PHighting Words - a Column by Mike Naple

PHighting Words Mike Naple

Mike lives in Washington, DC, but calls San Diego home. Mike was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension five years ago. He also manages living with interstitial lung disease, sleep apnea, scoliosis, and a stutter. These chronic conditions are mostly invisible except for when Mike uses oxygen therapy while engaged in rigor exercise or activity. Mike is a communications professional who still works full time. He is excited for readers to join him as he navigates the intersections of living and working with chronic illness.

Inviting People In After Coming Out

I’ve come out a few times in my life. I came out regarding my sexuality as a member of the LGBTQ community. I’ve also come out as a disabled and chronically ill individual and a member of the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community. Coming out is a deeply personal experience.

Hi, PH. Yes, I’m Aware You’re Stressful.

There’s a scene in Disney’s classic animated film “Aladdin” in which the evil sorcerer Jafar transforms into a snake and squeezes Aladdin within an inch of his life. As a kid, I found this scene rather frightening. As an adult living with a serious chronic illness and respiratory disease, I…

When Doctor Appointments Remind Me of My Diagnosis

The hallway felt cold despite the extra blanket the transfer specialist gave me before moving me in my hospital bed. We headed to another wing of the building for yet another test. I waited in a dimly lit hallway for 45 minutes or so, counting the minutes, hours, and days…

Ushering in a New Generation of PH Champions

When I checked into urgent care in 2016, I was supposed to be preparing a member of Congress for a summit at the White House. But instead of going to work the next day, I sat in the hospital for nearly two weeks and left with a pulmonary hypertension diagnosis.

Conserving My Energy as the Pandemic Persists

The pandemic has been especially hard on people with disabilities, chronic illness, and rare diseases. Our community has faced ongoing ableist attitudes toward safety measures and protocols meant to keep disabled, immunocompromised, and other high-risk individuals protected from a pandemic with a death toll in the United States…

How Our Stories Can ‘Spark Awareness’ of PH in Congress

I’m grabbing the megaphone to raise awareness and advocate for pulmonary hypertension (PH). And I invite you to join me. Through advocacy, we’re able to make changes in the United States’ democratic system of governance. I believe change begins with the advocates and the storytellers who share their lived experience…