Libtard. 

Lately, Americans have been so focused on tearing the other political parties apart that it literally makes me laugh when they think they’ll defeat ISIS. Like, how do you expect to move forward as a team when you attack your fellow Americans? 

I never gave much thought to politics, and wanted to avoid it forever. I remember taking a quiz my senior year of high school so that we would be informed on what political party we identified with. I remember being one of the only kids on the extreme left side; yep, I was a liberal. I was also super confused because I was raised in a republican environment. Ya know, Texas, where everyone is supposed to shoot things all the time. I’ve always been different than my Texas environment. I was always uncomfortable in Texas because I think I was finally starting to figure out I didn’t belong. My values, and what was important to me was not to be found anywhere in Texas except in a few friends. This played a huge part in my relocation. 

Several months after I took that political party test at seventeen years old, I graduated high school and turned eighteen. A few weeks later I was diagnosed with a rare, terminal disease, and given around two years to live. I didn’t think much about it because one – I had literally just turned eighteen, and two – I thought having a disease meant sitting at home being sick…kind of like a day off from school. Until a few months later when my first medical bills started rolling in with my name on them, and I saw the stress unfold on my dads face did I realize not only was my health in trouble, but WE were in trouble. 

I swear getting diagnosed with a disease is like being handed a special form that reads, “Surprise! You didn’t sign up for this, but we’re taking everything you’ve got!” You think I’m exaggerating?! Just ONE of my life saving meds is $2,300 a month…that’s the COPAY. If I don’t find a way to send that in then they don’t ship me my miracle pills. If I don’t take my pills then I could maybe survive a year. This cost does not include my mandatory doctor appointments, tests, oxygen, other pills, speciality doctors, surgeries, and travel expenses. It didn’t occur to my eighteen year old self that medicine costs money…I thought my dad paid for that monthly when they took out of his paycheck for a thing called “insurance.” When my dad showed me what he pays monthly for our insurance, I about lost it. On top of that, we were being threatened (and still are sometimes) that I will “max out.” Ohh, you’re twenty three years old, and will die without this treatment? Too bad!! You’re too expensive for us!! That’s literally how we are treated. I am not a life. I am a dollar bill, and a number. 

Seeing as how I was eighteen when I was diagnosed, I really thought I would go to college, and pursue an education. However, with this mounting medical disaster at home, it doesn’t leave much room in the pocketbook for success. Believe you me, after hunting for scholarships, applying for financial aid, I literally gave up. I was tired of going into stupid little debts every semester. However, I have to have some type of successful career with health insurance by the time I am twenty-six. 

Let’s not forget about the uterus, people! I can’t get pregnant (it would kill me and the fetus slowly), I can’t be on birth control. Hmm. Okay. Maybe I should get my tubes tied, or everything removed?? Oh that’s right, doctors don’t just “do” surgeries on PH patients because of the risk of anthesia killing us, ontop of other risks. However, just two weeks ago my doctor told me they are working on coming up with a plan so PH patients CAN get pregnant! So maybe I shouldn’t get myself “fixed” and go through menopause at twenty three. I’m also told I can’t have an abortion because that would make be a murderous whore. 

I am a liberal. I am a democrat. Why? Because until the government stepped in on my life, I had no idea how horrible this country is set up. You cannot possibly survive under these financial conditions. I have given serious thought most times about quitting my treatment, saving my money, and living my last months on this earth happy and financially burden free; for not only me, but my father. I am twenty three years old, and I have to make decisions that people not even in their fifties make. 

  

I am a liberal, because I believe that despite any women’s reasons she deserves access to safe healthcare. 

I am a liberal because as a woman who has been sexualized – I acknowledge the war on sexism and racism and choose to FIGHT it, instead of burying my head in the sand. When your sister, mother, daughter, cousin, or friend is raped or attacked, then maybe you’ll choose differently. 

I am a liberal because I believe that your body shouldn’t be a financial burden. 

I am a liberal because I believe that you are an actual life, and people shouldn’t profit from you falling ill. I am literally a dollar sign. 

I am a liberal because I believe in loving, and accepting people. All of your hate speech will not change them. I’m tired of hearing “libtard” “liberal pussies” “damn liberals” and whatever else. Republicans use the bible to beat people in their arguments, yet they are the most hateful. Hmm. Make Jesus proud! 

