30 Days of PH: Despite PAH, I’m Thriving as a Singer and Performer
Day 19 of 30
This is James Ramsey’s story:
My name is James Ramsey. I decided to rejoin my gym in 2018, and after working out, I began feeling dizzy. It lasted for two days, at which point I wasn’t feeling right, so I went to the emergency room. They gave me a full work-up and found an enlarged lymph node in my chest. I was told to find a pulmonologist and that was it.
I immediately thought cancer because of the enlarged lymph node, so I found an oncologist-pulmonologist who did a biopsy, which came back negative for cancer. At this time, I was beginning to experience shortness of breath and asked my doctor what could be causing it. He said, “Oh! You should find a regular pulmonologist. I’m an oncologist-pulmonologist.” So the search for a pulmonologist began.
I found one at NYU Langone Health and testing began. I was diagnosed a few months later with pulmonary arterial hypertension, sleep apnea, and sarcoidosis.
I am a singer who performs all over New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. I provide music therapy to people in nursing homes and hospitals. I own a cover band, and we provide entertainment for weddings and private events. I’m an artist, too.
Singing is how I provide for my family. It’s my everything. It’s getting harder to sing and dance, but I will continue to sing for as long as I can. It’s who I am. This condition is so hard because most people can’t see the effects. I look like I’m healthy, but I can’t walk anymore without oxygen. I can’t perform, sing, or dance like I used to. It does take a toll.
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.