Crafting New Dreams for My Life

Eleanor Bird avatar

by Eleanor Bird |

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This is probably the hardest column I’ve written to date. It’s about how I deal with thinking about the future.

I have been a planner my entire life. Whether it was daydreaming about the color scheme of my wedding when I was a kid, creating a detailed itinerary for trips, or counting down the days to Christmas, I was always looking forward.

When someone is diagnosed with a condition like pulmonary hypertension (PH), planning for the future becomes trickier. One never knows how they will feel on a given day. Planning things like holidays far in advance can be risky.

Additionally, thinking about the big picture and the big plans they may have had for their life can be painful. One must accept that the future is uncertain.

I have always wanted children. Since I was young, I couldn’t wait to have a baby. My friends thought I would be the first to have a child. And I always knew I would be a great mum. Like many others with PH, when I was diagnosed I wrote a bucket list. “Have a baby” was the first item on the list.

One thing is now certain: I will never get pregnant and carry my own child, as it would put too much strain on my heart. Yes, there are other ways to have a child, and a big part of me hopes that being a mum is still in my future. But I have had to accept that this might not be true.

Learning that not everyone gets everything they want has been an incredibly painful journey, but realizing that I am not alone in this has been cathartic.

I think that when a person has a serious health condition, it’s important not to give up on planning for the future. Having hopes and dreams in life is crucial, though what those dreams look like may need to be reshaped. I still enjoy looking forward to things, and yes, I’m still counting down to Christmas this year. But I try to live in the moment as much as possible. This may sound cheesy, but it is truly life-changing to be able to focus on the people and things around me every day.

I won’t pretend that I don’t wish I could snap my fingers and my PH would magically disappear. But I genuinely believe that my capacity for happiness and enjoying life has increased dramatically since my diagnosis. In many ways, I feel I have been freed from worrying about the future and blessed with the ability to savor each day for all the great cups of tea, laughter, and hugs that it has to offer.


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.


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