I am a liberal because I appreciate this earth. Your drinking water, your mountain vacation, your fresh flowers, your eggs, animals, and the AIR your breathe will disappear. Nothing will matter when those things are contaminated. You won’t have to worry about ISIS when your planet is ruined. 

I am a liberal because I want change. I don’t want to have to choose paying to stay alive, or having an actual life! I’m a liberal because I believe in freedom; I believe in affordable healthcare, and education. Those two things right there could completely change not only my life, but MANY people’s lives.

 I’m tired of being called names. I’m tired of everyone only listening to reply rather than listening to understand. THE LEFT AND THE RIGHT WING BELONG TO THE SAME BIRD. Stop attacking other people because they are different than you. 

Libtards, really? 

-haley.

Its the Kind of Tired Sleep Can’t Fix.

Well, Its November. I’m kind of in shock because yesterday it was July. Well that’s what it felt like. Anyways, November brings not only Native American Heritage month, but Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness month as well. I guess I will be speaking my mind quite a bit on these topics. 😉

Judgmental; having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.

Each time I’ve been a tad heated this week, I’ve realized it all falls back to this main source. Judgement; my biggest pet peeve. I hate being judged for obvious reasons. Its crude, insensible, it leads to bigger problems, and it really does show the most truest quality in that person. Most of the time people get to the point of blowing it off, but I’m Haley, and I want to make a fuss.

Eleven years ago, I stumbled around a middle school gym in the worst pain of my very short life. The girls, being middle school girls, glared at me along with the gym teacher who loved her “basketball” girls. She would glare across at me as if I was refusing to keep up out of laziness, but I was literally gasping. I felt it; those uncomfortable vibes itching down my back, and into my nerves. She, along with everyone else in that hour of school were judging me. I felt fat, out-of-place, stupid, and that was the first year I’ve ever encountered suicidal thoughts. I told myself right there that I, and my body were not enough. I was eleven years old.

In high school I would stumble up stairs, and again clutch my chest to endure the worst pain my body could evoke. Girls I was attempting to keep up with would stand there, roll their eyes and say, “hurry up.” They would mock that they had to wait on Haley, “Haley’s dying” and again I was not enough. I could not comprehend why the stairs tired me, and that they freely ran up them. People didn’t understand why my hair was long, why I didn’t wear makeup, why I didn’t listen to music of this era, and really they just didn’t know me at all. They didn’t bother to understand me, they just wanted to make remarks. You see, we all think this ends in high school, but it doesn’t. I was a seventeen year old, more dead than I had ever been alive. My mind, along with my body wanted to be dead.

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At eighteen when they told me I was on death’s doorstep, I literally felt nothing. For seven years people told me, “She’s fat, lazy, its exercise-induced asthma, she’s weird, it’s just asthma, you have a chest infection…” blah blah blah. It was judgement; the literal definition. People’s doubts, critical thinking, lack of compassion, and stupidity had me almost dead at eighteen. My heart was killing itself.

I, by a miracle have made it to four years. Through surgeries, painful rehabilitation, excruciating treatments, body changes I thought I would never have to endure along with medical bills. When I make it to eight years I’ll be considered a long-term survivor. I still get glares; I try to power through dancing, something I actually love and people think I’m exaggerating when I mention that I could die. No, I actually can. My oxygen drops extremely low, and I’m in tachycardia at least once a day. I’m required to wear tubes up my nose which I try not to do because I feel as though I look stupid. I see your glares, I feel your vibes as I voice my opinons, and try to find my way through incredibly difficult emotions and self hate. I know I’m being judged as some dramatic college student, but if you laid on the surgery table awake, saw your own beating heart glowing on a screen, and endured the pain of this vital organ shutting the rest of your body down, you would think twice.

I hate judgement. Its caused death, discomfort, suicidal thoughts, actions, and it’s just not love. It’s the opposite of the religion you probably preach, and its unpleasant. I don’t care about mistakes people have made or continue to make. But is it too much to ask that we progress into the future with only love for people? Trying to understand, and comprehend them? Is that too much to ask for these days? I guess so. Thats all I have to say about that, because I’m tired; so tired of this subject.

Support Awareness, support learning about people, and support loving them as well. Thats all.

-haley.

Exit Here.

I’ve had some people contacting me over a subject that seems to scare them in this scary time of year; I am no longer PH centered. I know, its shocking to you, but it’s not to me. I think no longer just focusing on PH has given me a breath of fresh air into other subjects that have consumed my heart.

