Hi. I’m Nicole Coutinho and I was diagnosed with Primary Pulmonary Hypertension in 2006. At age 17 turning 18, you wouldn’t expect your life to take such a drastic turn, but it did.
At the time I was experiencing shortness of breath and excruciating chest pain. I told my mom and the next day we went to go see our family GP, and for me, my 1st guardian Angel- Dr Leisher. Dr Leisher discovered that I had a heart murmur. Having no knowledge of what a heart murmur was at the time, we completely freaked out! So, we were sent to my 2nd guardian Angel- Prof. P Sareli at Mulbarton Hospital. That was the day our lives did a total 180.
After multiple tests, x-rays and scans Dr Sareli discovered that the right side of my heart was double the normal size and I would have three months to live if I didn’t get treatment.
They say things happen for a reason and I am a firm believer of that. We met the right doctors at the right time which led us to getting the right treatment for me.
After many fundraisers and many tears. We travelled to the US, where I met my 3rd guardian angel- Dr Sager. (A South African that is now practicing in Santa Barbara). We tried multiple treatments, from oral to oxygen therapies etc. Lucky for me, the oral treatment worked beautifully and that was the treatment that I lived on for 6 years. (Tracleer (Bosentan), Adalat 240XL & Warfarin) Thankfully, my symptoms improved over time and I am currently only taking Adalat XL60 twice a day. It’s been 13 years and I’m not giving up yet!
PH completely changed my life, but it gives a person perspective. Your world can turn upside down in a second but don’t give up hope. I count my blessings every day and I know I am, still here for a greater purpose. Don’t give up hope and keep fighting the PHight!