“In June of 2016 my entire life was turned upside down and changed by three words: Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.”- Jessica Kiser

June 24, 2020

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Before 2016 my life was almost completely normal. I hiked, hung out with friends, went to events and drank, exercised without much trouble– the most I had to worry about was what to make for dinner or what TV show to binge watch next. In June of 2016 my entire life was turned upside down and changed by three words: Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. 

I had just come back from a work trip to New Orleans. I ate all of the salty, delicious foods I could, drank socially after work hours with colleagues and walked up and down Bourbon Street every night. After I got home was a different story. I started to notice I was having trouble walking from my car to the front door and I couldn’t lay down flat without my heart pounding in my stomach and throat. What was going on? I had gained some weight but had attributed it to stress and stopping a low carb diet months before. Wrong. 

I soon found out after a few emergency room trips and doctor appointments that I was in advanced heart failure. My heart and lungs had fluid buildup around them, my oxygen was dropping every time I moved, and every breath I took was putting me closer to death.

Spending 8 days in the hospital was rough. They took off over 20lbs of fluid from my body through diuretics and restricting my sodium intake, as well as my fluid intake. I was put through test after test to find out why at 26 my oxygen levels were dropping and I had gone into heart failure. After about 6 days in the hospital, I finally had a pulmonologist come in and explain to me what Pulmonary Hypertension was, and what my new normal would look like. My underlying vascular disorder that ran in my family caused my PH. Something that hadn’t bothered me much aside from frequent nosebleeds was now causing me all of these problems. I left with new drugs to try, a diet to follow and instructions to monitor my blood pressure and oxygen frequently.

Thankfully 4 years later I am thriving and relatively healthy. I still constantly check my oxygen with cumbersome devices. Having peace of mind to check my oxygen whenever I want to and continuously is a dream I have. I can’t wait to finally be able to with Oxiwear!