My 2021 Reflections: It’s Been a Wild Ride
As another year comes to an end, I reflect on memories from 2021. Since my pulmonary hypertension (PH) diagnosis, I desire reflection more each year. Those of us with rare diseases often get caught up in the mundane moments of being a patient. Whether this means taking handfuls of medications around the clock, undergoing multiple tests, or attending myriad doctor appointments, it can become redundant. If we aren’t careful, it’s easy to survive only as a patient while missing out on the outside world and our little blessings.
However, this year was unique for my husband, Manny, and me. If I were to sum it up, I would say it’s been a wild and crazy ride, full of surprise blessings.
This time last year, I was beginning the long road to recovery from COVID-19. Manny and I both caught the virus and are thankful his case didn’t necessitate hospitalization. If you missed his story, he shared his experiences as a caregiver on day 23 of 30 Days of PH. Warning, Kleenex needed.
Thankfully, we’re both doing much better medically than this time a year ago. We are beyond grateful for that blessing and many others. Gratitude is finding blessings amid the storms. Starting my day with a gratitude journal sets my mindset for the day. Yes, PH often takes over, and things can go downhill quickly. But I choose to find the blessings among the trials and tribulations.
Speaking of tribulations, we also experienced heartache with the loss of my stepfather, our cowboy, Tonyray. Then, the week of Thanksgiving, my grandmother, Mawmaw, lost her battle with dementia. Sadly, I could not attend her services, but her memories will live on in my heart. We continue to mourn the lives lost and cherish our memories with them, while celebrating those whose lives have just begun.
As I continued my recovery from COVID-19, Manny and I took a chance on our dreams and moved from Houston, Texas, to San Diego, California. We lived in San Diego as newlyweds when Manny was stationed there with the Navy. It’s where we’ve always found peace, joy, and adventure. While it was stressful planning for the move on short notice, we had always dreamed of moving back one day. Although this was only in October, I am grateful for the improved quality of life we have already noticed in our daily lives.
We chose to do this for ourselves. The pandemic has been extremely painful for us, but it has also reminded us that life is too short. After my PH diagnosis, we craved that peace and adventure, and knew we’d find it in San Diego.
Life with PH is a beast. But reflections remind us of the beauty within the beast that we may have missed. There is currently no cure for PH, and the treatments are costly. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. I’m grateful to have access to lifesaving medications and insurance that helps to cover the high cost. My chronic pain is daily but manageable, and I choose to persevere.
Nothing about PH is a given; I find that patience is essential. Yes, my patience is put to the test many days. This, too, is a blessing in disguise.
Some of you may have had a turbulent year. It’s OK if you can’t find blessings to reflect on right now. Please know that support is here if needed. We may not know what 2022 will bring, but we can still choose hope and continue this PHight together with gratitude, patience, grace, and love.
Happy New Year. See you all next year.
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.