30 Days of PH: Life Lessons From Charlie Brown

30 Days of PH: Life Lessons From Charlie Brown
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Day 3 of 30 Days of PH⁣
Topic: Life Lessons From Charlie Brown

This is Brian’s story @zipptang

Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip, penned this conversation between Linus and Charlie Brown.

Linus: Nothing goes on forever. All good things must come to an end…                                                                      Charlie Brown: When do the good things start?

It’s odd to get wisdom from a children’s comic, but Charlie Brown’s response may be stranger still. Like his eternal optimism that Lucy will allow him to kick the football, Charlie Brown is looking forward to the good times to come.

Whether you’re a pessimist or an optimist, I’m sure you can see that Linus and Charlie Brown both have valid viewpoints. When my oldest son, Cullen, was 8 years old, his doctors diagnosed him with a life-threatening condition called Pulmonary Hypertension (PH). In a flash, the healthy, carefree good times we had experienced prior to his diagnosis had come to an end.

Since his diagnosis, we tried to remain optimistic. Our hopes and love for our child was the only thing that got us through the countless trips to the hospital, doctor appointments, prescription changes, surgeries, and other hardships that had become our life. We met many other PHamilies living with the same challenges, and together, we cherished successes and mourned any setbacks. Sadly, we lost too many of these PHamily members when the disease took them.

Cullen received a heart and double lung transplant when he was 14. We never forget the donor’s life-saving sacrifice, or the pain of loss felt by his family. Although Cullen no longer has PH complications to deal with, living post-transplant is no walk in the park. His suppressed immune system makes him susceptible to illness and rejection is a constant threat. He is likely to need another transplant when/if his new organs fail.

Our experiences have taught us to treasure the moments we have together. Look for and celebrate even the small victories and remember that there are more good things to come. As Victor Hugo said, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, don’t be afraid to say “I love you”.

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Colleen Steele was born and raised in New Jersey and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Immaculata University in 1994. Currently, she lives in Washington state with her husband and two sons. Her oldest child was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension when he was 8. At the age of 14, he received a heart and double-lung transplant. He has experienced many bumps in the road but for the most part, he is doing well and living life to the fullest. Colleen’s love for writing, experience advocating for her son, and determination to spread PH awareness inspired her to become a columnist and forums moderator for Pulmonary Hypertension News in 2019. In her, “Life As A Caregiver” column, Colleen is open and honest about caring for her son, his experiences living with PH, and life post-transplant. It is her ambition to educate and inspire others facing similar challenges that her family has battled and survived.

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Colleen Steele was born and raised in New Jersey and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Immaculata University in 1994. Currently, she lives in Washington state with her husband and two sons. Her oldest child was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension when he was 8. At the age of 14, he received a heart and double-lung transplant. He has experienced many bumps in the road but for the most part, he is doing well and living life to the fullest. Colleen’s love for writing, experience advocating for her son, and determination to spread PH awareness inspired her to become a columnist and forums moderator for Pulmonary Hypertension News in 2019. In her, “Life As A Caregiver” column, Colleen is open and honest about caring for her son, his experiences living with PH, and life post-transplant. It is her ambition to educate and inspire others facing similar challenges that her family has battled and survived.

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