Not all diagnosis carry with them the good news, and after researching what pulmonary hypertension was, the doctor might as well have told me the world was ending. That’s what it felt like anyways because the research led me to places where the outlook was not positive in any way, shape or form!
What is pulmonary hypertension?
Basically, after I researched and had a few helpers doing so, it broke down to this; the right side of my heart is not working as it should so it has to work harder to pump blood to my lungs. Over time, this will weaken my heart and can be potentially fatal. The diagnosis was a massive blow to my self-esteem, my confidence and my trust in my body. My husband was just as shocked, and we both fell into depression trying to figure out what we would do next.
The next step, figuring out why
Now that I had this new diagnosis, my next step after getting past the shock was figuring out why. I immediately made an appointment with a specialist known as a cardiologist, who specializes in heart diseases, at the recommendation of the emergency room doctor who had diagnosed me.
I was so incredibly nervous at that first appointment, I was only 35 years old and had been very healthy and active most of my life. I had gone to the ER because I thought at the time my asthma had gone into overdrive and I couldn’t get a grip on it. I had been having breathing problems for a while, but my inhalers had always helped. That night they didn’t, and after a bunch of tests, I received my diagnosis.
The cardiologist was so nice and explained everything so that we could understand easily. My husband was with me and very supportive. They concluded after reviewing all of my history, family and medical, that because I lived in high altitude and did have mild asthma, it had created a thickening of my pulmonary artery and now I have pulmonary hypertension. He assured me it was manageable, and I would be able to continue to do those things I had always done.
He prescribed me several medications and told me to come back in two weeks. I had never taken medication regularly in my entire life, and starting now was enough to create another bout of depression.
There are others out there like me
My husband did some of his own research to try and help me out of my funk. He found out the hospital did a monthly support meeting for those who have pulmonary hypertension like me. I was skeptical, but at the encouragement of my husband, we both went to our first meeting.
There were people of all ages there, some newly diagnosed like myself, and others who had been dealing with it for years. I was grateful to my husband and for the support group because it gave me a place to talk about my struggles as well as gain insightful tips for living life after being diagnosed.