Journeys Memorial

Michelle Foulkes

As told by Gerald Foulkes

Hello, my name is Gerald, and this story is about my late wife, Michelle.

Michelle's Journey started when she was told at the age of 20 that she had PH. She was placed on oxygen and remained on until her passing on Dec. 23, 2012. Michelle and I met on Nov. 6, 2009, which was one of the happiest days of my life. It was love at first sight for both of us. She was, is and always will be an amazing woman for all the struggles that she endured throughout her life. When we first started dating she told me about her PH and what it was about. She never let it get her down (sure there were times when she got mad when she got tangled up in her oxygen tubes). She lived her life to the fullest. She loved to go out and take photos and she also loved her daycare kids (she was a daycare teacher). Michelle's smile was so infectious that no matter what was bothering her about how her day went she would have a smile for whoever was around. I knew that she was the one that I wanted to be with for all times, so on Sept. 26, 2011 (Michelle's birthday) I asked her to be my wife and she said yes. It was the happiest time of both of our lives. We planned our wedding which was the second marriage for the both of us so we just kept it simple. We chose Oct. 10, 2012 as our date and we got married at the courthouse. Her friend Nicole and she picked out her gown and she was the most beautiful woman that I have ever seen in her dress. But the Honeymoon was short-lived.

Michelle's health started to slowly decline and on November 27 she was admitted to the hospital and had tests done to see what was going on. The doctors that worked with her were wonderful. She was put on PH meds and it seemed that they were working. Then on Dec. 20th (the day after my birthday), Michelle was moved to the medical intensive care unit due to the fact that she needed to be put on dialysis to help remove some fluid. That Saturday when I came into her room she seemed to be doing better. Not too long after she started running a fever and coughing. The fever was a shock to us because her temp was always lower than normal. They got that under control and did some blood work, and when the blood work came back we found out that she was septic (blood infection) so they gave her antibiotics and kept an eye on her. Her father came in that evening to stay with her so I could go home and get some rest. I came in the next morning which was a Sunday and he filled me in on how she was. It seemed that she had a pretty good night. He went home to get some rest. The nurse came in to do his morning rounds and Michelle had spiked another fever and it was 102.3 which was very high for her. She started having trouble breathing and at around 8:30 Dec. 23rd, Michelle started slipping away from us. I called her parents to get to the hospital as soon as they could and at 8:50, Michelle's heart stopped. The doctors and nurses did CPR and got her heart started again but she was on a ventilator for which I knew she didn’t want to be, but I did it so her parents could get there to say their goodbyes. After they got there and had a chance to see her one last time, at 9:20am on December 23, Michelle Lynn Iocono-Foulkes took her last breath and left this world to be with God at the age of 36. She will always be in the hearts and memories of her family and friends and the ones that she met even if it was just for a few minutes.

Thank you for reading my story and I hope that PHA can find a cure so nobody will have to go through what I or anyone else has because of PH.


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The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) awarded PHA the Abbey S. Meyers Leadership Award in 2012 for outstanding service to PHA members in advocacy, education and other key areas.