Patient Voices #BreathlessNotVoiceless

Serena Lawrence

“I am constantly thinking about how pulmonary hypertension impacts my life”

Serena Lawrence was diagnosed with PH in 2014, and the associated anxiety has a big effect on her quality of life.

“There hasn’t been more than a few moments in the past three years where I haven’t thought about pulmonary hypertension. Nothing seems to distract my mind completely from it, and if something does, it is for mere minutes at a time.

I am constantly thinking about how pulmonary hypertension impacts my life, how it has changed my life, my health, abilities and future. I am constantly worrying about what may or may not happen. Pulmonary hypertension is progressive, so every time that I have a bad symptom day, week, or month, I find myself waiting for that proverbial anvil to fall out of the sky, and crush me like a cartoon character.

I have been told that this will never get better, that I will one day need IV medications pumping poison into my body 24/7, and that I will die from this disease. If not this year, then sometime soon. Maybe 5 years, maybe 10. I have been asked if I want to go on a lung transplant list. I have been told I will need to go on one, or should have one.

Of course, my friends and family try to tell me not to worry. I already know that worry and stress isn’t good for my health, but it’s still difficult.

I always feel like everything is on the verge of catching on fire. I endure feeling as if I have left the stove on, left my straightener plugged in, forgot to lock the front door, or forgot my keys after leaving the house. I constantly have this feeling of dread in my gut, as anxiety starts blanketing my body.

I wonder how long other people can go without thinking about their diagnosis, or worrying about their life exploding? 10 minutes? Half an hour? Several hours? A day? A week?”

Serena Lawrence