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You see, I’ve been passionately writing since I was in the fourth grade. I remember the exact day that the lesson “clicked” and this writing thing became easy. I was scoring Fours (four being the highest in Texas) while everyone was struggling to make it halfway down their little notebook pages. My thoughts have flowed onto a paper naturally, and I’ve enjoyed it. I stopped writing around sixteen. I have no idea why, but really I had nothing interesting in my life, in fact I was sleeping most of the day. After I was diagnosed, Pulmonary Hypertension gave me an angry and emotional trigger, and just like a bullet, I fired. All of my thoughts from years of silence flowed out onto this blog. I can’t believe I gained an audience, and I am forever grateful for my PH family, the conference, the wonderful thank you letters, and my award sitting at the front of my room.

My PH writing itch has mostly been scratched. There will always be more to cover as new challenges approach, but I have other things on my mind. I am an activist at heart. I don’t want to be the ugly, screaming activist, but I do believe in justice and broadcasting the truth that people mostly miss. That simple statement has a lot of you upset. Some have contacted me asking why I’m not writing, some of y’all refuse to support and voice your opinions on such, and while I respect that I can’t understand that. I cannot live and breathe PH daily because PH is a disease that does not believe in giving “breaths.” I have nothing against my disease, or my PH lovelies, I just don’t feel a desire anymore. I am currently at peace with my disease, but not other subjects that come to mind. I want this page to be something you can come to reflect on for new articles, or search old PH issues that I might have covered in the past. But lets just get one thing across about Haley Ann; I am not a people pleaser. People pleasing is one of the weakest things others can succumb themselves to. You simply cannot please everyone, so what is the point of trying? Please yourself, and do what is right.

So I hope that with all this being said, you can support the blog after the PH years that hopefully it supported you in. There are stages in a disease process, and all are different just like the patients themselves. I am merely exiting one phase, and transforming into another. Thank you (hopefully) for your understanding.

-haley.

Song of the week is “You Sent me Flying/Cherry” by the lovely Amy Winehouse.

Human Hurricanes.

My life is so full of physical limitations, but I still become that person where if you tell me I cant do it, I will. But sometimes when I find myself breathing harder, or losing consciousness (oops), I realize that maybe working my physical body is not my calling. While looking at someone who is physically appealing (those fabulous abs, and arms) it shows this discipline and strength that radiates off of them. But what about when you choose to constantly work on or workout your soul, and heart? Yea…what? A renovation, or working on your soul is probably one of the hardest things a person can do. To change themselves internally, to change everything they think they’ve ever known, or to work on something that is not tangible. It sounds insane, and most of the time you feel insane when you realize that maybe something things in this area will be, um, hard to reconsider. Understatement.

You see, for a long time I really didn’t care about people. I floated through high school on a very unhappy cloud (I have no regrets) and didn’t give two damns. I’ve always cared to an extent, but not once did I exercise a bit of patience with anyone or myself. Working with young children was a turning point in my life. I was working with tiny, and happy souls, some more than others, and they felt everything so deeply. They were brand new, empty of judgement, and they hadn’t reached this adult stage yet; they were not broken. I saw the humanity in their eyes as I felt their tiny arms wrap around my knees. Everyone was here at one point. We are still human, and despite how much we choose to cover it, we are so worth loving. Extending past my Pre-K and first grade experiences, and onto fifth grade, these tiny humans were hormonal devils. They were going to show you how insane, mouthy, experimental and defiant they pretended to be before they were ever funny, or told you how much they cared about you. Despite the fact they were leaving me for middle school, I still saw them as a version of my pre-k kiddo’s with a few bumps, and scrapes society left upon them. But the days they buried their faces into my shoulders crying, screamed my name down the hall because they were excited to see me, or felt the need to deliver me Valentine presents were worth the awful human hurricanes from time to time. But, I believe there is a hidden beauty in each person, and I so deeply want to find it, and teach them how to radiate it. Seriously though, it’s there in everyone.

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Overall, that job worked me internally. I might not have abs, but my heart has been strengthened more than I thought possible. I felt things beyond deeply, my stomach fell into itself sometimes, and you never knew when you had to step into an empty classroom to cry for a second after handling a situation that blindsided you. That job made me see the humanity in this society (sometimes the inhumanity as well) and showed me that every person is so worth loving. It taught me a lot about my disease, my life, and how much I choose to love others. People will often say, “I just don’t like that person” , “They are so difficult to deal with” and I find myself loving that person the most. Why? As I’ve heard many times “the people who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.” My response? Everyone is So Worth Loving.

