Finding my strength while overcoming a medical crisis

Pulmonary hypertension will cause setbacks, but we can find a way to resilience

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by Jen Cueva |

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When we face setbacks from illness, it’s easy to feel like the world is crumbling around us, as if we’ve failed and there’s no point trying anymore. But here’s the thing: We can’t let those thoughts consume us.

It’s easier said than done, right?

Trust me, I’ve been through my fair share of challenging seasons with pulmonary hypertension (PH) and coexisting conditions. It’s natural to feel setbacks and struggle with worsened symptoms and tough times.

Accepting that I’m going through a setback isn’t easy for me, at least not at first. It’s a constant battle to practice self-care and manage my illness, mentally as well as physically. We need to pace ourselves in this crazy journey, especially when things seem to go wrong. But with perseverance and the right support system, we can push through and emerge stronger on the other side.

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Changing our perspective

What should we do when our bodies fail, and we feel like failures ourselves? We can start by changing our perspective. Instead of seeing setbacks as roadblocks, let’s view them as opportunities for positive change. Managing PH is hard, but let’s find ways to make it a little easier. Remember the times your body surprised you when it refused to give up even in the darkest moments? With determination and resilience, there’s always room for adaptation and personal growth.

Speaking of challenging seasons, let me take you back to November and December 2020, when I faced a medical crisis during my first encounter with COVID-19. I was hospitalized all alone for longer than I could’ve imagined. My vital organs started shutting down, and the medical team wasn’t sure I’d recover. Being unable to have my loved ones by my side was terrifying; it was unbearable to think that I might not make it through and that they wouldn’t be there in those final moments.

But you know what? I clung to hope, believing I’d find the strength to fight back. And I did, with the help of support (even at physical distance!) and a positive mindset. Recovery was slow, starting with small steps before I could crawl again. It was tough, but it made me stronger and more resilient.

For a while, oxygen became my lifeline, a constant companion. But with each passing day, I pushed a little further, engaging in simple activities and regaining my independence. The woman who struggled to sit up on her own a few days before being discharged is not the same woman I am today.

Today, I’m a different woman

This setback catalyzed my rediscovery of strength. When I think back to my long recovery, I may not remember the details of Christmas Day, but I’ll never forget the twinkling Christmas lights outside my home. My husband, Manny, took the time to decorate and create joy because he knew how much it meant to me.

Symptoms of long COVID-19, such as memory loss, confusion, attention-span issues, and brain fog, still haunt me daily. Muscle spasms, abdominal distress, and tremors are unwelcome visitors that linger, too. But despite it all, I’m grateful for how far my body has carried me and how much it’s recovered. Maybe I’m not where I was before COVID-19, but I’m in a far better place than I was only three years ago.

Remember, no matter how overwhelming things may seem, you’re never alone in this journey. Reach out for support when needed; be bold and ask for help. Now is the perfect time to prioritize self-care and create moments of joy throughout your day.

Resilience isn’t about being flawless or avoiding struggles; it’s about finding the courage to keep going, no matter what life throws your way. You’ve got this! Take it one step at a time, and remember, you can find incredible strength.

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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


Hildi avatar


Happy holidays. Mrs. Cuevas, my respect for your motivational heartfelt words after your overcame all those adversities with so inspiring positive emotions. It comfortably to acknowledge that your heart is remodeling like the vessels of your lung and they have become more resolute to accomplished goals to improve your health, kindness, awareness of your own acceptance that love ❤️ is the key energy of your life, humbleness and gratitude compliments the grace of real love for others and their sacrifices for your wellbeing.
Unfortunately, not everyone can enjoy that happiness of that support. These heartfelt thoughts that you expressed are comforting even during the loneliness of isolation from chronic illness. Keep the greatest moments alive even though is our reality of life. We should honor all our supporters for the most beautiful gift 🎁 they give , their unconditional gratitude and love full of kindness and the best the best hugssssss and kisses . Smile, keep making great memories!!

Jen Cueva avatar

Jen Cueva

Happy New Year, Hildi! Your heartfelt words of encouragement are much appreciated, my PHriend. Yes, this was a season of darkness that I am extremely grateful to be out of.

I'm thrilled that you enjoyed this column and felt compelled to comment such thoughtful support. Together we can help others know they are never alone and to keep on PHighting!

Take care and hope to see you in the PH News forums, my PHriend.


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