Pulmonary Hypertension Lament: ‘It Never Rains, But it Pours’

Serena Lawrence avatar

by Serena Lawrence |

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In Life with PH

Have you heard someone say “It never rains, but it pours”? That expression seems to describe the state of my life recently. I have Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, but I also have a host of other symptoms that come and go.

The past several weeks have really tested me, and honestly, my spirit is starting to break. Sometimes I wonder how much one person and their family has to go through. I think about my friends who developed pulmonary hypertension after surviving cancer and the grueling treatments. I think about all the different scenarios we have in terms of our diagnosis. I try to stay positive, but it has been harder to do this month, this week and today.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve been knocked down too many times to try to get up again. I am tired and I am spent. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my life, my health and body’s amazing ability to breathe and move before pulmonary hypertension crept into my life. I see other people my age and, of course, I feel a pang of jealously. Here I am green-eyed over other women’s big, beautiful and healthy lungs. How things have changed.

Upon diagnosis I was very unwell. I don’t believe I would have survived much longer if I had not been diagnosed when I was. Although I am still “sick,” I was very sick when I was diagnosed. It felt like I was beyond repair. Slowly, but surely, things did improve, little by little. It is not enough, but because of where I was before, I appreciate where I am now. I am thankful, I am grateful. And, although I still wish I was a little better, I am content with where I am.

Dreams ‘downsized’

I still have moments where I long for what I had. I still miss what I thought I was supposed to have in life. I’ve always longed for an uncomplicated and simple life. There is nothing simple or easy about living with pulmonary hypertension.

The other day my boyfriend mentioned he didn’t think we would be able to afford the house I would want and need to live in. Our dreams of living in an older home have been replaced by living in a newer bungalow. I also know that when he says “We can’t afford it,” that the problem is me. I can’t afford it. My contribution to a relationship has certainly dwindled, and that’s hard on my confidence.

My past month has been filled with doctors’ visits, tests, a halter monitor that has left me with itchy blisters, a couple of calls to my new PH specialist and an ER visit. I hate referring to myself as a “patient,” but the past month has reminded me that I am trying to balance living life on top of living with a very serious disease.

Although I try to handle all of this gracefully, I think sometimes you have to let yourself be vulnerable in order to be strong. I wanted to write this column as a reminder that we all face our own challenges and struggles as we face pulmonary hypertension. I don’t often write about my challenges of living with pulmonary hypertension in this way, but I wanted to share this because I know I am not the only one who struggles.

Life goes in spurts, and sometimes so do my painful symptoms. Thankfully, my symptoms have lessened day by day, and I hope to be back to my “new normal” soon. Although it is not ideal, I’ve learned to try to be content with what I have. In the meantime, I will be here waiting for the storm to pass and hope that the sun comes out again soon.

Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


Kathy LeCompte avatar

Kathy LeCompte

I have been where you find yourself right now Serena. I lost my husband three years ago to respiratory failure as a result of the muscular dystrophy he suffered from. It would be so easy for me
to give up and join him when despair starts to creep in on me, but
then I think of my 9 grandchildren and three sons and I'm able to
go on. If I had no family I'd be more depressed than I am. You are
so young and you have so much to live for. I'm sure you've heard
that all before. Continue to embrace life, even if it's compromised
at times, because it truly is a gift as I'm sure you're aware.

Serena Lawrence avatar

Serena Lawrence

I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your husband, but am glad to hear you found strength in your family. Thank you for the good thoughts.

Judy Marshall avatar

Judy Marshall

Oh Serena,how I empathise with you .You are I think several decade's younger than I am being in my seventies.
The loss of the life I once had is felt acutely and I ponder on the question of the quality versus the quantity of life. From my comments this is clearly a bad day,but we just have to get on with the cards that we have been dealt. I hope that you have loving friends and family around you. Judy U.K.

Serena Lawrence avatar

Serena Lawrence

I am sorry to hear that you are having a day day. Thank you, I hope you are surrounded by lots of support as well.

Linda Robinson avatar

Linda Robinson

I empathise so much with you. I am in my sixties and it's the loss of the life my husband and I had planned which makes me sad. Our retirement was going to be travelling the world and it makes me terribly sad that my husband has to live this life too. I too was very sick and am grateful for the diagnosis and treatment
I have received, improving the quality of my life, but I still mis what might have been. Linda UK.

Serena Lawrence avatar

Serena Lawrence

It is hard to miss what could have been, especially when it felt so close in reach. I hope you are able to still reach some of your goals, even if your path to get there is different than what you hoped it would be. All the best.

Varvara avatar


I understand each word of your article, because I have the same disease. It was so same and this envy to others of my age... But I have son, husband and family and all of them is the best what I have now. I wish you to be like a strength wall. Because of hope that maybe tomorrow sun will come out again.

Serena Lawrence avatar

Serena Lawrence

I am sorry to hear that you can understand all of the challenges of the disease, but it is always nice to hear from someone who "gets it." Thank you for sharing your strength with me, and encouraging me to find mine again as well. I wish you and your family all the best <3


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