Check out the beautiful company that I am beyond a fan of, So Worth Loving, and their blog post about my story. I hope they show you the worth that exists in you, and other people.

Dedicated to all my wonderful students. Even though I was the teacher, believe it or not, you taught me too.

-haley.

Instagram @haleyann92

Internal Explosives.

Life is full of so many demons. Some we encounter, and others live inside of us which sounds like an episode of American Horror Story. Its been really hard to stay focused lately, to slow down, or to do anything productive other than my full time job. Why? Because I am the literal demon in this situation.

Anxiety was never a thing I took seriously, in fact, I didn’t even know it was a diagnosis. But as I sat across from a Doctor, and described my daily routine and thoughts attached, he diagnosed me with severe long-term anxiety. What? But as a flip back through family memories and pictures, certain moments come to mind. The thought of even rain sent me into a crying fit, throwing up before performances, feeling sick whenever I had to leave my dad, and having to have someone at the house with me all the time. As we get older, its not just storms but people, certain songs, walking around the house a certain amount of times before I know I can leave it, and all of this just adds up to be little emotional triggers; triggers that launch a explosive anxiety bomb in my brain.

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Whats it like to have anxiety? Its like seeing something that bothers you, and replaying that situation over and over again in your mind, thinking about all the horrible outcomes and what could happen, and either acting on that stress and venting to someone only to annoy them, or choosing to live with that sickening feeling. Its like laying in bed awake at night because you know the rare disease you have causes blood clots, and your worst fear is to die in your sleep, and you just know that even right now one could pass through your heart or brain and kill you instantly. So, you decide to stay awake. Its like worrying about your family’s safety because they didn’t answer the phone, you think you left the coffee pot on, and you cant focus at work because you just know you will come home to a house that was burnt to the ground. Anxiety takes away my peace of mind, my will to do things, it wants to me stay at home where I’m comfortable and not have to deal with anything that could trigger anything else. Yes, thats how bad its escalated. Dealing with people that have anxiety, I could only imagine is not fun. But your actions unfortuntely play into theirs. We need you as support, and a calming ressurance, not someone who makes us feel crazy. You doing that could actually make us crazy. What exactly do we need from you?

Understanding. You may not get how our brain works, but its locked up in our body. We don’t appreciate how it works, and you definitely don’t, but we need you to be that relaxed force for just that moment.

Genuine Concern. When you tell me to calm down, you’ve just evoked the powers of an anxiety hurricane. You made me feel stupid, out of control, over-exaggerated, and you’ve just triggered every other emotion along with that too. I know you do want us to calm down, and we do too. Think that all you want, but talk to us. Why are you feeling this way? What can I do to help? Lets take a couple breaths, and talk about this. Now that makes all the difference.

Don’t make fun of it. Its a serious problem, and I wish my brain didn’t function this way, but it does. It has since day one, and making me feel stupid and crazy doesn’t help. In fact, it makes me distance myself from you, and it makes me hate me. I’d rather overdose on anxiety pills than deal with this feeling. You merely get to hear about how my brain works, you don’t actually feel the internal thoughts. Its exhausting.

So this loves, has been a huge hindering factor on my life right now. One that I’m trying to control, but as stated before, its exhausting. Its no surprise that anyone who might’ve been diagnosed with something would have anxiety. If you feel like you do, then please talk to your primary, and a therapist. We already live with a chronic fatigue, so why add to that? Free yourself.

-haley.

A Sad Little Fantasy.

A couple of years ago I saw a picture on Pinterest (are we shocked) that said, “What messes us most up in life is the picture in our head of how we think it is supposed to be.” That quote in itself about summed up about the age of fourteen through twenty for me. Despite the happiness, and hardworking front I can put on, there will always be an impending sadness that I am continuously attempting to work through.

I think a couple of years ago when I realized I could let go of some very damaging things, mentally I was free; for a little while, that is. You see, despite how they act, or what they say I know people think I’m crazy because of how ridiculous I can be. I choose to be the person that laughs the loudest, has the outrageous stories, the most ridiculous twist and turns, and I also choose to be stupidly positive sometimes. For a very long time those “stories” and “twist and turns” were nightmares, and very long nights of convincing myself not to just end things. I choose to laugh because at this point, it’s all I have left, and why not be the butt of everyone’s jokes? Why not just love people instead of yell, or get enraged? I don’t see the point anymore. I chose to toss that expected picture of life out a long time ago, and create my own.

