Monday, December 17, 2012

Hermalinda Leads Her Family and Friends in Christmas Parade

Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Story
Submitted by: Hermalinda Avila, patient

My name is Hermalinda Avila and I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2011 by a cardiologist who told me there was "no hope." My family pleaded with him for a referral to a lung specialist but he refused. It was only after a sleep apnea physician suggested I see a PH specialist in Fresno, (Dr. Vijay Balasubramanian), that I finally found someone who offered me hope when I had all but given up.

Dr. Balasubramanian made it clear that it would be a 50/50 effort - he would do his part in treating me, but I had to do my part, too, if I expected him to help me. Just then I saw that little ray of hope. I began Remodulin therapy on Dec. 1, 2011, and of course the side effects and my recovery are another story in itself. It is now December 2012, a year and a half after the cardiologist said "take her home and make her comfortable because she only has months to live."

Well, on December 1, 2012, it was my proud honor to participate in the Lemoore, Calif., Christmas parade representing PAH awareness. My family and many of my friends proudly marched in the parade representing PAH awareness. The thing is, they didn’t carry a picture of me as a memorial - I led the march as a surviving PAH patient. I am the "Zebra."

I have great gratitude and respect for Dr. Bala for his honesty and empowering hope that he gave me that November afternoon when my outlook was hopeless. Due to the lack of education on this condition, many doctors lack empathy for their patients who want to grasp at the last bit of hope there is to survive. I am a PH patient and I’m still striving to survive and educate myself to be able to help others who may have given up. I will always have PAH, but now I have a fighting chance to live a longer and more productive life, and so do all PAH patients. The side effects of the treatments can be very harsh, but at the end there is that little ray of hope. We must not lose focus, because once the side effects ease off there’s only looking forward to tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Hermalinda, for sharing your inspiring story!