By: Nicole Lowe
“My aunt was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in late July 2009. Doctors in Dayton, Ohio could not treat her, and she was referred to The Ohio State University Medical Center. We were told at that time that her condition was rare and not a lot was known about PAH. After they admitted her and ran a week of tests, they discovered that she had a large amount of scar tissue in her lungs. The doctors believe this is what contributed to her disease.
“At first, my aunt, Pat, was devastated. This was a lot to process. She sat in front of her television for weeks as she grew accustomed to oxygen full time and using Flolan-which required a Groshong catheter and mixing medication. However, the both of us were in this together. Her husband had passed the year prior to her diagnosis and they had no children. She applied for supplemental security income (SSI) through the Social Security Administration and was granted immediately.
“After she received the news, I spent time encouraging her to find something to do. I wanted her to remain as independent as she could for as long as she could. We did not know how long she would have- but, I wanted her to find a purpose to live for.
“Aunt Pat began serving at her church, Stillwater UMC and brought several people closer to God.
“At church, she answered phones, did small administrative tasks and loved on others. Her mission was simple: to, “help in any way she could,” and she set an excellent example of being the hands and feet of Christ.
“Aunt Pat began having difficulty retaining fluid in her feet, legs and stomach late last year. She was showing some significant signs of kidney disease due to the amount of diuretics she had been using. Her heart was weak and damaged as well. She lost her battle with pulmonary hypertension this June 2018.
“Aunt Pat’s journey was amazing. She was braver than she truly knew and meant so much to so many.
“I want others to stay positive and know that life is precious. Take time to savor the small things. Enjoy one another. Love others. Be kind.”