November is Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month

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This past August marked 8 years since I was first diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension. I was a nurse and didn’t even know what it really was. PH is called many things: Blue Lips Disease, The “Other” High Blood Pressure, Lung Disease, Heart Disease, Zebra Disease…it is all of this and more. It is essentially the blood vessels between the right side of your heart and your lungs that are screwed up. The lumens in these vessels are shrinking in diameter. This causes the pressure to build up in the blood vessels (pulmonary arteries). The right side of the heart is trying to push blood to the lungs to get rid of the carbon dioxide and other wastes. This increased pressure makes the heart work harder. The heart is over-worked and begins to enlarge. The heart compensates for as long as it can and then it just can’t anymore. PH is often secondary to a connective tissue disease. For me, it is primary. This means I have no cause for why I have PH…I just have it. When I was first diagnosed, I was told that without treatment the life expectancy was 3 years…even with treatment, life expectancy was only 5 years. This has been a very hard disease to learn about, accept and live with. I couldn’t have made it this far without my rockstar husband who handles all the doctor bills, insurance issues, ordering supplies, filling my pill case up weekly, doing my central line dressing changes at least once a week, changing my tubing and IV med every 48 hours all while keeping our house together and working 2 jobs. I am blessed beyond blessed to have my hubby and am equally blessed to be the mother of two amazing boys who recognize my limitations and also pitch in. Take the time to learn about PH. I share a lot of information about the disease process along with how we as a family keep on PHighting HERE. There have been many advancements in the past 8 years. Even with these advancements, there is still no cure. All treatments either slow the progression down or just treat the symptoms. The end result is the same. PH is a progressively debilitating disease and it will kill you. It is so important that more people learn about PH and teach their family and friends about PH. When awareness is raised, then funding and donations increases. When there’s more money, there’s more research. With increased research…there just may be a cure for Pulmonary Hypertension one day. So give a hoot, educate some folks and possibly donate to a worthy organization that is funding cutting edge research like the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt and best friend…a lot of people are counting on me and I’m counting on you to find ways to ensure the research continues. I have a lot of people I can’t let down. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I truly do hope you find the time to read Our PHight with Pulmonary Hypertension. I’m brutally honest about the good, the bad and down right ugliness of PH.

 

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