When Holly Szmutko learned of her pulmonary hypertension (PH) diagnosis, she struggled at first to adjust to her life with the condition.
“When first diagnosed, I was in denial and very angry,” she recalls.
However, this did not last long for the Valparaiso, Ind., resident.
“As I overcame the anger and denial, I chose to be positive and get the best out of my care,” she continues. “I wanted to help others.”
Holly began to reach out to those in the PH community about how she could connect and help others. At the advice of her doctor, she became a member of PHA. The doctor also suggested she join a support group.
Although at the time there was not a group near her, she was undaunted. She got in touch with a fellow PH community member whom she says “helped me get started, answered all my questions and gave me the encouragement I needed.”
Eventually this led to a new PHA support group: The Northwest Indiana PH PHriends Support Group.
“I love being able to support those in my group, set up speakers and just listen,” says Holly. “We are small, but that’s ok. They are all thankful to have a group in the area, and I am thankful to have them! It’s nice to know there are other people near you going through what you are.”
Holly reports on the group, “Our focus is on growing and supporting as many people as possible. We have had yoga taught for a meeting, and in a future meeting we will have a speaker come talk to us about depression and hypnosis. We want to get the word out that there is help!”