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      Kathleen Sheffer

      In an interview with La Salle News Tribune, Kaye Norlin said, “I can sit on the couch until this disease kills me, or I can keep moving, and that’s what I choose to do.” After beating Stage II colorectal cancer in 2003, Norlin was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension in 2011.

      A frequent participant in the Pulmonary Hypertension News Forums, Norlin advocates yoga for PH patients. She admits yoga is no cure, but, she writes, “It can teach you how to breathe through exercise, climbing stairs, pain, anxiety, etc. and can help lower your blood pressure. We need to use every tool at our disposal to fight this hideous disease.” Read the full text of her comments in “Yoga Videos Designed for PH Patients,” a topic in the “Exercising with PH” Forum. Norlin started practicing yoga at age 60 and became a registered yoga instructor.


      Norlin has been easing back into yoga after a double-lung transplant in January. Recovering from the operation, she was forced to take a break from teaching. In April she returned as a student taking classes at Valley Regional Cancer Center in Peru, Illinois. The classes are part of the Yoga for Cancer Survivors program she helped create five years ago.


      Kaye Norlin uses a chair to modify a yoga pose for patients with physical limitations (Photo courtesy Kaye Norlin).

      The other students all agree, Kaye Norlin is a paragon of resilience. Just like Norlin, they can’t wait for her to return to teaching. Already this week, she has started giving some instruction, but Norlin plans to lead classes every week beginning in June. 

      Norlin’s passion for teaching goes beyond yoga. She actively spreads awareness of pulmonary hypertension. “It’s a misunderstood disease,” she told News Tribune. “You get told it’s all in your head.” When she first began experiencing symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pain and fatigue, “I was treated for asthma and was told to seek counseling,” Norlin shares in the “Diagnosis and General Questions” Forum. It took two more years for her to find a doctor who listened and gave her a proper diagnosis, an experience unpleasantly familiar to many PH patients.

      In honor of World PH Day on May 5th, Norlin participated in a 5K and raised funds for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. 66-years-old and just four months post-double-lung transplant, Kaye Norlin continues to exceed medical expectations and inspire us all.

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