30 Days of PH: Self-Employment And PH

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by Colleen Steele |

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Day 16 of 30 Days of PH⁣
Topic: Self-Employment And PH

This is Kathleen’s story @kathleen.s.photography and @rosecoloredmask

When I graduated college 15 years after my diagnosis, I started a freelance photography business in San Francisco. Self-employment allowed me to make a schedule that accommodated my frequent medical appointments, and time to rest. It was a perfect fit for me while living with severe pulmonary hypertension.
Less than a year later, just as my business was ramping up, I had massive hemoptysis (coughed up blood) and required a heart-lung transplant, which I was lucky to receive in July 2016.
Pursuing photography motivated me and helped me heal from that experience. Today, I’m back to work, taking new precautions, but feeling even more fulfilled by my career. Freelance photography turns out to be a perfect fit for me while living with chronic immunosuppression, too!
I love that my job gets me outside in nature and moving a lot, which is good for my heart and lungs. When I’m not out shooting, I spend most of my time at home editing photos while listening to podcasts, which is relaxing for me, and safer than an office environment. Photography has opened doors to all kinds of experiences—I love meeting new people and building trust with them so that I can capture them authentically.
As daunting as starting a business may be, I highly recommend self-employment to others with complex medical conditions. Please reach out to me (@kathleen.s.photography) directly if you have any questions or need resources to start your own business.

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