Patient Voices #BreathlessNotVoiceless

Selina Walker

“I remember feeling so frustrated that no one was listening to me”

 Selina Walker is 30 and lives in Saltburn-by-the-Sea in Cleveland.

 “I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2011, after having a stroke at home while I was making tea for my children. I had symptoms of breathlessness right through school and when I was pregnant with my second son I could barely walk because of the breathlessness, and had bad palpitations.

I was always told it was anxiety and I should try to be less stressed. During the years going to and from the doctor’s surgery I had seen all of the GPs that worked there, probably around nine of them. I remember feeling so frustrated that no one was listening to me. The stroke led to tests that showed I had holes in my heart and pulmonary hypertension (PH).

Having PH has slowed me physically and I am more than aware of what I can and can’t do. The most difficult part of having a rare disease is that nobody has a clue what it is and I find it really difficult to describe how breathlessness affects me too.

I wish people would be more patient and understanding and not judge. I look like a normal 30-year-old woman with two kids. You can’t see what’s going on inside but I know all too well. If I park in a disabled bay there is a reason. If I use a disabled toilet there is a reason. I should not feel the need to have to defend that and be shouted and screamed at in public places in front of my family, friends and the general public.

I am a patient at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and the treatment has made me feel more alive. I am living the best life I can.”