I unexpectedly entered this world three months premature, only weighing 1 pound, 7 ounces. With a collapsed lung, I lived at a Denver hospital until I was 2 years old. In fact, The Rocky Mountain News crowned me as the “Miracle Baby of Colorado”. Because of the ongoing health complications that I faced, doctors approached my parents with a life-changing suggestion; move from Denver to the San Francisco Bay Area.
The thin, cold Colorado air, partnered with the high elevation was expected to negatively affect my quality of life if we stayed put, however, to give me a chance at a normal life, doctors recommended moving to the sunny and warm Bay Area. By 1986, my family packed up and left our home and support system in order to give me a new start.
All throughout my life, doctors would tell me that I would never live to see many major milestones, but I knew that I was going to prove them wrong. I spent most of my childhood and adolescent years attached to an oxygen tank, but by the time I was 15 years old, I was stable enough to enjoy a 10-year gap of living life without one.
By 2010, I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension (PH). PH is a rare lung disorder in which the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs become narrowed, making it difficult for blood to flow through the vessels. As a result, the blood pressure in these arteries – called pulmonary arteries – rises far above normal levels. At the time of my diagnosis, I was told that I have two to five years to live, but once again, I knew I was going to prove them wrong with the love and support of my family.