My Own Story About Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension- the Past 8 Years.

I think there is one word that can conclude my life with pulmonary arterial hypertension, which is ‘a 20-year-old body with 80-year-old heart.’ I was diagnosed idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. This type of pulmonary arterial hypertension cannot be cured. My doctor said the average life expectancy is only about 2.8 years. Today I’d like to share my story about pulmonary arterial hypertension, which started at the first year in my high school.

In 2008, I fainted on my way to school. After that, I always felt it difficult to breathe when taking walks. It was very difficult for me to go upstairs and downstairs. My parents comforted me that everything would be OK, and so did I. But now I must admit that I was too naïve. Almost half a year passed, my symptoms were getting worse than before. I still felt very hard to breathe at any time. My parents started to take me to the hospital. I spent three years in seeing doctors and trying different kinds of medications. In the last year of high school, I began to prepare my SAT test and AP. There was a lot of pressure making my disease much worse. I always thought that I could not see the Sun tomorrow. I knew that I had some kind of lethal disease, but my parents and I didn’t know what it is.

Fortunately, I passed my SAT 1 test with the score of 2200, and SAT 2 with 2400. I received the offer from New York University. After receiving the offer, my family and I felt relaxed and decided to travel to New York from our hometown, Rapid City. My mother took me to the best hospital, Mayo in NY. We were shocked at the test results. Pulmonary hypertension, what a strange name it is! I was diagnosed idiopathic pulmonary hypertension! The doctor said that normal people’s pulmonary artery pressure is about 20, and I was more than 90, which is a very dangerous level. He also said that pulmonary hypertension can not be cured. What we can do is to rely on medication to improve life quality.

When I was in primary school, my little brother died of congenital heart disease. My parents were just factory workers, making $3000 per month. We could not afford the expense. Although I have health insurance, the treating and medication expenses are very high.

Eventually, I decided to go to NYU one week before the new semester in 2010 Fall. I spent 3 years of efforts to get that offer. I could not give it up! With medication control and other therapies, my PAH symptoms were relieved. Almost 8 years passed since I was diagnosed pulmonary arterial hypertension in 2010.

Even if I must take medication for the rest of life, I appreciate the second chance to survive.


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