Years after being diagnosed with PH, Selina Walker from Cleveland has a changed outlook on life. This is her inspiring story.

“I was diagnosed at 26 after having a stroke at home while I was making tea for my children in December 2011, when my sons were aged seven and three. I had never heard of PH, but I put my trust in the team at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle to help me live the most normal, positive life possible.

In a bizarre way, I feel grateful that I have been given a chance to have PH as it has completely changed my outlook on life. I have changed things I wasn’t happy with. I have got out of bad relationships, got out of bad housing, and broken ties with toxic friends and family members.

Selina Walker

I am happier and don’t plod on through life anymore. If there is something I want, or something I want to do, I will do it. If there is somewhere I want to go, or something I want to see, I will do it. I may have to take a longer route around but I will get there in the end.

Having PH has made me realise that it is up to me to make me happy and I have joy in experiencing the little things. I feel a lot more grateful about everything and everything I do have. I think sometimes the nice things can be lost in thinking of the bad things in life.

I know a lot of people suffer depression when diagnosed with a life-changing illness such as PH. I also did for a short while but I began to work on increasing my self-esteem and self-confidence and I now feel happier than ever. 

Sometimes I think that things are put in your path so you can prove to yourself that you are stronger than you think. In a way, I am glad that I have PH as I have a brand new view on my life and what I really want from it. I don’t have time to feel down. I get up every morning, put make-up on, dress confidently and spray on some perfume. These little things make me feel ready to take on the day. Having PH and its symptoms is just normality now. I have learned to live with them and I know that I will never be able to run in the kids’ sports day races and that I will never be able to go rambling around the Lake District, but I am ok with that. I have hobbies that I enjoy such as reading, writing and learning new things. If I ever really want to go somewhere or do something I research if I can make any adaptations to what I would like to do, to make it possible.

My advice to other people diagnosed with PH is to live for the day. If there is something you want to do, don’t let the condition get in the way. In this day and age, there is usually a way that things can be adapted so that everyone is capable of doing them. 

Don’t think that your life is over and dwell on the negative sides. We all get tired and frustrated with limitations from time to time, but don’t let that be your main focus. Cut yourself some slack. If you are tired then rest, there is no shame in it. We are just helping our bodies repair so we can carry on being our awesome selves.

If there is help available, take it. Especially for things that you know tire you out the most. For me, I know I would never be able to look after my garden the way I would like, so I have a wonderful friend that cuts my lawn and tidies up the hedge in the summer.

Take inspiration from other patients who are living happy, fulfilling lives. There is much more to you as a person than your PH. I am still a mum, daughter, sister and friend and I live my life being as happy and as kind as I can be.”