My PAH Diagnosis: Kevin Green
My name is Kevin Green. I’m 49 years old and diabetic. In March, 2019 my doctor started me on a new medication to help get my diabetes under control. I started having shortness of breath with this new medicine and some odd pains. So I stopped the medication and called my doctor to get an appointment to see him sooner. Turns out the problem wasn’t with the medication, but with a blocked artery, and I ended up having a mild heart attack.
After a stent placement I was feeling better, and off to rehab I went. I was doing great until one day I got dizzy and almost passed out during rehab. I found out my blood pressure was too low. My doctor took me off the blood pressure medication, and had a stress test done. During the stress test I couldn’t breathe. My oxygen dropped into the 70’s.
Off to the pulmonologist I went. He put me on oxygen and I had to carry a small tank around with me. At this point depression was really starting to take a toll on my life. I had grown adults teasing me at work for wearing my oxygen in a backpack. The stress on life at this point was so much I ended up developing a case of shingles, not once, but twice.
Fast forward a few months and a lot of tests, I finally had a right heart catheterization done, and sure enough I had pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). My wife and I both were devastated at first because we had read a lot of different things about this disease, but were making the best of it.
I can’t even begin to tell you what kind of toll this disease has taken on me and my family. I have two kids, 24 and 17 years old. It was difficult to tell them what was wrong with their dad and that the doctors couldn’t fix me like they did my heart. But after talking to the PH specialist and reading a lot of articles, there seems to be a lot of new and promising treatments.
I’ve been a fairly active person my whole life and I refuse to let this disease slow me down. I told my friends and family this disease will not define who I am. I am only a few months into this diagnosis. Sometimes I forget to grab my oxygen tank when we leave the house, and have to turn around and go get it. Just recently my friends asked me if I wanted to forgo our hunting trip this year, I told them no, as long as I have my oxygen, I’m good to go. I only need it on exertion, so I can turn it off while sitting in the blind.
My doctors are still working to find the exact cause of my PAH, including genetic testing, to get the right medications to treat me. We are at a crossroads, looking for the right path. My family and I still have a lot to learn and treatments to start, but were headed in the right direction for a long life ahead of me. I refuse to give up.
Kevin is a recipient of the Team PHenomenal Hope Unmet Needs Patient Impact Fund. Learn more about how this fund supports PH patients at teamph.org/unmetneeds.