I, like so many other young adults, spent the majority of my high school time impatiently waiting for the "real world." I was tired of high school, tired of being a so-called kid, and my body was physically tired. But, two weeks after my eighteenth birthday the real world came crashing in brutally. I was diagnosed with stage four Pulmonary Hypertension, and was given two years to live. Ahhh, the real world was SO awesome so far.
When diagnosed with something that is terminal, people automatically think you have all this wisdom, you're at peace with your life, and you're somewhat a courageous fighter. We see it in cancer books, on Grey's Anatomy, and other ridiculous interpretations of illness. I spent at least the first year of my diagnosis trying to evaluate my emotions, my lashing out at anyone, and my random crying sessions after doctor appointments. What in the hell was wrong with me? Simple; the picture in my head of what illness is supposed to be, and what it actually is was in the process of tearing me in half.
People really do underestimate and ignore the mental side to a disease. Yes, the problem is in my lungs, which works its way to my heart (causing it to work harder) but it eventually leaves an impression into my actions, thoughts, feelings, and emotions. After a while, you feel like a disease. I would be treating my body for a while, then decide I didn't want to live, stop treatment, and was battling suicide. What was the point of fighting something that would claim a life I didn't even want to keep?
After a broken relationship, and removing certain people from my life, I was surrounded by my family, and best friends only. They were probably just as tired as me because they had spent the past couple of years watching me carelessly throw myself into deaths arms. When I looked into their eyes all I could see was a high school memory of one of my friends in his beautiful casket being lowered into the ground because he had fallen victim to suicide. I remember his parents and friends standing around, and hardly anyone could make eye contact with anyone else because of the perfusing sadness throughout their face. The idea of my family, and friends standing around my casket was unbearable. There in that moment I took my first step into my own sort of mental rehabilitation, and acceptance of Pulmonary Hypertension.
A little over four years later, I'm writing this with oxygen tubes up my nose. Its not the most ideal picture I had in my mind, but at this point I wouldn't, and literally could not have it any other way. Having Pulmonary Hypertension has been a form of art called Mind Over Matter. Mentally, I wrapped my head around this disease and I felt like my body soon followed. My art now has a purpose, my writing has given me a purpose, and I've met countless supporters, people, and had amazing opportunities. Why? Because of my crappy lungs. I really am thankful for them sometimes. It really takes reminding yourself that you have a disease, you are not the disease. On this email sent by Serena, she states, "Statistics are not kind or hopeful when it comes to this disease." Then she asked, "What have you been able to do that you were told you cant?" Well my statistics were given to me in the words of, "You may not live another two years" and that my loves is what I've been able to do; live.