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For time to time I focus on just reality, and it spills out onto my blog in angry protests and I have to pop a Xanax. I can read through your Facebook posts about ISIS, how downhill kids are these days, and all these wonderful people dying of the disease that I just happen to have, and I find myself in a corner of fury. I don’t find that fascinating at all. So I’ve built my own world full of writing, Nat King Cole, That 70s Show, Augustus Waters, I Dream of Jeannie, Rocco Ricardo, wonderful art, and I am happy. I know it’s an illusion. My writing is not famous, Nat King Cole is dead, no one knows what I Dream of Jeannie is anymore, and there is no Augustus Waters, only men who are weak-minded, and cats are better anyways. There will always be an impending sadness that my little haven isn’t reality; but within this fantasy I feel safe. It’s the only way I can achieve happiness these days.

I’m tired of trying to control reality because it’s just not going to happen. Are you doing that? Are you spending more time focusing on what you can’t control versus what you could be doing right? Love other people, that is something that can be done. Being that one light in a person’s life; that can be done. Focusing on what makes you happy rather than posting on what is going wrong; try it.

Life is not supposed to go any particular way, sometimes it ends before you get to finish it. Stop letting the picture mess up your creation.

-haley.

P.S. Song of the Week is still Rain Song by Led Zeppelin. I just cant get over it yet.

Hollywood is Still Hollywood, and I Am Still Sick.

Being a sick young adult in this world is not straightforward path. It’s a winding road full of surgeries, painful treatment, people who might not believe you, and even companies demanding money for saving your life and threatening to not save it anymore. With that being said, anyone who isn’t sick will not understand the sick. How could they?

The first thing I say when someone is experiencing a situation that I have never personally dealt with is, “I really don’t understand what you are going through, but I am here.” Why? Because it’s the truth. I think it’s a high form of ignorance to try to relate understanding when we really do not understand. How can we be understanding when we’ve never stepped into that world, we’ve only had a slight view of it? It’s completely different to see something, then experience it. You can watch someone chug vodka yet remain sober, but its different when you are the one chugging it too.

Lately I’ve spent some time reading very well written articles about how this is the year that social media is portraying “sick kids” and how it’s in style. Often I catch myself thinking, “no this isn’t a movie prop” when I walk around in public with my cannula up my nose. I definitely feel the anger as movies like The Fault in Our Stars rise to fame, and people become obsessed yet fail to realize that these sick kids are real, not just lovely on-screen actors. I’ve felt that ridiculous anger, believe me. These articles go so far as to say, and quote:

“But teenagers with illnesses do exist. I am one of them, and it hurts to see movies and television glamorize our suffering.”  –Lillie Lainoff at Yale University

But amongst this rage, I had a lovely realization that is much easier to deal with than that annoying anger which I have every right to feel.

When I noticed the white and black clouds of a bright blue book at Hastings, it succeeded in triggering me to read the back. I didn’t have seventeen dollars at the time (I know, ridiculous) but I ran back into the store on payday, and immediately made it mine. The minute I read about Hazel’s cannula I laughed and screamed. I was hooked, which is an understatement, just like all of America. I wasn’t enthralled because Augustus is “so cute”, or Amsterdam is romantic, but I was enthralled to read that someone could describe my feelings on paper. It was refreshing to read of an illness which you think I would be sick of; pun intended.

I can’t say for other TV shows, or movies, but I’d like to think that The Fault in Our Stars was anything but glamorous. So many people, including myself, described it as emotional death. Yes, it needed a little glamor because it was in fact a movie, and it was nice to experience butterflies for just a bit before impending death. I think what I love about John Green is not only his intelligence, but how realistic he is. His writing is real, and TFiOS is raw. John Green was a chaplain in a children’s hospital which inspired TFiOS. As John Green has stated a long these lines in an interview, “What struck me about these kids was the fact that they weren’t always smiling, they had no amazing wisdom just because they have cancer like everyone thinks, but they were just kids who happened to be sick.” Exactly. As I saw Augustus’s missing leg, Hazel’s hospital visit, her rapid breathing, a shitty author with a twisted view of sick children, and the raw yet horrifying scene of Augustus throwing up and screaming that he “hates himself” days before his untimely death was not glamorous. A lot of people actually hate TFiOS because it wasn’t perfect. But those scenes, as many tears as they provoked, and as much my heart hurt, I smiled. Those feelings were so real; those scenes were amazing. I hate myself when I have to sit down because my body is failing me, and everyone else gets to do what they want yet I am once again reminded of my own fault.

