Laura Peaceman was frightened to learn last year that she had pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). She felt like she didn’t have anyone to talk to who understood what she was going through.
Three months after her diagnosis, Laura, 34, decided to join the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) Email PHriends program.
“Unfortunately, there isn’t much information about PH,” Laura says. “And there are not a lot of doctors who deal with PH. Talking to someone who has it will help with what you might experience now or even what you will experience in your journey with PH.”
PHA paired Laura with Lilly Safley. Lilly, who was diagnosed with PH 15 years ago, considers herself blessed with good health and motivated to give back. In the nine months that Laura and Lilly have been Email PHriends, they say they’ve gained a lot from each other.
Lilly has helped Laura cope with changes and figure out important questions to ask her doctor about medications. Lilly also shared tips for conserving energy and other diagnosis-related insight.
For Lilly, Laura has been a wonderful person and a much-needed friend. Helping Laura has reminded Lilly that they’re in this together. “No matter what differences are between us, we can still be friends and help each other,” Lilly says.
Their friendship is especially important during the pandemic, they say. The pandemic shifted a lot about their daily lives, but the Email PHriends program allowed Lilly and Laura to keep in touch.
“You should always try to learn about what you have,” Laura says. “I am glad I decided to email someone who had PH because I didn’t have anyone else to talk to about it except for my doctor. I get to email someone and tell them I had a bad day and not be judged. I don’t get questioned on why I didn’t get this done. The person I am emailing most likely is going through what I am going through. They get what is happening.”
Laura recommends other people who are newly diagnosed to join Email Phriends. “You may learn how to deal with your new life and learn about other people’s experience having PH.”
Need someone to talk to? Consider joining PHA’s Email PHriends program.