This morning, my family and I participated in a fun awareness/fundraiser walk for Pulmonary Hypertension in Santa Barbara, California. I know what you must be thinking, what is this disease? and is that even possible? About three years ago, my mom was diagnosed with the disease and doctors said she would be lucky to live a year or two more. After the diagnosis my family was all devastated. How could my extremely healthy forty something mother have a rare lung disease that would be terminal? At the time she was exercising daily, never smoked, ate healthy and drank alcohol in moderation. When she was diagnosed I was 17, a high school senior ready to graduate and conquer the world. My little sister was eleven, she still depended on my mom for everything.
That first year was really rough. Learning to live with my Mom (Lori) being on full time supplemental oxygen and taking more drugs than most people take in a lifetime. We had to adjust, we had always been such a tight knit family that was extremely active. We went on bike rides up the coast on the weekends, camping trips in the mountains that required a lot of hiking and physical activity, and walked our dogs constantly. Suddenly, we were no longer able to do that.
Today, three years later, my EXTREMELY optimistic mother is still alive and kicken (and walking the dogs). We have all learned to deal with that fact that she has this terrible disease, but we try to not let it rule our lives. I am incredibly thankful for ever day I have left with her. Today in the Pulmonary Hypertension Walk of Santa Barbara, we walked in her honor. She is the most strong and courageous human being I know and a inspiration to everyone.
I share this with you (my readers), to raise awareness to the fact that this disease is something that anyone can get it and there is no cure. Healthy or not, you should know that there are more chronic (and terminal) diseases besides just Cancer. Go to the doctor regularly so things like this disease can be caught early.
For more information on Pulmonary Hypertension click here. For more information on our effort to end this disease click here.