Patient story

"Had I not taken heed to that warning my disease could have progressed to fatal conditions before diagnosis. I'm here and alive....FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE!!!!!"

- Michelle Williams

Michele Williams

My name is Michele Williams. I am a pulmonary hypertension (PH) patient, I was diagnosed in May 2009 and I have a testimony to share. In August 2008 I was jogging up a 40 flight stairway and skipping across a major Chicago street to make it into Nordstrom for a beauty appointment. By the time I got across the street I felt so dizzy and everything around me was spinning. I thought to myself "wow girl, you must be getting fat and you need to start exercising" because this had NEVER happened to me before. By the time I went through the revolving doors I knew I couldn't continue walking without stopping first to pull myself together. I remember leaning over a banister to compose myself and nothing after.

Then I awoke I was on the floor in a corner with people standing over me asking if I was okay. A man that was standing about 10 feet away from me when I leaned on the banister said he saw me slowly slide to the side and then fall to the ground. I was fortunate not to hurt myself when I fell. I was quickly rushed to the emergency room. They discharged me after a couple of hours saying that I probably passed out because I hadn't eaten. Go figure!!!!

Michelle WilliamsI never went to the doctor after this episode to get checked further until almost a year later when it happened again. I was running up my walkway to my front door because I had to use the bathroom really, really, really badly. When I got inside the door I remember having to stop at the stairs to catch my breath. The next thing I remembered was waking up to a vibration (my cell phone was vibrating in my purse, which was lodged beneath my body). I had passed out on the stairs. At first I thought I had just laid there for a minute, but after standing up I realized that I’d relieved myself before making it to the bathroom and found a long rug burn down the side of my cheek bone. That’s when realized I had passed out again.

Two days later I drove myself to the emergency room and was admitted. After 5 days of testing, I was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. My first response was “OH MY GOSH what has happened to me!!!!”

Fast forward a year and a half. I am coping with my disease one day at a time. It has been a struggle, but with the pulmonary rehabilitation program at my county hospital and most of all one of the BEST pulmonologists in my city, Dr. Nancy Quesada, I WILL BE OKAY. I take ambrisentan, which has really allowed me more mobility so that I can walk longer distances and do some chair exercises to keep my blood flowing.

I call this my testimony because it is exactly that. God passed me out a second time to give me a final warning that something was going wrong. Had I not taken heed to that warning my disease could have progressed to fatal conditions before diagnosis. I'm here and alive....FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE!!!!


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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.