“You were chosen because you are PHighters and PHighters never back down from a PHight.”

“Being diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) does not mean the end of life, rather the beginning of a new one. It doesn’t mean all dreams must go away, but rather those same dreams can be reimagined. Your being diagnosed with PH doesn’t have to hold you back, it can propel you forward in ways you could have never imagined. PH chose you because you are the PHighters who can endure the battle that is before you. The PHight for a more enhanced life, a more fulfilling life, and a more rewarding life that’s in store for you. Now let me be clear: I do not have PH, nor do I pretend to understand what it means to have PH. But I did know a woman once who did suffer with PH and, man, was she a PHighter. That woman was my wife Shanta Mia McElveen Duncan.

“The phrases used to describe living with PH were phrases my wife would often use. It was her way of not allowing PH to win. Not even for a day. My wife approached every day as small tasks to check off her checklist. No day was too big for her to handle. I was often amazed at how in control she was of her life and what she had to manage. And yes, she managed PH and not the other way around. We created a system for everything. Whether it’s how she arranged and prebagged her daily medicines to how we put ourselves on a schedule to know exactly when her medicine needed to be made each night or every other night. Shanta was so rigged with her schedule and system that there was a backup plan for every scenario. For example, if there was a mishap while making the medicine like bubbles in the line, my wife knew how to re-prime the machine and she was able to recalculate how long it would take before her next changing. She never ceased to amaze me at her ability to adjust on the fly.

“When were first married my wife served as a telephone operator for nearly two years in St. Louis, Mo. When we moved back near our hometown of New Orleans in the area of St. Bernard Parish she decided to finish her college studies.. Unfortunately, this was also the time Shanta was diagnosed with PH. Will I be able to hold my son? Can I have more kids? Those were just two of the many questions racing through her mind at the time. After being extremely down for some time my wife decided to take control of her life and make the most of whatever life had to offer. At the time that didn’t include flying on an airplane, but she would eventually get past that fear several years later. This is the time I began to see another side of my wife that I hadn’t seen before. This is when I realized how much of an amazing woman I married. This is when I realized I married a PHighter. My wife began to plan trips with friends, though they were road trips, I must say. Amazingly as she managed PH she became more engaged with helping family, friends and whoever else needed inspiration. Hell, she was my motivation to lose roughly 30 pounds.. How could I look at the PHighter in her and not be inspired to PHight for my own health goals?

“Shanta’s PHighting spirit lives on in so many of us. Her spirit lives on in so many of you because you were chosen by PH. You were chosen because you are PHighters and PHighters never back down from a PHight.”