February 5, 2018

My support networks

Tegan is 28 years old and was diagnosed at the age of 6 with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), a progressive disease caused by narrowing or tightening (constriction) of the pulmonary arteries that connect the right side of the heart to the lungs. She describes here what support means to her.

Support means different things to different people. The first thing you have to do is figure out what this means for you. There are many services out there, but not all of them will be suitable. I soon realised that the best supports for me were my family and friends. They help me feel as normal as possible, and make me believe in myself again.

I also greatly value the support of my Clinical Nurse Consultants. They know me, my medical history and it’s likely they’ve heard every story, question or achievement from their other patients.

My last resource can take a little bit of time and effort. Through the powers of social media, clinics, meeting in hospital, you can meet many PAH patients. Their treatments might be slightly different, or they may have a different severity of PAH, but they are someone to talk to who truly knows what it’s like. I have a small circle of PAH contacts, now friends, that I can go to if I need to talk, and they know they have the same opportunity returned. With lots of different places and people to feel supported by, it’s hard to imagine a situation I couldn’t handle.

Read Tegan’s story: lungfoundation.com.au/Tegan.