As you may have gathered from the title, this column will probably be my last one — although never say never. I’ve really enjoyed my time with Pulmonary Hypertension News, and am sad to leave such a wonderful team. This opportunity helped me discover how much I enjoy writing, and also to gain more experience, for which I am grateful. It was also great to be able to share my voice, and connect with so many other people who understand what living with pulmonary hypertension can mean.
I feel as if I need a change in my life. I need time to focus on my health, although less on pulmonary hypertension. Something I didn’t expect when starting a column were the personal comments and emails I have received from readers. For the most part, the majority of the feedback was encouraging. I want to thank everyone who took the time to read my column and, more importantly, felt comfortable enough to share their own story with me. It means a lot that I was able to connect with so many people, and that I could add one more voice to our community. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this endeavor.
I’ve always been a private person. When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t tell anyone, other than my boyfriend and two best friends for several months. I also begged my parents not to tell anyone in our family. I’ve struggled with being open about what I am going through, along with finding ways to respond to all of the emails that I’ve received from frustrated people wanting help and answers. I understand those fears and frustrations because I have them, too. It has been overwhelming for me, and stressful, which I know is not good for overall health and well-being.
Unfortunately, I received quite a few anxiety-inducing responses from people. Like a comment to the effect that it sounded like I didn’t have pulmonary hypertension, after I wrote about not being able to vacuum anymore. I didn’t expect comments like that from people who know how difficult it is to downplay the severity of an illness. I also received emails from people telling me that they knew someone who had died from pulmonary hypertension, and others who asked when I was getting a transplant. These were tough to read, especially after spending several hours in an emergency room. Stress is not good for me, and I feel its physical and emotional weight. Stresses make some of my symptoms worse, and they often keep me awake at night.
So, it is time for me to focus on my health, privately. I also need to focus on my happiness, which is something we all need to find ways to hold on to.
This will be my last column, at least for now. I will continue writing because I’ve learned that I love it, but I want to write about things beyond my diagnosis.
Going forward, I want to share something I saw on a poster in a classroom where I was assisting in teaching.
Before you speak: THINK
T= Is it True?
H= Is it Helpful?
I= Is it Inspiring?
N= Is it Necessary?
K= Is it Kind?
I am sharing this to remind you that, although you have a lot of fears and frustrations, so does a columnist who is writing about living with pulmonary hypertension. It is important to remember that there is a real human being on the other side of the computer screen.
Any aspiring writer welcomes feedback, so do not hesitate to let a columnist know if you enjoyed their column or not. If you would like to read about a certain theme or topic, let them know. We often have a hard time knowing what people want to read and, more importantly, what readers find helpful.
I’ve always been open to criticism. As someone who went to art school, I am used to having people tell me in a public forum that something sucks. I once had an art critic tell me I was brave for majoring in art because I clearly wasn’t an artist. This was a few weeks before my graduating class did our thesis exhibition. I just smiled and said “thank you.” (He had nailed a bucket to a sculpture of a tree, which helped me take his feedback with a grain of salt.)
This experience also taught me the importance of perseverance. His comments didn’t stop me from continuing to draw and paint. In fact, I’ve just finished nearly 40 commissioned prints that will be put on sale in a store in New Mexico. One of the great friends I’ve made since I was diagnosed opened the store — and just happens to have pulmonary hypertension as well.
Let me bow out by saying thank you to everyone who has followed me on this journey. I wish you all the best as you continue yours. Goodbye, at least for now.
For anyone interested in following me in my next life’s chapter, you can find me at worship and tribute.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.