The fault in people saying “Hollywood has it wrong, and is glamorizing my illness” is that they are looking to people for understanding where understanding is not due. Stop getting mad because you are searching for understanding which is beyond unrealistic, just like this show titled, “Red Band Society.” That show may be unrealistic, which from my research it does in fact sound like a shitty portray of disease, but I think its lovely John Green wrote this real book, inspired by real kids, and it ended very real. Dont attack TFiOS. He wasn’t looking for people to understand, or glamor, he just created a lovely work of art. I personally experienced a version of that story, but I know that a lot of people who saw that did not, and they probably never will. They wanted Augustus to live, and hated Hazel’s walls that she built around herself, but I have a version of those walls, and I accepted Augustus’s death. It still sucked though.

So yes, I am aware of the anger of feeling like my oxygen is a movie prop, and the possessive thoughts of feeling like TFiOS is “all mine” and that these teen girls are clueless. But I catch myself in remembrance that I am expecting understanding where it is not due. Those kids will not understand my story, they weren’t meant to, and they can’t help it. They can only see my story, and respect it. So appreciate this art, The Fault in Our Stars, rather than bashing it. Because when they buried Augustus Waters, and Isaac couldn’t even see that because he just had his one eye he had left removed, I felt anything but glamorous. I smiled though, because I knew that I was a rare person who has cried those tears, and had those exact thoughts. I understood, I felt it was meant for me, and it was beautiful.

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-haley.

Instagram @haleyann92

Ch-Ch-Ch- Ch-Changes.

I’ve pretty much diagnosed myself with the worst case of writers block ever. I’m not feeling inspiration, a drive, or anything else currently but to instead focus on my book. I really don’t want my blog to suffer (it’s what propelled me into writing) so I am attempting to keep my head above water with all of this. With that being said, some serious changes are coming to the blog.

It’s not just about PH anymore. This topic is what started the blog on issues that everyone overlooks with a disease, from fashion to tattoo’s, doctor appointments, and what not, but now its evolved. As I continue through my daily life, I realize how much more I would like to write about other things. Education, my heritage, other issues that need the spotlight of activism, and even little things like my room and pill bottle organization. YES! It will be synergy between my serious writing, and thoughts, to little daily things that help us progress. I think that, overall, is what I need and what people will enjoy more. I hope these changes are more enjoyable to my readers, and also help me find my inspiration a little better. 😉

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With that being said, now we can focus on the book. YES! A Haley Ann book is in the making. However, it’s a young adult fiction book. I will start releasing certain quotes on posts WITH a poll, and you can vote (anonymously) if you liked it! While talking with Colleen Brunetti a couple of weeks ago who is in the process of writing her own book, and it’s already successful, I told her whats stopping me is talking about the book itself. I really don’t want to hype up the book if it’s not worth hyping up, which is why I need your help. You get to be the editor, and audience. So please take time to read, and vote!

Now to wrap up everything, song of the week is The Rain Song by Led Zeppelin because I needed a little classic rock to remind me of song good times with family. What a beautiful piece. I hope you continue to have a lovely week! The next post? Haley’s Room. Prepare thyself.

-haley.

Too Much Pressure.

Hello August! I feel like I’ve made it over a crazy couple months of non-stop on-the-go Haley, and now things are slowing down. More writing, more calm, and more happiness. 🙂

I finally had a two month PH checkup, in which everything is ok except for a high heart rate out of no where, and I’m being referred to a new specialist that is closer rather than going to Houston. Also, I met a new primary doctor to handle all other issues who blew me away with not only his looks (hehe), but him thanking me for choosing him, and taking almost an hour examining me from head to toe to establish me as a new patient. He was very precise, and already knew Pulmonary Hypertension inside-out, and was quite interested that I had it. A PH patient’s whole world is full of pressure. The word hypertension literally means high pressure, high pressure in the lungs, high pressure in the heart, and I also found out that the pressure in my eyes is even high. When my new primary said, “I think we need to check your kidney’s for high pressure” I through my hands in the air with the response, “if there is anything that could ever have a pressure in my body it is high.” He laughed, but I was not as amused.

