Author Archives: Anna Jeter

Being Aware of Hope Is Half the Battle

A certain responsibility comes with being diagnosed with a rare disease. Because we know the details of our illnesses best, it is up to us to educate the world about them, so that greater knowledge and investment can be brought to our communities. This leaves me wondering what story I…

Managing Acute Stress in the Days Before a Procedure

As I prepare for a small diagnostic procedure this week, I’m noticing that my anxiety has skyrocketed. This is happening for two reasons. The first is that I have a full memory bank of physically uncomfortable and painful procedures that have made me quite sensitive. My years with illness have…

Feeling Different and Wanting to Tell My Story

The memory is impeccably clear in my mind, tied up tightly in the damp smell of chlorine. I’m sitting on a bench in a humid concrete room while my peers splash boisterously around in the pool. They in their swimsuits, me in the required gym uniform. They, “normal.” Me, “the…

The Challenges of Traveling With Chronic Illness

When we hear the question “Did you pack everything but the kitchen sink?” my family’s answer has always leaned toward “Yes.” Since being diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) in 1999, my family has never been able to travel lightly. But the efforts we’ve put into traveling have always outweighed the…

Changing the Pace in Life and Work With Chronic Illness

When I was younger, my life with pulmonary hypertension (PH) was busy. I was active in dance, softball, and the arts. I was an engaged student and had an active social life. We took family trips and made many memories. I lived a full childhood in tandem with my progressing…

What I Wish People Knew About My PH Journey

“What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your transplant journey?” It’s one of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking questions I’ve ever been asked. It was posed to me six months after the momentous discharge that followed my traumatic heart-lung transplant. I remember looking up at my friend…

Always a Mess: Keeping Clean With Chronic Illness

I didn’t truly realize how messy of a person I was until I went to college and spent more than four years living in small spaces with others. Growing up, my room would always become quickly disorganized, but this was typical teenage behavior no different than my older siblings’. Every…

New Accommodations, Same Destination

The need for adaptation in my life began so quietly I often didn’t notice the accommodations I required. I started dancing at a young age, and at the end of each dance season, we had a big recital with different costumes for each performance. This created a problem when considering…

I’m Celebrating 22 Years of Survival and Counting

On May 21, I celebrated 22 years of survival. On that day many years ago, I underwent a heart catheterization. Halfway through, doctors came out to inform my parents that the only diagnosis option was pulmonary hypertension (PH). My parents had previously been told that this was the worst-case…