30 Days of PH: Mental Health

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by Jen Cueva |

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Day 8 of 30 Days of PH⁣⁣⠀ ⁣⁣Topic: Mental Health ⁣⁣⠀ ⁣⁣This is Evelyn’s story @itsaginger⁣⁣⠀ ⁣⁣⠀ December 17th, 2004 started out as a regular day for me at 15. I went to school and was sent home for not feeling well. I took a nap. Waking up drenched in sweat, I told mom to call 911, just before passing out. My mom performed CPR & saved my life before any help arrived. ⁣⁣⠀ ⁣⁣⠀ I was transferred to two hospitals before arriving at CHOP. A few days later I met Dr. Hanna, a PH specialist. He told me the possible cause of all of this. The next day I woke up from my first RHC. I now had a port in my chest which I was told may happen. I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. We don't know the cause and may never know.⁣⁣⠀ ⁣⁣⠀ ⁣To the ICU doctors and nurses who were surrounding me, I kept asking, “What’s going on?, Am I going to die?”- I asked that question over and over and wasn’t getting a straight answer. I was terrified!⁣⁣⠀ ⁣⁣⠀ ⁣⁣⠀ ⁣I knew my life would be different at home. I was an angry kid, I felt robbed.⁣⁣⠀ ⁣⁣⠀ Depression crept in but my doctor noticed. I’ll never forget when he said, “Evelyn, you can sleep for 6 years but when you wake up, you’ll still have PH!” He was right, I needed to take control of my life because I’m young and need to survive. I was in, ” fight or flight” mode. ⁣⁣⠀ ⁣⁣⠀ ⁣In my younger days, journaling and talk therapy were helpful. Talking with the life specialist at CHOP was one of the most important things I did. Now, I’m looking for a new therapist. Sometimes we get sucked in the routine and forget to take care of ourselves. Since I'm older, I’m very much into meditation and crystal healing. I know it’s not for everyone but it works for me. Find what works for you, try new things, and you may find new hobbies. ⁣⁣⠀ ⁣⁣⠀ ⁣⁣⠀ PH has changed me physically, mentally, & spiritually. People don’t realize when you're sick, it doesn't only change your physical health, mental health changes too. I’m trying hard not to focus on all things PH related, because I'm more than PH. We should be able to enjoy life. I’m not saying you can’t have bad days or weeks. Feel those feelings but move on. Love your life at this moment

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