My PH team kindly referred me to Addenbrookes and although there was no formal testing for PH genetics at the time, I was lucky because they were about to establish one and establish the research into understanding the genetics of PH in the hope of getting some breakthrough for new treatments.
|Filming with BBC Look East|
When you're diagnosed with PH it is a very frightening time, no matter what stage your PH is in. For me, I was in end stages, so I was put on intravenous medication within a few months then referred for a heart and lung transplant. I was told I wouldn't have long to live and perhaps only have two years of quality life left and then in the same breath told it may take up to two years or more to get my transplant. It was a stressful and scary time. With the shortage of organ donors, it is a very difficult to get three organs. Organs can be split to save two or three lives instead of saving one and only a couple of transplant centres still commit to undertaking them - I was lucky - lucky in so many ways.
Sometimes during my life I've complained I've not been in the right place at the right time: the sun shone on me through my illness though - I was being treated in a centre that believes if you need three organs then that's what they will strive to get for you and I was under a transplant team who had a lot of expertise for this rare operation. I was also lucky I was under the excellent care of a superb specialist PH team and they knew exactly what to do every time I met a crisis and saved my life more than once. I was more than blessed on that day I received my transplant, that day a family said 'yes' to organ donation and that my donor had believed in organ donation. It is all a very hard route to go down though, however blessed you are - and I know for some this route is even harder. For many even transplant isn't an option for various reasons.
When you are first diagnosed with PH, it doesn't really matter what stage of PH you are in: mild, moderate, severe ... it is all very frightening. You know it is a chronic and incurable disease and it doesn't matter how well you are doing or how positively you manage things, the fear is always there about the future. You know the disease may progress, then you will need more treatments ranging from oral medication, oxygen to intravenous medication and then for some more complicated and life threatening surgeries such as Pulmonary Endarterectomy, lung transplant or heart and lung transplant. You fear a future of disability and you are afraid of dying and your family are terrified what will happen to you and them next.
British Heart Foundation Press Release