“Support services are vital and can be critical at times. Join a support group – this is a great way to learn things about your condition and talk to people with the same condition.” – Melinda.
Photographer and dairy farmer, Melinda, says her Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) diagnosis has taught her more about herself than she could have imagined. The mother-of-two finds inspiration in peer support and has learnt to appreciate the little things.
This is Melinda’s story.
I was diagnosed with severe idiopathic PAH just over 2 years ago after having a right heart study. I was breathless and had extreme chest pain. I sought medical help as I knew something just wasn’t right. I couldn’t even make it to the back door without getting extremely puffed.
I still remember my specialist taking my hand and holding it while she broke the news to me. She told me then and there when I was still in theatre and said that I could stop being brave. I shed a tear or two although if I am being honest, I did not know what I was truly up against and what it all meant. In the days that followed I was filled with mixed emotions and was forever questioning “why me?”. As funny as it may sound, I felt relief to finally have a diagnosis.
While I couldn’t fault the care I received from my healthcare team, I never received any more information going forward with living with a lung disease. I would really like to see that every person diagnosed with a lung condition in Australia leaves hospital with a pack full of information and resources along with a list of support services.
If you’re newly diagnosed, be kind to yourself in the early days, it can be a scary and crazy road. But know it does get better, you will have your good day and bad days and you will get through them. If people offer to help let them, they are offering because they love and care for you. Stay positive and if you are struggling reach out, whether it is to a loved one or a medical professional. It is a heavy burden to carry on your own.
Support services are vital and can be critical at times. Join a support group – this is a great way to learn things about your condition and talk to people with the same condition as you and you won’t feel so alone as you navigate your way through. Last and not least have complete faith in your medical team. They are amazing professionals and truly know what they are doing and they will take great care of you.
My PAH journey has taught me so much about myself than I could have ever imagined. It has made me more grateful and appreciate life and the true meaning of ‘living in the moment’. It has made me really appreciate the loved ones in my life and it has certainly made me much more resilient. I enjoy the little things so much more than I used to and I know that I am truly blessed beyond measure.
Connect to care
You’re not alone. Lung Foundation Australia’s Information and Support Centre is here to provide guidance and connect you to relevant resources and support services. Contact the team via free call 1800 654 301 or book a call via the link below.