PH Warriors | Lifestyle

She takes a deep breath

In. Out.

“You can do it”

She whispers as she fights to take another breath.

Her heart beats-

“It’s too erratic,” they say

“Too weak”

Her lips and skin

have both turned blue.

For others,

It’s a sign of death

But

For her,

It’s a sign of life.

Her chest burns,

So much pain

So much pressure.

She tugs at her

Oxygen machine.

One step at a time.

One breath at a time.

She can feel

the stares.

No one cares

That she feels

Uncomfortable.

Her legs are swollen,

Her eyes are tired,

Her body hurts.

But at the end of it all

She’s still breathing

Still fighting.

_________________
Pulmonary Hypertension

I recently had the chance to chat with Shaakira Bodhania, founder of PH Kids South Africa. Not only has she dealt with the heart-wrenching pain of losing a son to this horrible disease, Shaakira also has 2 other kids diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension.


What is it?

Pulmonary Hypertension is a rare disease in which the pulmonary arteries which carry blood from the heart to the lung become narrowed. This causes the heart to weaken and loose its ability to pump blood to the lungs.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of Pulmonary Hypertension include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizzy spells, pressure in the chest, a blue tint to the lips, swelling in the limbs and a racing heartbeat.

The symptoms of PH are often confused with other diseases and too often, a diagnosis is delayed causing the disease to worsen. According to Shaakira, parents should pay huge attention and immediately seek medical help if symptoms appear.

What makes PH so bad?

Unlike most other diseases, Pulmonary Hypertension has no cure. There are treatments available which can make life easier, but ultimately, patients with Pulmonary Hypertension are ticking time bombs. Patients living with PH cannot live the same life as everyone else, since they are always in need of oxygen and cannot exert themselves in any sports or activities.

More about PH Kids SA:

PH Kids SA was started by Shaakira when she realised just how little people knew about Pulmonary Hypertension. “Most people think it’s nothing, or they don’t take it seriously,” says Shaakira. “They assume that because you look okay on the outside, you’re fine on the inside”.

PH Kids SA also raises funds for kids battling Pulmonary Hypertension who are in need of support. Emotional support is offered to parents and families. Funds are raised to purchase portable oxygen tanks since they can cost up to R80 000.

How do you help?

November is PH awareness month and there are some things each of you can do to show your support.

Paint your lips blue in solidarity.

Spread the word and get people talking about PH.

Contribute towards PH Kids SA and help someone battling PH.

If you’d like to contact PH Kids SA, you can follow them on Instagram: @ph_kids_sa

Xoxo
Raeesa

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