OUR JOURNEYS

Patient story

Geraldine Brown

"By July 2009, my breathing got progressively worse. While walking with my sisters, I noticed that I was resting more and more while they continued. Previously I was able to keep up with them. Walking up a flight of stairs became more and more difficult also. I had to rest half way up - almost hyperventilating."

My journey with pulmonary hypertension began In November 2008. While visiting my son in Prince George, I noticed that I was getting winded walking up hills in the cold. I didn't think much of it and just rested when I needed to. By July 2009, my breathing got progressively worse. While walking with my sisters, I noticed that I was resting more and more while they continued. Previously I was able to keep up with them. Walking up a flight of stairs became more and more difficult also. I had to rest half way up - almost hyperventilating. In September 2009, I finally started using a tripod cane with a built in chair. My health was declining quickly. By the middle of the month, I had to leave my job and try to find out what was wrong. My family doctor referred me to the local specialist who quickly recognized pulmonary hypertension. Doctor Brocker referred me to The Lung Centre in Vancouver where I was subjected to many, many tests to confirm the initial diagnosis. At one point, I was told that I had a hole in my heart (which was kind of a relief - at least it could be fixed) which was totally wrong - I didn't and still don't have a hole in my heart. Finally, after long last, on October 30, 2009, I was finally diagnosed with stage III idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. I was admitted into the hospital to get a hickman line inserted into my chest and to learn how to prepare Flolan on a daily basis. After being in the hospital for about a week (everything was foggy way back then - I was operating on auto pilot) my diagnosis of stage III was downgraded to stage II and it was determined that I would be able to be discharged on a salt restricted diet, restricted fluids and stabilized by sildenafil 3x a day. I'm very fortunate and blessed to have such a wonderful family and circle of friends who not only accept me as I am, but help me to feel normal. Please help to raise awareness of pulmonary hypertension for the sake of a loved one and for my sake. Nobody should ever have to live with PH.

 

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NORD

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.