My Treatment is Back on Track: Enid Mirabal

April 20,2020

My journey with pulmonary hypertension began in October of 2013. I was 33 years old, and married at the time. I was and am the mother of three beautiful children. I was on my way to visit my best friend in Fort Collins, Colorado for the weekend, when half way there I started feeling pressure in my chest. Since I also have other diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, my first thought was that something was flaring up. The pain got worse, so I texted my friend that I might have to go to the hospital once I arrived in Denver.

I got there and was rushed to the hospital. Immediately I was treated as if I was having a heart attack. Upon further investigation they performed bloodwork and an echocardiogram. That led them to a diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension, and I remained hospitalized for the weekend. My plans with my friend had gone down the drain. I was finally released and came back home sad, confused, and distraught. I made an appointment with my rheumatologist since she was treating me with everything else, she could treat this right?

With the help of a cardiologist, she started me on tracleer. Everything was going well for four years to be exact, until my doctor mentioned I could stop the medication since I was doing so much better. Biggest mistake ever! A couple of months after everything started all over again, but ten times worse. I couldn’t walk short distances, taking a shower was horrible, even making the bed was exhausting. Every time I walked I felt I was going to faint. It felt like someone was choking me. I immediately went to the doctor, but by the time I made appointments to see them to start medication again, there were complications with the insurance.

In March of 2018 I got worse and decided to go to my primary doctor. He performed an EKG and admitted me to the hospital. At the hospital they performed by first ever right heart catheterization. My pressures were 125 and the cardiologist panicked. He then sent to me an out of town hospital for a heart and lung transplant evaluation located in Houston, Texas.

I was shocked! Heart and lung transplant? Why was this happening? I spent a month in the hospital under evaluation and then was started on IV treatment of veletri, a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week IV medication. I was depressed; this medication changed my life in a good and bad way, but my body responded very well to the treatment. So well pressures went down to 85, and my doctors said no transplant was needed at the time. Thank God!

I was finally sent back to my hometown El Paso, Texas with my family that I was away from for too long, and my life changed forever. I was blessed to meet more people with my condition. With the help of my phriends, I was able to find a PH specialist here in my hometown! He was a god-send and immediately had a plan of action for me. I was able to get off the IV medication and started on oral medication instead. I was ecstatic, for this allowed me to go back to work. I’m a veterinary technician, and I love working with animals. I felt like my old self again. I could provide for my kids again, now 7, 9, and 13 years old.

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began I have not been able to work. I applied to all sorts of assistance, unemployment, and food stamps, but no response from them yet. As a single mom of three it’s scary; how will I buy groceries? How am I going to pay the bills? It’s worrisome not only because we could become infected with this virus, but also have to worry about financial issues. This kind of stress also affects my health. So I just try to remain calm and pray to God this will pass soon.

Enid received COVID-19 relief funds from the Team PHenomenal Hope Unmet Needs Patient Impact Fund. Learn more about how this fund supports PH patients at teamph.org/unmetneeds.

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