30 Days of PH: I Work to Stay Busy and Active

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by BNS Staff |

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Photo courtesy of Roger Bliss

Day 16 of 30

This is Roger Bliss’s story:

When I was getting short of breath several years ago, I thought it was just from being out of shape and older. I am 68 now. At first, I was treated for COPD. I also have CLL/SLL cancer, which is a form of leukemia that makes my lymph nodes swell up, and celiac disease.

I own a trucking company. We haul gravel in the summer months here in Alaska, and work from mid-May till the end of October. Last November, my doctors discovered that my breathing problem was from pulmonary hypertension.

I made it through working the summer of 2020, but just barely. It got to the point last November where I would get out of breath just walking 30 feet. Last winter was rough.

By the spring, I was doing better after treatment, and went back to work. I had a few rough spots at the beginning of summer, as my cancer meds were causing internal bleeding but I started to improve once I got off of them.

My wife and I have pensions and we’re financially secure so I could retire. My wife retired in December 2020. She, along with my neighbors and friends who are also retired, keep busy doing projects around the house. I pretty much hate doing stuff like that. If I have a lot of time off, I turn into a “couch potato.” I know for sure that isn’t good for me.

I enjoy my job and plan to keep doing it as long as I can. It gets me out of the house and keeps me busy. Actually, it’s a pretty easy job. I just run around in circles in an overgrown pickup on steroids and pull a lever to dump items. One of my buddies has a saying, “If you keep moving, they can’t put you in a box.” Working is my way to keep moving!

Pulmonary Hypertension News’ 30 Days of PH campaign is publishing one story per day from someone who has been affected by the disease for PH Awareness Month in November. Read the full series for more stories like this, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtag #30DaysofPH.