Those Flowers Will Bloom With Beauty: Dawn Taylor’s PH Journey
I’m going to take you around the world.
It felt like a heart attack. Or maybe it’s a really bad asthma attack. Panic had set in; off to the Emergency Room we go. The ER nurse had panic on her face because my oxygen was so low. Hayward, California was my bucket list to live and raise my son. Then one and a half years later, this happened.
I was told previously that I had asthma for five years. I saw countless doctors about my breathing issues. It took a move across country to get it right, but almost knocking at death’s door. Dr. David Anderson, a wonderful cardiologist, saved my life and has given me more time with my son. He ran every test, and didn’t quit on me. The VQ scan and Echo said it all: Pulmonary arterial hypertension.
My first reaction was, “Oh no, what about my son?” He was 11 then. We had lost his dad when he was just three. My entire life flashed before me with an overwhelming feeling of defeat. I was then referred to one of the best facilities, the Stanford Pulmonary Clinic.
I felt as though everything was in both fast and slow motion. I couldn’t skip a beat without treatment right away. I was on permanent oxygen and had to take a leave of absence from my job. I was so scared and couldn’t wrap my head around the diagnosis. The right heart catheterization at Standford, performed by Dr. Richard Wells, confirmed the diagnosis and the urgency of treatment. I opted for oral against the providers recommendation of IV therapy. I was not mentally ready for the process.
It worked! Two drugs got me breathing and out of bed, but my heart was still broken emotionally and physically. I was drowning in grief. I reached out for information about PH, and got a call back from Carol, a support group leader. To this very day I thank her for the words of encouragement, and the advice she gave me about life and believing you can handle this.
I won’t lie, it has been a long journey of failed treatments, a few hospital stays, and a lot of breathless nights. Eventually I left the bay area and moved back south. Dr. Micah Fisher at Emory took on my case. He was so patient, and had a gentle spirit. He listened to my concerns about treatment options, and gave me the chance to try the breathing treatments.
Unfortunately it failed after 30 days. I cried so hard, but Dr. Fisher held my hand and gave me hope, and advised me to fight harder to be here with my son. I am now on IV Veletri, oral combination therapy, oxygen, and pulmonary rehabilitation. These have saved my life! We have since made another move to Mississippi to be closer to family. It must have been meant to be, as Dr. Richard Wells is here as Assistant Professor of the Pulmonary Division at UMMC. He was the original provider that performed my right heart catheterization.
Life can give you a road of potholes, so I just drive slowly and carefully, and dodge them if I can.
Your journey may come with a few painful thorns, but those flowers will bloom with beauty.