Patient story

Josephine Alvarado

I was diagnosed in March 2009. In 2005 I was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder COPD. I was given several different inhalers. Every time I would see my doctor at the time, I would fail my lung function tests. He told me get rid of the cigarettes which I smoked at the time. Then, I started going to another pulmonologist in South Texas. He changed inhalers and gave me a steroid injection. In the beginning of 2009, I started to feel very breathless and started coughing. My walk was very short from work to my car and I would be exhausted. Co-workers and family started to notice I was retaining fluid. In my heart I felt I needed to take action. I set up an appointment with a cardiologist myself and explained my situation. He advised me I could not have a stress test due to all the shortness of breath. He scheduled me for a right heart catheterization. There that day he told me I had idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. My life changed. It was all a blur. Maybe it was me not accepting this grueling diagnosis. I quickly was put on a low dose of Tracleer but within a few months it was increased. My days are more good than bad now. I see life one day at a time and try and make the most of it.


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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.