“The PHighters I’ve met give me hope.”

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.”