Author Archives: Colleen Steele

Celebrating 50 Years of Good Times and Bad

Have you ever met someone and instantly felt like you’ve known them forever? I’ve experienced a rather twisted version of this. In a previous column, I described pulmonary hypertension (PH) as a toxic person rather than a disease. PH had such an immediate impact on my family that by…

What Do Caregivers and Succulents Have in Common?

I appreciate the camaraderie among caregivers that I have experienced. We find understanding, support, and comfort from one another, no matter what illness we are dealing with or the age of our patients. Caregiving can be an emotional, challenging, and rewarding responsibility, and that reality alone is what unites us.

‘I Apologize Too Much! Sorry for That’

I think people in the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community tend to apologize too much. We are so good at it, and we often say we are sorry when it isn’t necessary or even appropriate. It’s a topic we have fumbled with often in the Pulmonary Hypertension News Forums. A…

Helpful Tips I Learned While Raising a Child With PH

Parents sometimes joke that they wish their child came with an instruction manual. If there were a manual for kids, I would’ve had to toss out my son Cullen’s manual when he was 8. That was the year he was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH). The PH diagnosis made…

A Mother Shares How Her Son Didn’t Let PH Box Him In

Dr. Sean Wyman, a respected advocate and loved member of the pulmonary hypertension community (PH), passed away in 2018 after a 15-year battle with the rare disease. You can still feel Sean’s compassion and hear his voice through his efforts to educate and encourage others by sharing his PH…

Perfect Caregivers Are Not Real

The Walt Disney character Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way. The film of the same name, based on a series of children’s books, is a lovely fictional story about a hired nanny who meticulously cares for two children. Many admire and respect her, and she has a…

A Caregiver’s Journey Home

Some say that you can never go home again. I find that such a sad notion, and I recently convinced myself it isn’t true. I traveled to the other side of the country to pay a long overdue visit to my parents and several friends and family members I haven’t…

My Son Shares Words of Wisdom on His 7-year Transplant Anniversary

“The surgery went well, with no complications, and the new heart and lungs are functioning beautifully.” Aug. 7 marks the seven-year anniversary of posting that miraculous update to my son Cullen’s CaringBridge journal. Living without pulmonary hypertension (PH) has undoubtedly changed his life for the better, but Cullen, 21,…

Turning the Tables on Caregiving

I will turn 50 in October, and I have ignored worsening symptoms alerting me to a possible health concern for many years. I finally decided it was time to face what I was avoiding and schedule a doctor-recommended upper GI endoscopy and colonoscopy. As the anesthesiologist was preparing…

Love Can Make a Broken Heart Feel Strong

I have read that the heart is the hardest working muscle. If you’ve ever seen an echocardiogram of a heart laboring against pulmonary hypertension (PH), you’ll agree. But anyone who doesn’t give the heart credit for being the strongest muscle has never met a grieving mother. In an email…