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Day 18 of 30 Days of PH Topic: Retirement This is Marcia’s story: I was diagnosed with PH in July of 2005 after having symptoms for 15 months and told, “it’s just asthma”. After going into left heart failure, the cardiologist performed a right and left heart cath to find what was going on. With no explanation, he told me I had severe PH and go see this other doctor. He was a PH specialist from UTSW, one of only 8 in Texas. I was teaching 4th grade, this was summer. I was hospitalized in the 1st week of school. I planned to take 90 days off to get meds and back on my feet. At the end of the 90 days, I was too sick to go back to teaching. I applied for disability retirement since I was 3 years shy of retirement. I was officially retired from 25 years of teaching by the end of the year. At 51, I was too young to retire and too sick to work. I had never been seriously sick, part of my brain was in denial that this would have a bad outcome. I was thinking about what I wanted to do with my new phase of life. I thought about volunteering, but with good days and bad days, it was hard to commit. I learned all that I could about PH, I ordered the PH Survival Guide. I read the PHA message board regularly. On PH Central, I talked with other members. My first conference was in Minneapolis in 2006, I took my husband. He was depressed seeing the patients on oxygen and in wheelchairs. For me, it's like a family reunion seeing all of my PHriends. Learning all I could about PH gave me a sense of control. Trying to use my teaching skills to help others in the PH community. I volunteered to work the phone and as a mentor.I helped our Dallas SG leader until she died and I took it over. I worked with the FW leader, to continue the annual PHun Walk to raise money and awareness. These things gave me a sense of purpose, sorely lacking after having my career and lifestyle ripped away so fast. 14 years later and retirement age has mellowed me. I now enjoy retirement with quilting, reading, traveling, and enjoying my grandsons. #30daysofPH #retirement
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