My Magic is Never Giving Up: Ashley Horton
Four years ago I was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, just two weeks before my 26th birthday. It started with feeling like I was having a really bad and continuous asthma attack. The difference between this and my asthma is that my inhaler wasn’t relieving the symptoms like it normally did, and the symptoms I get from vasovagal syncope were getting worse. I was having dizzy spells and starting to black out while at work.
After a few months of feeling like this I had an absence seizure while doing a 500 m row on the rowing machine. Luckily my husband was there to help. Shortly after, I had a 2D echocardiogram that showed the right side of my heart was enlarged and that my pressures were extremely high. Although I don’t honestly consider Massachusetts to be my home, it was lucky I am here because my cardiologist knew exactly what to do and made sure I had what was my first, but definitely not my last, cardiac catheterization. This procedure showed that my pulmonary pressures were more than three times what it should be, at about 94 mm. I have been extremely lucky as I have had two of the best doctors for treatment.
This diagnosis was hard to take, especially as it interfered with all of the plans my husband and I had for our future. I can say it also showed how stubborn I really am. I continued with my plans to finish my Masters in Science for Behaviour Analysis at Bay Path University and finished with a high GPA. I have continued to push the boundaries of what I can do physically and am determined to go farther.
Since the diagnosis and figuring out my medication, I exercise at least 4 to 5 times a week. I train and lift weights with the guidance of a trainer, go to Zumba, Les Milles Barre, and Strong by Zumba to get as much cardio and strength training in as possible. Between exercising and being on Remodulin, I have gone from being stage three severe to stage one mild, with my pulmonary pressures now being just above normal.
Through all of this I have continued with one thing, not giving up. I started going to Wanderlust 108 every year, which is a Yoga triathlon including a 5K, which I can proudly say I ran part of last year after my first year on Remodulin. I also continue to hike, play my saxophone, and garden. Once the implantable pump is available, I’ll continue to work on learning paddle boarding and kayaking where I left off three years ago.
Even though many will not understand it, my title is a reference to an anime I watch. I love anime, DnD and table-top gaming (miniatures). This phrase is very relevant for me as I won’t give up on my goals and dreams, knowing that if PAH didn’t get in my way, nothing will.