Finding Joy in a Walk to the Ocean While Visiting My Favorite City

Finding Joy in a Walk to the Ocean While Visiting My Favorite City

A few weeks ago, I wrote about planning happy moments amid the storms. I shared my excitement about a planned trip to San Diego with my husband.

The city, my “little piece of heaven,” is one of my favorite places to be. Maybe the place is special to me because our journey as newlyweds began there when my husband was stationed at Coronado Island.

As we planned our visit, I was longing for the sunny San Diego weather and its beautiful beaches.

Though I have positive memories of San Diego, being in the city brought reminders of my life before my pulmonary hypertension (PH) diagnosis. While living there, I had no limitations of my physical capabilities. For example, I could walk a few blocks to the laundromat while carrying heavy bags without suffering the consequences of overdoing it. Now, I can’t complete this simple task without assistance.

On this trip, we did some sightseeing, taking in a tour of the historic Hotel del Coronado. I love this place, but the cost of staying here is outside my budget. We visited some ground floor areas and its magnificent surroundings. The hotel is currently undergoing restoration but continues to operate as usual.

The place was busy with tourists from around the world. The property and its private beach are stunning, and a bonus was that the attraction is easy to navigate.

Hotel del Coronado. (Photo by Jen Cueva)

California is one of the most accessible-friendly states I have visited. Handicapped-accessible parking is widely available. The sidewalks are wide and free of clutter. I discovered some adaptive adventure resources I intend to explore on my next trip.

Many of the area’s public beaches offer beach wheelchairs. Mission Beach provides free motorized and manual beach wheelchairs for those with disabilities. Motorized chairs can’t be taken into the water, but manual chairs can. While I did not avail of a beach chair on this trip, I have used a manual one on a previous visit.

This trip, I had a goal for my hubby to push me down to the shore on a special sand wheelchair mat, and I would walk to the water using my oxygen. And I did it, walking hand in hand with my husband into the ocean. I live for these moments of joy.

A beach wheelchair. (Photo by Jen Cueva)

The excitement did not end there. I met with an old PH friend I call “Moma Hen.” We met on a PH chat about 12 years ago. Our kids were close in age and we formed a close bond. She came to visit us in Texas once and stayed for several days. I was delighted to see her again.

“Moma Hen,” Baby Ceci, and Jen Cueva. (Photo by Manny Cueva)

We drove for about an hour to meet her at a location convenient to both of us. She brought her sister and baby granddaughter to meet me. We had a wonderful time catching up while enjoying yummy Mexican food. PH can present us with seemingly insurmountable challenges, but we make some incredible friends along the way. Bonding with others who are going through some of the same struggles brings us comfort. My PH friends hold a special place in my heart.

Living with PH can be depressing and isolating. Setting aside time to spend with friends and loved ones is essential. I look forward to more happy moments like these.


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. Wanda baxter says:

    I love read all your story’s I like this the best because I Love walking on the beach.i pray that God blessed you for what you are doing helping People love it

  2. Donna White says:

    Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful time in your life. My husband has PH and we are trying to make adjustments in our life while still hanging on to “us”. We love the ocean but need to stay within our limits. We visit Galveston as much as possible.
    Thank you again and have a blessed day!

    • Jen Cueva says:

      Hi Donna,
      I can certainly relate to trying to manage PH while keeping the marriage intact. PH is tough on anyone, marriages certainly can be tested. I have to say that having the support and love of my husband and family is what helps me with this rollercoaster ride, PH.

      We usually do quick drive trips, but I had been wanting to go back to San Diego for years. Finally, I was stable enough and up to the trip to fly. Finding the things that you both enjoy within the new limits can often be tough. But, just think about what things y’all have ways enjoyed and try to work within his limits to do those things. Every day is different. Thanks for reading and please feel free to reach out anytime. I am not too far from Galveston.

  3. Carol Alexander says:

    I read your article and it brought tears to my eyes it’s true we all struggle but some days the sun does shine

    Stay well Carol

    • Jen Cueva says:

      Thank you so much, sweet Carol. You are so sweet! You are so right, some days are tough, but eventually, the sun will shine. I am happy to know you and talk to you in the forums.

      I hope that you have some good news at your upcoming appointments. Please do keep us posted. Thanks for reading. Hugs to you. ,

  4. Mike Naple says:

    Hi Jen,

    I can’t tell you how glad I was to come across your column. First, it it reminded that I am a year overdue for writing an entry in my column. It’s been a busy, hectic year and I just haven’t had the energy to write anything that felt meaningful for this audience.

    Second, I was so happy to see a photo of the Hotel Del Coronado and be reminded of home. I grew up in a navy family and I was lucky enough to call Coronado my hometown. I even worked at the Hotel Del Coronado for a brief spell. I live in Washington, DC right now, but I go home every holiday season to spend Christmas with my family.

    I’ll always remember the first trip home after my PH diagnosis in 2016. It wasn’t the easiest and I knew there might be some adjustment with my family seeing me, in person, as a PHighter. I was so used to walking around the island or biking from my house to the beach. Now, when I am there, I have to walk with oxygen or drive, sometimes I’ll take a bike. However, I get to the beach I always forge my way through the sand to the water’s edge. But I can’t stop there. My life in DC rarely involves the beach or the ocean, so when I’m in my hometown, I have to jump in the water (yes, I know it’s cold!). But I am glad that with the help of a portable oxygen concentrator, I can still enjoy this beach visit tradition with my family.

    Much in my life is harder because of PH and that’s why, as you write so nicely, we need to take time to find the happy, good moments and hold onto them. My brief swim in the Pacific Ocean every holiday season is one of those moments for me, and I look forward to my visit in a few months.

    Thanks for writing about Coronado and the magic it holds for you. I’m excited to read more of your writing and getting myself back into the rhythm of writing!

    • Jen Cueva says:

      Hi Mike,
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your love of your time on Coronado. I hope that you are feeling more up to writing and will share a new column soon. I have read some of your columns, too.

      I certainly will have to do a brief swim in the Pacific Ocean on my next visit. San Diego is one of my favorite places and the beauty and peace that it offers me are incredible. I hope that you continue to find inspiration and will get back to your writing soon. You know that next month is PH Awareness Month, so a great time to start back. I am hoping that I eat about your Holiday trip home before too long.

      Best wishes and hope that things improve for you and you can find some happy in your tough days.

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