|Haley Ann Lynn|
When asked to do a guest blog of course, I excitingly agreed, then sat back and pondered on what the hell that exactly meant. Guest blogging? What was I supposed to be writing about or HOW was I supposed to be writing all this? Well, these lovely folks sent a list of writing ideas that I scanned over and after spending a day at the pool in the Texas heat, my idea came over me like a wave.
Who would I be without Pulmonary Hypertension? I tell people all the time, “Don’t let this disease define you, don’t let it consume you,” blah blah blah. But I ended up swallowing my own words because I've let nothing but this disease define me, for the good. Pulmonary Hypertension in a way rescued me, letting not only myself know, but skeptical others around me that in fact something WAS wrong. I was not normal; I was never meant to be normal. I've always been PHenomenal!
Rewinding far back into my life, the day I had my first episode, I was eleven years old in a 6th grade gym class. We were expected to run these laps, and I just rolled my eyes—being the pre-teen I was—because for some reason I never enjoyed gym. This particular gym class was crowded with athletic girls who participated in track and basketball. It made this this task just so uneasy. That day during my laps, I felt an extraordinarily strong pain come over my body, my vision was gone and I began gasping for air. I threw my hands behind my head and stumbled to the line where girls were finished, and I pretended nothing was wrong with me. From that day on these “episodes” were a constant companion. I had to make room for them in my life when I walked up stairs, in dance class… everywhere. I hated them, but I learned to work around them. My friends, however, not so much.
Moving into high school the episodes grew just like my body. They were not only everywhere, but they were all the time. Stairs? Impossible. PE class? Hell no. How was I supposed to function like a normal high school kid if I couldn't even walk around like one? Sports, walking to class, climbing bleachers for football games and just keeping up with friends in the hallway…these were all hard work. My physical body began to wear down, and my mental state began to fade as well. Friends and people in general were horrific. I was an outcast, a girl who faked breathing problems, a girl who was gaining weight, a girl who wasn't cool and eventually a girl who had no friends. People had fallen victim to this invisible disease not believing a word or a thing I did. It was easier to distance myself from normal life and exist in my own private world than to deal with the cruel people who broke my world every day. I was a loser at this normal life thing and extremely broken, inside and out. Graduation Day was like being let out of a damn cage, and it felt so good! I turned 18 a month later, and then quickly after I had my first appointment with a cardiologist. The minute Dr. Ray looked me in the eyes and said, “Something is very wrong with you!” I smiled the biggest I had in years. He turned me toward a mirror and exposed me for exactly what I was, showing me the invisible monster growing on the inside of my body. It wasn't always the easiest thing to accept, wake up to and deal with on a day to day basis, but after a while this monster went from a disease to a PHenomenal diagnosis.
Overall, who would I be without Pulmonary Hypertension? I would still be a loser, so called liar, pudgy, overdramatic, very alone and depressed outcast that I was. I would still be this “different” person that people use to make fun of, push away and call names. I would still be a non-normal person trying to live a very normal life. I never fit into that, and I wasn't supposed to, so thank you to all of those high school jerks that told me that! Turns out you were right! Pulmonary Hypertension showed me how strong, capable and simply PHenomenal I always have been and always will be.