I feel like I have been to the Wizard of Oz to receive my badge of courage. While a lot of people have trouble looking at the bright side or weathering the storms, somehow I got lucky and just seem to be strong when I need to be. Don't get me wrong, I have my moments just like anyone else with a chronic illness. I sometimes just have to be angry or cry my eyes out, then I just pick back up and go on. I was thinking the other day that the word courage can remind us of a lot of things.
C is for caring and concern. This to me can be for yourself and others. I have to be concerned about my own health and how I take care of myself to care for my family. Also, with PH and lots of other illnesses, your family, friends, doctors, etc. care for you.
O is for optimism. Without a positive outlook on life, people are never as happy as they could be. I am not saying that this is always easy. I tend to lose sight of the positive on my third or fourth trip to the bathroom thanks to the side effects of meds. I try then to find the humor in the situation, as in, "Wow, I am getting to read a lot of this book!!"
U is for the unexpected. Try to be ready for it, and thank God when he pulls you through.
R stands for ready. Be ready for the fight of your life. People with PH are sometimes sick for a long time before they are even diagnosed. Then after dealing with all the tests, they have to endure the stress of side effects of medications. All the people I have met thus far in the PH community are so up for the fight, it's amazing.
A is for answers. We all want answers in life, yet with PH there are no concrete answers as to why people get this disease, especially for the people with idiopathic PH. I was told I have this because my lupus caused it. Yet, no one can tell me why I have lupus. Also, there is no cure yet, so we have to be courageous until that day comes.
G is for -- lets be honest -- gross. The side effects we PHers have to tolerate are just that, gross! I despise a headache, and the GI symptoms (I won't even go into details about that!). I am sure that others have their own stories to tell!
E is for education and expectations. I think about all the support groups and people out there trying to spread the word about PH to patients, family members, medical professionals and the public. I think about why we're all so focused on education...because we all expect that one day it will come full circle in the form of a cure.
I find that this combination of thoughts just leads me to be hopeful; that one day no one else will have to go through all this. I worked in the medical profession and have seen so many wonderful things, that it is impossible for me to believe that this can't be over come as well. Tell me what courage means to you!!!
God Bless, JennRN
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