It had been over a year and some months since my diagnosis of Antisynthetase Syndrome. I was still not using my oxygen consistently as I should, working full-time in pediatrics, and still trying to maintain a social life with my friends. I guess you can say that I was still in denial, or thought that I could manage my condition living the way that I was. Days were becoming a lot more tough, and some days were just too hard to get out of bed. I was severely more fatigue during these days, and my breathing was worse. Walking up and down my stairs in my house was a huge task and made it hard for me to perform my daily activities, such as taking my yorkie Lexi out to potty.
It was harder to see patients. I would have to sit countless minutes, when I made it to the room to just catch my breath. The patients were becoming more concerned and finally recognizing that I was truly sick. But my ego and pride, would never allow me to admit the obvious. My ankles and lower legs were swelling significantly and I was unable to complete daily tasks such as: carrying my laundry basket, cleaning the tub and shower, and even taking a shower was a challenge. Some days I was about 70% functional, and sometimes I was only 10%, and could barely move.
One day at work I was having the hardest time breathing. My legs were swollen and heavy all the way to my calves. I was in serious distress. I felt so fatigued and tired and thought I would pass out at any moment. I was coughing excessively and just felt sick. I left work and went to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa. My oxygen saturation was in the low 70’s and my heart rate was high in the 120’s at rest. They did all the labs and tests along with me notifying them about my condition, because I was sure this was a contributing factor. I had a Cardiologist that decided to do a Right Heart Cath and thank the heavens he did, because it was determined that I had Pulmonary Hypertension. All the inflammation in my lungs started to become scarred tissue. Which then would cause the arteries in the lungs to become constricted, with decreased blood flow. This made it difficult for the blood to travel through the lungs and do its main task there, which is, exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. Which then made supplying the remaining of the body with oxygenated blood harder as well. This was the beginning of the moment, when I knew, that it was time for a change.