Well, the disease is called pulmonary hypertension, at least that is what the doctor at the Vienna General Hospital told me.
I had realized that something was wrong with me for some time. First it was just little things like: “I have to take it slower today” or “I’m a bit out of breath.” “Maybe I am just having a bad day today.” “Work was really tough last week.” Or “I’m really tired again today, totally exhausted.”
But as time went on, these symptoms got worse and worse and everyday life started to become very challenging. I noticed that walking uphill or climbing stairs was getting more and more difficult. At work, the morning meeting always took place at the boss’ office on the 3rd floor. There was no elevator, so every day I had to climb 30 stairs. One day it was so bad that I had to sit down on the steps because my circulation collapsed. Everything went black and I couldn’t breathe. I started to panic.
I was sick for a few days and I just thought I needed to get a good night’s sleep to feel better again.
Eva from Austria talks about her PH experience. Feel free to share and create awareness for PH. (English subtitles are available – select them from the "gears" icon down on the right hand side.) #TimeMatters #pulmonaryhypertension #ph #phaeurope
Posted by Pulmonary Hypertension Association Europe on Thursday, February 16, 2017
After a really bad cold, it only got worse. I just couldn’t get healthy again. This was also the time when other people like my colleagues, my husband and my friends noticed that something was wrong with me. I even stopped meeting friends at the coffee shop, something I had always really enjoyed.
It was clear I needed to go to the doctor. After several examinations at the cardiologist, I wound up at the Vienna General Hospital. That is also where I was diagnosed.
Since I refused to even acknowledge that I was terminally ill, I decided to keep living my life as I had before. As it turned out, that was almost a fatal mistake.
At first I started reading on the internet about which drugs I had been prescribed and what the disease really meant. Only then was I able to tell people just how sick I really am. My standard explanation was: “My lungs are sick, but I’m not contagious”.
Today I speak very openly about the disease. How I am feeling and how the disease effects me physically and mentally. My family has been incredibly supportive, accepting the days when I am not doing so well and always being there to help me.
Later, I joined the “Lungenhochdruck” self-help group, where everyone was very understanding. Now I am an active member of this initiative and I am feeling better than I did many years ago.
It was a long process and it took many years. It took five years alone to even accept that I can’t do my work anymore. But the fight was worth it!!