as told by Jami Kellogg
Lori E. Gray Hudson was a daughter, sister, mother, wife, and friend just like any other normal person. She had a caring generous heart, was a friend to anyone that knew her, and had a love for her family and those she loved that was extraordinary. She went out of her way to please those around her and it made her happy to do so. Her love for the Lord shined on her face and in her life, her faith was unshakable no matter what trouble was presented to her. I am the daughter of Lori and would like to share her story of hope with you.
For years Lori went to doctors. She was adamant that something was just not right. Eventually doctors started telling her that nothing was wrong, like most she went with it. Doctors know what they are doing right? As time went on symptoms got worse and she was eventually short of breath after doing the simplest things. In 1997 she finally got a diagnosis that seemed to explain her symptoms. Primary Pulmonary Hypertension. I had never heard of this disease. So she was going to be fine right? Besides, she didn’t look sick. Time went on and I saw a decrease in my mothers’ health almost daily. I never bothered to ask questions or take any of it seriously. My mother was so selfless that she would never burden anyone else with her sickness unless you came right out and asked her about it. I was a selfish, rebellious teenager so I never bothered. As time went on and the disease progressed my mother was put on a medication called Flolan. At the time it was the only treatment for advanced PPH. Most of you know what Flolan is, but for those of you that don’t, it’s a line that pumps medication to your heart intravenously. This looked scary to me. But my mother took it in stride. Don’t get me wrong, there were times that she was scared and questioned the disease. Never once did she question God. Her faith was amazing and seemed crazy to me. One day I walked into the house and saw my mother sitting there reading her bible like usual. The whole thing finally got to me. Here sits this woman reading her bible faithfully, happy, peaceful. All the while this tube with this pump is still connected to her body. In anger I asked, “How can you have so much faith in a God that has let this happen to you?” My mother calmly and whole heartedly replied, “Sometimes God lets something happen to one person to save so many others”. At the time I thought she was insane. But that single conversation that I had with her that day is what sticks out in my mind 15 years later. Those few words she spoke that day continue to drive me daily. Not 2 months after that talk my mother lost her fight to PPH. She went home to be with the lord July 28th 1999. I had just turned 18. My sister Hannah was only 11. A whole new scary world for the both of us.
Almost instantly I became obsessed with learning about PPH. I wanted to find out everything that I could. There was one problem, I was doing it out of pain and anger. Grasping at straws trying to understand. Feeling sorry for my mom and feeling sorry for myself. Its needless to say that PPH and the loss of my mother changed me. I decided that it doesn’t have to be for the worse. I found that unshakable faith like my mother had a few years ago. I found a great church and began a relationship with the Lord. I was hungry for Gods work for me not too long ago. So one day I just asked. “give me the work that you want me to do Lord. I wanna be your servant.” Not even a week later I was looking online and decided to visit an old website that I used to frequent after my mom’s passing. PHcentral. A friend of my mother’s from a support group, Mary Perez, spoke about me in one of the patient diaries on the website. She talked of how I gave her so much hope, and how her and I would never stop looking for a cure. Mary wrote this in 2000. I was just reading it 2014 for the first time. Right then I was overcome with assurance from God. “this is it! This is my work!” After all the pain and heartache that I pushed back into my mind I realized That this disease did not define my mother, and it does not define me. Something good can come out of my mother’s experience with PPH. Lori has a voice, and I’m going to use it to help others. Others who are dealing with the same thing that she dealt with so many years ago. In honor of my mother I have a passion to help patients and family members suffering from Pulmonary Hypertension. Words that sounded crazy to me so many years ago sound very motivational to me today. “sometimes God lets something happen to one person so that so many others can be saved.” Lori may not be PHighting for her own life anymore, but her voice, her kind heart, and her passion to help others is still PHighting through Hannah and I to do whatever we can to help anyone affected by Pulmonary Hypertension. Our mothers struggle wasn’t for nothing. It lead us to be here for you. To be your friend, your resource, and your companion in your PHight.
Currently there is no PH care center in the state of Oklahoma. The support groups are few as well. We live in the Northeast part of Oklahoma. Our focus right now is to bring a support group together, raise awareness in our area and continue to contribute to The PHA in any way that we can. Thank you for taking time to listen to The first chapter of Lori’s story. I say that because her story is not over yet. It’s just beginning.
In Loving Memory
Lori Evelyn Hudson
February 9,1964 - July 28,1999