experiences.

Siedler has had the classic symptoms of POTS for as long as she can remember. She experienced severe heat intolerance that produced nausea and weakness, causing her to pass out at summer fairs and in routine gym class. Doctors diagnosed her with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS).

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke identifies it as a condition in which “an excessively reduced volume of blood returns to the heart after an individual stands up from a lying down position.” Additional symptoms can include brain fog, chronic fatigue, and dizziness. This can oftentimes be a silent struggle, but nonetheless an isolating one.

Siedler’s journey with accepting POTS since her diagnosis has been on a steady incline.

“Having compassion for myself is so important, but new,” she said. “The idea of not making excuses doesn’t apply to me in certain spaces and that’s okay.”

Something that has unexpectedly been very healing in this process is the authorship of a novel.

“Writing this book has been a big part of coming to grips with this being an actual disability for me,” said Siedler.

Writing was an interest that popped up after the birth of her first son. In rocking him to sleep, she formed the silent habit of reading, but at that time she wasn’t finding the book she craved.

“I couldn’t find the story I wanted, so I wrote it.” she said.

That momentum produced several books, and nearly two decades later has led to her first publication.

The romance takes place in small-town Arizona and follows the journey of an actor who is training for a superhero role that will launch his career while actively trying to hide his POTS. His trainer sees him clearly and pushes him in the way he needs. He becomes her soft spot and the challenges draw them to one another.

Siedler mentioned that she found herself scripting the characters to respond in ways she wished she was responded to. The trainer makes small accommodations for him without having to be asked, because she paid attention, had compassion, and wanted him to succeed in a way that worked with his disability, not against it.

Of course, everyone wants to walk away from a romantic comedy feeling good, but Siedler hopes to offer more. Her hope for the novel would be to organically produce a sense of compassion for those who struggle with seemingly invisible chronic illnesses.

The characters invite you into a daily look of the emotions, challenges, and victories of someone who experiences POTS.

“Writing this helped me believe that about myself too,” Siedler said.

Siedler’s family has been extremely supportive throughout her entire journey. In particular, her two sons, ages 16 and 18, have always been her biggest fans. When they were younger, they would always ask where on the shelf her book was going to go in the store.

“It was never a matter of quitting. I didn’t want to set that example, though they also wouldn’t have been okay with that,” she said

Siedler will soon make her sons proud as “Work it Out,” Published by Entangled Publishing, will be released on Jan. 29. The book is now available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

This book is set to be the first of a series.

 

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