OUR JOURNEYS

Patient story

Debi Barry

"Now, with proper treatment I can still chase after my grandson, play my mandolin and other activities that the symptoms kept me from before."

Debi Barry

Hello, I am honored that you chose to read about my journey with the disease of pulmonary hypertension. As you may already found out, it is a very complex disease and can be misdiagnosed; this happened to me. I was diagnosed with asthma for the last 15 years. Then I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea.

My problems really started a year ago. I had severe shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting. I also had severe edema. My primary care doctor tried different tests, and put me on diuretics, but nothing would help. She then referred me to a cardiologist, for I have a history of heart failure in my family. Well the cardio doctor gave me a good going over, which included an echocardiogram. The results of the echocardiogram showed elevated pressure, so the next step was a right heart catheterization. He did the right heart catheterization and said my pressures were high, but not high enough to worry. So it was said that I had heart failure, due to the extreme sleep apnea and high blood pressure.

So time went on and I gained lots of weight. To make long story short, I finally went to a pulmonary hypertension specialist, who correctly diagnosed me with pulmonary hypertension secondary to another disease. With secondary pulmonary hypertension, you need to treat the underlying cause of the disease and for me that was sleep apnea. I participated in another sleep study and it was determined I needed another machine to correct the problem. So, I am still monitored and watched. Between the pulmonary hypertension and heart failure, it keeps the doctor's on their toes.

I have found the Pulmonary Hypertension Association to be a wonderful source of help. I do not know what I would have done without it. Now, with proper treatment I can still chase after my grandson, play my mandolin and other activities that the symptoms kept me from before. I wish you all the best in your journey.

 

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