30 Days of PH: In Remembrance of a Dear PHriend

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by BioNews Staff |

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A head and shoulders photo of a woman in a car. She is using breathing tubes and wears a white and blue hat with a wide brim and a dark blue band with red and white stars. She has on a blue undershirt with a maroon sleeveless shirt over it.

In loving memory of Moma Hen. (Photo courtesy of Jen Cueva)

Day 8 of 30

This is Jen Cueva’s story:

When you’re connected to the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community, the loss of PHriends and PHamily is inevitable. Since I was diagnosed almost 18 years ago, I’ve experienced loss more often than I can count. There’s still no PH cure, so we share our stories to spread awareness and hopefully lead to one.

Catalina Lomeli, aka Moma Hen, and I met in a PH chat group years ago when our children were still in middle school. Through the years, we built a stronger connection as we had kids the same age and shared the same specialist. Moma Hen flew to Texas from California to stay with my family and me for a year.

My husband, Manny, and I would visit each time we went to California. Last year, Manny and I relocated to San Diego. She was so excited that we’d be only a few hours away. We celebrated her granddaughter’s birthday with her family, and had plans to visit her again soon. She planned to see us in San Diego when she had her next PH clinic visit.

Then Moma Hen ended up in the hospital, needed surgery after a fall. This added to her already taxed body. She developed other illnesses, and her body couldn’t push through. She was tired after years of PHighting and line infections from her Remodulin (treprostinil).

At first, she was stable despite the horrific pain she experienced. Manny and I visited her at the hospital a few times. Then she faltered. Her daughter, Mer, and I were concerned about how much her situation had changed.

Later, we went to the hospital again to comfort the family as the tears ran down my face. I’m thankful I was able to say goodbye and that she acknowledged with her eyes that she knew I was there. And that day, Moma Hen became our angel.

Despite my pain, I’m grateful for our many memories, as well as the laughter, tears, and love we shared. I’m thankful Manny and I were included as part of her family.

Today and every day as we PHight, I remember her telling me, using the name she gave me for a little or baby chick, “Keep PHighting, Pollita.”

Jen Cueva is coordinator-clinical operations for BioNews, as well as a Pulmonary Hypertension News columnist and forum moderator.

Pulmonary Hypertension News’ 30 Days of PH campaign will publish one story per day for PH Awareness Month in November. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #30DaysofPH, or read the full series.

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