Patient Voices #BreathlessNotVoiceless

Kathryn Graham

“Patients are often left to cope on their own with the mental and emotional side”

Kathryn Graham from Hertfordshire had a heart and double lung transplant after being diagnosed with PH in 2010.

“For me, as a patient who has been through the diagnosis of a terminal illness and survived it by eventually undergoing a life-threatening heart and double lung transplant, mental and emotional wellbeing is of paramount importance. It has been key to keeping myself physically strong and in optimum health over many years now and during the highs and lows of this transplant journey, which brings with it a whole new set of health challenges.

When you’re first facing a difficult diagnosis and ongoing health problems, it can be extremely daunting and no-one can really tell you how to cope mentally and emotionally, as we’re all different in how we cope anyway, and when there are life threatening issues at stake, then the focus by the medical staff is on keeping you alive and tackling the physical issues.

Often your mind and your emotions are left playing ‘catch up’ later after all the physical stuff has been dealt with. Patients are often left to cope on their own with the mental and emotional side of things and it can have quite an impact on their progress to be left unsupported.

I count myself as being extremely lucky, as from the very outset of my illness, I had very solid emotional support from my close family and friends. Soon after diagnosis of Pulmonary Hypertension, I came across the PHA UK charity, which helped me find whole network of support and develop friendships with other PH sufferers.

Those friendships meant I wasn’t alone any more in what I was dealing with and going through. I also had support from my hospital and started going to the Papworth PH Matters Support Group, where again I made more friends and found a place where we could all help each other.”

Kathryn blogs about her journey with PH at www.kathryngrahamwriter.blogspot.co.uk