Looking Back at My PH Journey and Finding Hope in the Hard Places

Looking Back at My PH Journey and Finding Hope in the Hard Places

My schedule was hectic this week. I had several days of bloodwork and doctors’ appointments scheduled. The heat here in Texas with its suffocating humidity is not ideal weather for someone with pulmonary hypertension (PH). My energy levels were quickly depleted, and I became mentally and physically drained. When I become overwhelmed, I sometimes shut down. Have you ever reached this point?

When this happens, I become angry and frustrated — with my PH and myself. I struggle with feelings of guilt. I disassociate myself from loved ones and lash out at them. Have you ever watched a hamster running on its wheel? That’s how I feel — as if I’m spinning my wheels and going nowhere.

Severe fatigue leaves me unable to deal with the simplest things. I find it difficult to concentrate. Every sound seems excessively loud. I want to curl into a ball and hide under a blanket, away from the world. During these times, I do not like myself. My behavior is out of character as I allow my chronic illnesses to take over.

Thankfully, after a “low-key” weekend, I feel refreshed and more like myself again. Then I had an eye-opener while browsing on my Facebook page. I read some posts that reminded me of how far I have come on my journey. I usually overlook those posts, but the memories caught me off guard. They were from four years ago when I was in the hospital with kidney failure. Chronic kidney disease had just been added to my list of illnesses. You’re probably thinking, “How did this make you feel better?”

As I read some of the messages and updates, I began to cry. I was amazed at the outpouring of love and support from family members and friends. That period was one of many rough seasons through which my family and I have struggled. But we made it! With our faith, family, friends, and prayers from around the world, we survived that challenge and several more since. I realized that we need to look back at where we have been to recognize how far we have come, and to fully appreciate what we have now.

We find light in the difficult moments and hope in the hard places. I know that many of you can relate to that sentiment. Despite our daily battles with PH and other chronic illnesses, we have much for which to be grateful.

When you find yourself in these hard places, remind yourself of your struggles and how you overcame them. Sharing our experiences with others can inspire them as they face their own challenges.


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.

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  1. Jean Y. Hedrick says:

    Thank you for sharing. I needed to think of my almost six years of living with IPAH. My friends and family have been fantastic. It helps to reflect on how far this journey has taken me and appreciate the good times. Sometimes I forget that there are others who are living with the same challenges and understand. God bless you.

    • Jen Cueva says:

      Hi Jean, thank you for reading my column. PH can be a tough journey, that is true.
      I am glad to hear that you have such fantastic support.
      Reflecting on my “good” days is something that I have found beneficial.
      God bless you as well.

  2. Shannon says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I have had the roughest few weeks of my life recently. And I did hide under the blankets for at least 2 weeks. I had to drag myself to my family doctor and get help. I also decided to live for me and start doing things that I have to do for myself to be happy.

    • Jen Cueva says:

      Shannon, I am so happy to hear that things are somewhat improved for you. I know that your recent hospital trip and diagnosis was tough.

      You are not alone, we all have those down days. Finding things that make you happy is beneficial to your mental and physical health.

      Thanks for reading. I am glad to hear that my column helped you during your struggles.

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