Her name is Jen… She is a mother, wife, daughter, and friend. Jen is also fiercely loyal and protective of her family and her friends. Jen is also battling Pulmonary Hypertension (PH).
I met Jen a couple of months back at a fundraiser for a local musician. I immediately liked her! Jen was very welcoming and extremely helpful, outgoing and a great sense of humor. This month is dedicated to Pulmonary Hypertension awareness so I decided to use my camera to share Jen’s story and spread the word about this less obscure condition. Jen’s photos are to show that despite this terrible and debilitating condition she is still a beautiful woman.
Here is Jen’s story in her own words…
I was diagnosed in 2005 after multiple hospital visits and several doctors not knowing what was wrong with me. It was on the last visit that the head of the Heart Failure Clinic kept me longer. That visit ended up being about a week. This doctor knew something was definitely wrong with me. He knew of PH but was not a PH Specialist. Thus began the journey to find someone to start me on meds and the proper treatment.
Because of this condition, I can no longer do the things I used to do, such as take care of my family, work, and take care of myself. Some days just getting dressed is too much. I was always the caregiver and now needing a caregiver is very hard to swallow. The hardest part of this illness is that it never goes away and then there is the loss of the old me. Just as you loose a loved one, when someone is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, they also go through the grief stages, because in actuality, they have lost their old self and the life as they knew it before. Not being able to take care of others and do what I was born to do really gets to me. Even now, almost 8 years later, I still have denial and anger.
My daily motivation comes from my wonderful daughter Kayla, who gives me the strength to carry on when I feel like I can no longer fight. Then there is my awesome husband, Manny, that takes great care of me and always sticks by my side… he is my rock. Then there are all the young little kids that I see and hear about dealing with PH, see PH does not discriminate against age, sex, or race.
This condition has taken the most toll on my family, emotionally, physically, and financially. We all have made sacrifices and suffered losses but I am happy to say that sticking together through this shows that we will continue to move forward. When I was first diagnosed there were some doctors that told me that Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) is a death sentence. Well after almost 8 years, I am blessed and say I will continue to kick PH’s butt, ” I ain’t going down without a PHight”.
The symptoms for all types of pulmonary hypertension (PH) may be similar, and symptoms are usually more severe as the disease progresses. Symptoms of PH may include:
- Chest pain (also called angina pectoris)
- Fainting (also called syncope)
- Loss of energy
- Swelling of the arms, legs, ankles or abdomen (also called edema)
- Dry cough
- Raynaud’s phenomenon (chalky white or dusky blue fingers that may be painful and can sometimes be provoked by the cold)
Jen was photographed on location in Friendswood, TX
Styled by Monique Spence – Mia Monet Fashions