Allowing My Faith to Help Me Manage PH

Jen Cueva avatar

by Jen Cueva |

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Last week, one of my morning devotionals left me in deep thought for most of the day. It was about apologizing for everything that makes you the one-of-a-kind person you are. With both hands held high, I admit I’m guilty. Are you guilty of this, too?

I’m sorry I missed a call or a text.

I’m sorry I had to cancel our plans.

I’m sorry for having PH and being sick.

I’m sorry for being sensitive and emotional. 

You get it, I’m sure. So, why do we apologize for being ourselves?

I personally believe that the creator makes each human unique and exactly the way we are for a purpose. But what about when we question ourselves and the gifts that make us unique?

When I find myself apologizing nonstop or questioning my personality, I turn to my faith. Some of you may hold different beliefs than I do, and that’s OK. Maybe you also turn to your faith when the poop hits the fan.

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Although I have questioned God on many occasions, especially after my pulmonary hypertension (PH) diagnosis, I consider myself a Christian. Still, when things unravel, and my PH is taking a toll on my body, my husband, Manny, and I may feel that God isn’t listening. At times, we feel like he’s abandoned us. It’s in these dark moments that we tend to waver in our faith. It’s difficult to see hope or prayers working when you or a loved one is experiencing unbearable pain. Unfortunately, chronic pain is common within the PH and rare disease communities.

On days when my pain is excruciating and my PH symptoms are raging through my body, I often break down and cry out to God. If he can’t relieve my pain, shortness of breath, and the tightness and heaviness in my chest, I ask him to make me stronger. Most days, I feel like he answers my prayers. He gets me through my most challenging days so that I can enjoy joyful days. Often, I remind myself of the serenity prayer.

Recently, a close friend told me about an app she likes. Halsey is an inspiring and beautiful young soul who has a strong faith, which helps her manage spinal muscular atrophy. You can read more about her journey in her encouraging column, “From Where I Sit.”

The app is called First 5, and it provides devotional plans for women who want to start their day by spending time with God. I love that I can highlight sections to refer back to later. There is also a notes section where I add my gratitude list each morning. It’s a win-win for me.

My PH and coexisting illnesses have strengthened my faith. Some think this sounds crazy, believing I should be mad at God. But I’ve survived, even when doctors thought I didn’t have a chance. Despite my occasional doubts, I thank God for making me who I am, and for the unique plans he has for me. Without him or others’ prayers, I don’t believe I’d still be here today, with my life considered a miracle. For that, I am beyond grateful.

You may start your day differently. Regardless of our specific beliefs, I believe that spirituality and hope can help carry us through dark periods with PH. Spiritual health can also lead to improved emotional well-being, improving overall quality of life. Remember, faith aside, you are beautiful, unique, and loved.

Does faith or spirituality help you cope with PH? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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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.

Comments

John Nightingale avatar

John Nightingale

Amen
How true is this Jen, my faith has also been a bit shaky at times.
I have long outlived my doctors predictions for which I am thankful and put this down to prayer from friends and family
I always say that I am one of the lucky ones not having cancer and going through chemo etc.
I am looking forward to another Christmas with family thanks to God.
John

Reply
Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Hi John,
It's only natural that we are shaky in our faith at times, especially with PH. Most believe that is a bad thing, but it's OK. Like you, I am grateful to have outlived what the doctors predicted.

Happy holidays to you and your family, John. I, too, am excited about the Christmas celebrations with my family. Thank you for reading my column. Stay safe.

Kindly,
Jen

Reply
Ruby Midkiff avatar

Ruby Midkiff

Great idea. Thank you.

Reply

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