By Mike Naple
“I experienced shortness of breath that became more severe over eight months, starting in 2015. It was difficult to climb stairs and walk more than a few blocks, before needing a respite at a street corner. I was so out of breath.
At the time, I had no idea that my oxygen levels were daily dropping well below 90, decreasing the flow of oxygen elsewhere in my body. My energy level dropped, and I often felt exhausted, fatigued and dizzy. I was treated for asthma at the time, and I continued to fight through the symptoms not really knowing what was happening in my body. It felt like forging through a river where the rapids just kept pulling me under. Ultimately, I woke up one morning sweaty, as though I had been swimming in that river, only this time it felt like a massive boulder was lodged on my chest. I called urgent care.
One clinic, two hospitals, a battery of tests and a right heart catheterization later and I had my pulmonary hypertension (PH) diagnosis. I still have my symptoms but now I have treatment and that gives me hope. The PHighters I’ve met give me hope.”