by Beverly Clemens
Our daughter, Caroline Clemens, is a 29 year old English teacher, team leader, leadership sponsor, and Teacher of the Year at Allen High School in Allen, Texas. She has had scleroderma for over six years. In April, 2007, she was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension. After trying several different medications which all unfortunately failed to help her pulmonary hypertension progression, in October of 2008 she was hospitalized. While in the hospital her doctors decided to start IV Flolan. Because she was so weak, her dad had to help her walk from her room to the end of the hall, a short distance of about 30 meters. One of her doctors even said she could probably not work for at least six months. She was so weak she could barely stand, she had trouble getting out of bed, and she needed assistance for everyday activities.
Incredibly, Caroline went back to teaching four short weeks after the day she was admitted to the hospital! She was in the hospital for two weeks, and at home for two weeks recovering. She has learned to mix her medicine and change her pump by herself. One night she even mixed her medicine at school because she and her students were running the concession stand at a basketball game. Recently, Caroline and her fellow teachers took 97 high school kids to Austin for a weekend conference. On Friday night the students had a dance, and on Saturday students and sponsors attended educational workshops all day. Then, on Saturday night everyone went bowling. Caroline bowled! Fortunately, she doesn't have trouble breathing anymore and she is getting stronger all the time.
We are extremely grateful every day for her caring doctors, Flolan, and PHA for searching for a cure. We are proud of our Caroline. She was given this devastating disease, but she is dealing with it very well. Despite PH, Caroline is leading a full and productive life.