We Followed Our Dreams and Moved to California

Jen Cueva avatar

by Jen Cueva |

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“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” John D. Rockefeller

Recently, my husband, Manny, and I made a big life decision by selling our home in Texas and relocating to San Diego. This was always our dream, but we never thought it would happen because moving with pulmonary hypertension (PH) is daunting.

One crucial factor holding us in Texas was his job of 20 years and the accompanying health insurance. Manny often said he felt like he couldn’t look for another job because I need a high level of medical care. But I knew he was no longer happy in his previous position.

I wouldn’t allow my PH to hold him back.

We discussed the move often and were already thinking of relocating within the next few years. But I reminded Manny that we could get health coverage through COBRA, or I could go on full Medicare with my disability. I didn’t want my PH to hold him back.

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So, I helped him create a résumé, and within a week, he had multiple offers for employment in San Diego. I believe that if God opens doors for new opportunities, it’s meant to be.

Those who know us know that San Diego has always brought us joy. But on top of that, our daughter and her husband live in the area. My heart is whole. Plus, I’ve noticed my breathing improves with the decreased humidity and better air quality in California.

I was a busy little bee in preparation to leave.

I scheduled appointments with multiple specialists on my medical team to prepare for the transition. But the many logistics involved in moving with PH drained me physically and mentally. I’ll share more in the next few months about transitioning my entire care team.

I ordered my PH treatments from several pharmacies so I would have enough for the move. I requested either a 30- or 90-day supply. This was time-consuming and zapped my limited energy.

So, what did we do?

We rented a moving truck and traveled across the country over two days. Moving trucks are not very accommodating or comfortable, especially for those of us who are moving with PH and require oxygen. But extra pillows and blankets helped.

Even though I tried to cover up my symptoms, Manny noticed my lightheadedness, palpitations, nausea, and chest tightness increase as we climbed in elevation. Because he knows all too well what altitude sickness does to me, he tried driving those higher elevations at night while I took medications and turned up my oxygen levels. It’s not uncommon for those with PH to experience these symptoms, even at elevations lower than 5,000 feet.

Planning and adjusting are critical when moving with PH.

Apart from the mental and physical toll on my body, I did reasonably well on the trip. I tried to elevate my feet on the dash at times to help decrease the swelling in my lower extremities. My husband also ordered a power inverter to charge my portable oxygen machine while on the road, which proved very helpful. He is always looking for ways to improve my quality of life.

Although I enjoyed the cross-country adventure, I was ready to get out of the truck when we arrived in San Diego. Have you ever been exhausted, but you’re so excited you can’t rest? That’s how I felt until my body finally crashed.

Though we had hired movers to unload the truck, my daughter and “son-in-love” were a tremendous help. KK, my daughter, had me sit in my desk chair as she unpacked and put things away in my kitchen. This was the first time I hadn’t packed my own kitchen, which is my domain, but we soon found my favorite kitchen tools.

Manny unpacked most of the other boxes to keep me from overdoing it. He’s the real MVP, and I’m so grateful for him.

If you or your loved ones have neglected your dreams because of PH, please don’t give up on them. We were comfortable in our life and feared the unknowns of relocating so far away. But our quality of life has already improved.

Previous bouts with COVID-19 have taught us that life is short, and we should do what makes us happy. The key is to take chances, dream big, and live life to the fullest, despite PH. You deserve it and so much more.


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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


Debbie Moore avatar

Debbie Moore

What an example you are! My husband and I had such plans for our early retirement (in three years). Now those plans terrify me because of PH. Your move has encouraged me to just plan and tackle. What is life if it is not for living it to the fullest?

Joyce Sandberg avatar

Joyce Sandberg

Congratulations on your move. You are a brave soul and I commend you and Manny. San Diego must be wonderful, with average mean temps of 70 and dryer climate. If we were younger, we'd join you.
You asked a question on the sausage soup, lower sodium broth would be fine and you can add white cannelini beans for extra flavor.
Back to your move, The Best of all to you and Manny!!!

Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Hi Joyce,
Your words are touching and much appreciated. What's this "younger" thing? Age is only a number, right?

Yes, today is in the 80s, but not usual. It was day 2 of records temps. I'm hoping that I didn't bring those from Texas, hehe.

Thanks for the addition to the sausage soup; cannellini would work well in that recipe.

I appreciate you reading my column and your support. Have a great weekend, my PHriend.

Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Thank you, Debbie, for your kind words and encouragement. I certainly relate to how scary a big move can be with PH. But, we only live once and deserve to be happy while following our dreams.

I am grateful that my story has offered you some hope-looking forward to hearing about your plans. True words, my PHriend, we were given this life to live our fullest!

I wish you and your husband all the best.



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