My PH Story: Tarsha Walker

August 07,2019

My name is Tarsha Walker. I’m 42 years old. I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and CTEPH on May 9th 2019, by Dr. Muhammad Wagas at St. Vincent Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Now to take a step back. In 2003 I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. This was a hard milestone in my life, especially being that I was diagnosed with in my twenties. I’ve been living with this for 17 years, being treated with medication and multiple procedures. I have had to have a pacemaker, and the last device that was put in was a dual pacemaker and defibrillator.

Now this is where another problem came along. In July 2018, I started experiencing shortness of breath. This occurred with doing simple things, as of bending over to pick something up, and my daily routines around the house. Just everything made me feel like I couldn’t do much without feeling tired and out of breath. One day while laying in the bed I started to experience chest pain with lots of pressure and shortness of breath. My daughter had to drive me to the hospital where the doctors performed multiple tests. I then found out I had a pulmonary embolism. This lead me to stay in the hospital for a week.

My pain started to ease. I felt like I could actually do things without being tired, and I was back to being myself. I spoke too soon and the pain came back about a month later. I was back to being tired by doing little things around the house. It got so bad that I couldn’t go to the bathroom which is in my room without being flat out tired and out of breath. I changed my doctor because I felt that I needed answers and real solutions to this problem that kept coming back. I changed doctors and had a right heart catheterization and lung scan. Those tests then determined I had multiple blood clots in my lung. I was then told that in order to remove the blood clots, I would need another surgery. Being that there’s not a hospital in Arkansas that would perform this surgery, I was informed that I would have to travel to the closest hospital that did: six hours away in Nashville, Tennessee at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

This whole process has been emotionally and physically draining, and very stressful. I just want to return to my normal living. I’m 42 years old but I still feel that I have so much more life to live. I have two daughters who are riding this long journey with me. I’m always so thankful for the support I get from my family. I’m thankful that my new doctors were able to find a solution and maybe this time the blood clots will stay in the past. I’m also thankful for the help of my case manager and really appreciate her for introducing me to Team PHenomenal Hope.

Thanks for hearing and reading my story. Thanks for helping me and others like me, Team PHenomenal Hope, with your help I’m able to pay for traveling expenses for my medical appointments.

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