Surviving day in and day out with a life-threatening illness like pulmonary hypertension (PH), well, simply sucks. My struggles with numerous symptoms and medication side effects weigh me down and rapidly deplete me.
Uptravi (selexipag) and Revatio (sildenafil) can cause horrific side effects, and these are my two primary PH therapies, along with a bucket full of others. When my body aches and the room spins from lightheadedness, I struggle to stay positive. PH life is not what I would’ve planned for myself, but it’s my life, so I must make the best of it.
Naturally, I crave peace and happiness when in the storms. Certainly, there are days when it’s challenging to find the “happy things” to focus on. Those with PH still have a life and we must remember to continue living despite illnesses.
As mentioned in my first column, “I Am Worth the PHight,” I deserve to have fun and enjoy life, to embrace my best life possible. You deserve the same!
An article about the psychology of happiness mentions that “happiness is a subjective experience.” I’m usually that happy-go-lucky kinda girl who wonders why everyone can’t just be happy. However, I must remember that happiness looks different for each of us, and that’s OK. As the saying goes, “Different strokes for different folks.” We are each rare in our own way; that is what makes us interesting.
I find it crucial that I create and plan things I look forward to. The resulting “happy moments” boost me physically, plus help preserve some of my sanity. I try to plan things that support that philosophy, such as an event, project, or short vacation. I have a trip on my calendar for next month. I am so pumped to have three days away with my awesome husband.
Things that I look forward to can vary from the simplest of activities, such as a Netflix binge, to more adventurous things like an overnight trip.
A few happy activities
- Family dinners: Anyone who knows me well understands just how important family dinners are to me. I enjoy cooking, eating (of course), and catching up on what’s new since the previous family dinner.
- Lunch, coffee, and tea dates: I am a foodie, so I am delighted when visiting unusual coffee and tea shops. I adore hanging out with my daughter, hubby, and friends. Lunch dates are fun, too, because it’s still early enough in the day that I am not totally exhausted.
- Mani and pedi: I take pleasure in visits to the nail salon every few months. This is a treat that makes me feel like a pampered queen. My hands and feet certainly look and feel loads better afterward.
- Drives: I have always been fond of going on random drives. Most often, you’ll find me by the lake or the beach. But other days, it’s a backroad country drive type of day. Some days, weather permitting, you’ll find my sunroof open as I soak up the vitamin D. I crave the beams of sunshine as my skin basks in the sunlight. Sunshine makes me happy and can be beneficial to health. Of course, I use sunscreen.
- Overnight trips: For the past few years, I was medically unable to fly. Thankfully, that has improved. My family and I have enjoyed overnight excursions throughout the year. As mentioned above, my husband and I are flying away for three days next month. I’m stoked!
- Netflix binges on my couch: PJs, comfy blankets, yummy snacks, and my Boo … Ahh, these are perfect days even when I am not feeling my best. I have enjoyed binging with family and friends as well. Some days lead into nights as we binge on shows. Where PJs are welcomed, my happy place is found.
PH life is unpredictable, but planning things to look forward to can improve my attitude. I crave this positivity and optimism in my crazy PH life. I realize there are risks when planning, but I choose to take those risks in an attempt to maintain some “normalcy” and happiness in my life.
What about you? What happy moments do you look forward to?
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.