Dusanka (Serbia) talks about her PH experience

My name is Dusanka Radojcic. I’ve been suffering from pulmonary hypertension for a year. Before I found out that I actually suffer from this illness, I thought I was suffering from the ordinary hypertension. This was the only type of hypertension I knew anything about. This was until one day that I collapsed on the street. I then realized that my health was seriously threatened. I felt helpless but I didn’t give up. I believed that doctors could help me. They provided the first aid. During my hospital stay, I started trusting my doctors even more. Ever since the day I could no longer walk, they have been the only hope for me. At the hospital they were fighting for my life, they were fighting to bring me back on my feet, to help me breathe. We fought together and now I am on my feet again.

Most of the people in my community know that I am seriously ill and they all knew that I suffered from the ordinary hypertension. It was hard for them to understand the difference between arterial hypertension and pulmonary arterial hypertension. They’ve never heard about it. But the difference between the two is huge, it represents the difference between life and death. Pulmonary hypertension is a vicious illness. I know that, I know what the prognosis might be, but I don’t give up.

I try not to inconvenience other people, everything I do goes beyond the limits of what I am allowed to do according to my doctors. So, at the same time that I’m trying to live my life, I’m actually risking it. But still I am alive and this is something that I’m very thankful for. I owe my life to my doctors who are specialists of this illness, who are very understanding, and take care of me.

It was really difficult for this illness to be diagnosed. Doctors suspect that I have been suffering from PH much longer, but no one knew what was happening. They were changing the therapy for my blood pressure all the time and they were sending me for checkups to many specialists until it was finally discovered that I was being treated the wrong way. Everything changed when I got into the state that I no longer could walk, breathe or live without oxygen.

Dusanka from Serbia talks about her PH experience. Feel free to share and create awareness for PH. #TimeMatters #pulmonaryhypertension #ph #phaeurope

Posted by Pulmonary Hypertension Association Europe on Friday, January 27, 2017

However, I was lucky enough to be a part of a clinical trial and try a new medicine. My reaction to the medication was excellent. I know that by taking it I am not cured, but still I’m thankful for the positive effect of the medication.

I’m seriously ill, but no one would guess because I don’t give up. I take the medication regularly and I would advise other people to go and see their doctors as soon as they notice symptoms.

The support I get means a lot. My family is really supportive and understanding, but until I found the doctors who took my condition seriously, everything was worthless. Not until they found me unconscious on the street, did one doctor by accident suspect that something more serious than abnormal blood pressure was the cause of my condition. She was right. If doctors don’t take your condition seriously, your life can be at risk. Doctors can neglect serious symptoms that can be an indication of a vicious and rare illness. Many doctors haven’t even heard about pulmonary hypertension. What else can be said? Any kind of stress, tiredness and concern causes pain in my chest. This pain warns me about the things that I should try to avoid. I don’t have the freedom to react like a normal human being, because everything can be threatening my life.

During the night I am breathless, and even today I feel breathless, but I have gotten used to it. I’ve always loved the fresh air, but now I cannot sleep by the open window. I am breathless all the time.

When I come to my doctor’s office for a checkup, I tell him how I feel and then I think to myself… how ashamed I feel because I’m complaining. I turn around and see all those sick children and I feel like crying… It’s ok that I’m confronted with this illness, I’m old enough, I will survive. I don’t care if I die either, but when I see all those young people suffering from this serious illness….I feel sorry for them, and again, I repeat, I feel ashamed about complaining about my condition. Don’t ask me about pulmonary hypertension. Help those young people and tell them there is hope. Tell them that granny Dusanka who couldn’t even walk, now rides a bicycle again… for how long…no one knows…but still there is hope.

Last updated: February 8, 2017