"I can't keep up like I use to but, I take care of my grandchildren five days a week and do most everything I did before, with only a few exceptions. I don't know how long I'll feel normal."
My journey with PH began with a diagnosis of heart failure and pulmonary hypertension just three months ago. It had been six years since I first began experiencing symptoms of lightheadedness and pressure in my head after standing from a sitting position.
After visiting my cardiologist, they picked up a 2nd degree heart block and an electrical problem in my ventricle. I ended up with a pacemaker. Over the years I would experience shortness of breath (SOB), dizziness, and pressure in my head. I attributed all of these symptoms to my pacemaker, and ignored them all.
Three months ago, I began experiencing additional symptoms; dry cough, mild swelling in the right side of my face, flushing, more pronounced SOB, and increased high blood pressure. Yet still, I continued to ignore these symptoms and blamed them on being older and out of shape. My new normal for having a pacemaker just trucked on.
My journey with PH began at a routine pacemaker check-up, where I was minding my own business. They found that my heart rate had reached 200 beats per minute at one point, and I was sent for an echocardiogram.
They detected heart failure, high pressure of 48 in my lungs (normal is 25), and I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. Testing ruled out secondary causes, and they put me on a variety of medicines, a diuretic, and an ace inhibitor.
Since then, my symptoms have improved, and I will have another echocardiogram in two weeks to see if my pressures have lowered as well. This will determine whether or not I'll need to see a pulmonary doctor at this time. If the pressures are down, I will continue with the medications I’m on and continue seeing my cardiologist. I can't keep up like I use to but, I take care of my grandchildren five days a week and do most everything I did before, with only a few exceptions. I don't know how long I'll feel normal.
My first echocardiogram said I had moderate PH, but for now, I'm going to live life as normally as I can and hope this disease can be controlled by my doctor for along time to come.