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You see, with all this “pressure” existing within my body, it makes it extremely hard to deal with outside pressure from other unnecessary things and people. Someone said to me to other day, or more yelled, “I know you’re done” and that struck an angry chord. I walk around everyday breathing twice as much as you, with twice the pain, and other everyday issues (like almost passing out from just bending over) and I’m just tired. Why? Because I have a disease that just so happens to have a side effect of chronic fatigue. When everything in my body is built up to functioning on a high level with outside demands, my body sure does reflect “done.” Emotionally, and really, I’m trying not to be done, but my lungs really want to fold themselves in half. Sometimes people really do not comprehend the realities of this disease…but your lungs and heart are a big part of why you are able to read this. When they don’t work right, despite how fine you may look, you really aren’t. People think I’m lazy, people think I exaggerate, but one of my PH friends who is my age (and shares my name) just received a double lung and heart transplant. While being prepped in the hospital she looked damn fine, because it’s an invisible disease. Appearances are deceiving.

Overall, you as a patient, or even just a caregiver, or person will have a lot of pressure throughout life. When its unnecessary, get rid of it, and embrace what truly matters. I’d rather my heart be overjoyed than overworked.

Song of this week! Houdini by Foster the People. Its fun, and perfect right now. Enjoy this week which is the start of a new month!

-haley.

Four Years.

I was only fifteen years old while watching my freshman English teacher scribble inside of a John Lennon book that she decided to give to me while repeating, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” She said this often, and as fascinated as I was with the quote, I had no grasp of the concept. I mean, doesn’t every fifteen year old know exactly what they are doing with their life? I did. Mrs. Hepler had spent that year critiquing short stories I wrote in private, and we continually bonded over the Beatles, writing, and feminism. She saw something I guess, and felt the need to repeatedly say that quote to me. Its been seven years since I put that book on my shelf, and since I’ve sat in a desk in Mrs. Hepler’s class.

seventeen2Two weeks pre-diagnosis.

You see, my life was all planned out at one point. I was graduated, eighteen, had a fabulous relationship, and even though I was walking into a hospital at five in the morning well aware of what was about to happen…I still thought I was in full control. I remember the nurse having me sign “death papers” in case anything happened. That sting of reality hit hard because I had been eighteen maybe two weeks. I mean, werent my parents supposed to be signing these? I recall the same nurse taking literally eight tries to start my IV, and feeling the frustration of my family standing around telling me their goodbyes before I was wheeled off. But I had to remind myself that this was surgery, I would be asleep soon, and it was all no big deal. The masked female telling me that I had to be awake took another hack into my control theory, and soon I watched it crumble when they injected me, and slowed my breathing. I felt a giant tube squeeze its way through my throat, and watched a cord weave its way into my beating heart on a glowing screen. Doctors chatted around me in professional gibberish that I was too tired to comprehend, and soon I was being yelled at because I was losing consciousness, and bleeding out. Then with blinding lights flipped on, and nothing but silence filling this tiled blue room, I heard my doctor say, “Its your lungs.” My control was shattered.

At first I was told I was physically dying, and then I was just mad. Later, I felt like mentally I was dying, and wanted to actually physically die along with my broken heart, and my life was a collage of unidentifiable direction, misleading information, and trying to fight for control. I’ve been PHighting for a long time. I’ve taken pills, had more tubes shoved into arteries, scans of my organs, and oxygen crammed up my nose. Four years has gone by quick especially when you are told you only have two years left to live. At times I really thought I would rather take my own life, than to continue to fight this tiring disease.

The blue prints in which I thought I had planned my life out perfectly went through the shredder a long time ago. At one point, you just have to sit back and think, “what the hell happened?” But this weird, and unpredictable road has been painful, but as I’ve said before, there is an odd beauty in pain. I saw this John Lennon book collecting dust on my shelf the other day, opened it and read a little message from Mrs. Hepler. I smiled, and soon everything fell exactly into place. I’m still me…but my life really did happen despite my other plans.

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Four years strong.

This is dedicated to Tricia Hepler, who without, I probably would have a ridiculous amount of comma’s on this page. In fact, I bet I still do. What a fantastic person, writer, and general artist you are. Thank you.

-haley.