How I’m beating pulmonary hypertension

Author, second from right with father Florante Ibanez, sister Mikaela, mother Rose Ibanez,husband Hoanvinh  and sons Cleto and Liam. Contributed photo.

Author, second from right with father Florante Ibanez, sister Mikaela, mother Rose Ibanez,husband Hoanvinh and sons Cleto and Liam. Contributed photo.

By Gabriela Ibanez Nguyenphuoc

In beginning of 2012, I thought it was just a flu.

I couldn’t walk far and my heart raced. My youngest Liam was only a few months old and I thought it was exhaustion for taking care of a newborn.

After a few visits to the doctor they finally decided to check my heart with an echo-cardiogram in April 2012. The next day I was called to the go to ER.

It was the scariest experience of my life, I didn’t know what was wrong and ran many test.

Finally they said ‘we think you have Pulmonary Hypertension’, but cannot be fully be sure until after a right heart cauterization.

At the same time I had bronchitis which was also bad for my lungs. The ER doctor sent me home with cold remedies. This did not get better. I returned to the hospital the next day because my symptoms were getting worse.

I asked to be seen immediately for a right heart cauterization and treated with antibiotics for my bronchitis.

Finally the doctors had made arrangements for me to be transferred and cared for by a specialist. Since pulmonary hypertension is so rare, doctors do not always know what the best way to treat this condition is or how deadly it could be.

(Editor’s note: According to medical journals pulmonary hypertension 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. This abnormally high pressure strains the right ventricle of the heart, causing it to expand in size. Overworked and enlarged, the right ventricle gradually becomes weaker and loses its ability to pump enough blood to the lungs. This could lead to the development of right heart failure).

After the diagnosis I was treated with one type of oral medication which helped for a few months. Later the symptoms came back. I was put on an additional oral medication to treat my condition and a year later my symptoms got worse.

Finally afterwards I was put on a third medication which is inhaled which keeps me stable. I am currently on 3 types of medication to help my disease. Luckily I have been able to respond to the medication. Some people don’t and have to be on more invasive treatments or even transplants.

Last year in December I was hospitalized again for another condition. Because of pulmonary hypertension I cannot be under surgery without many precautions. I finally will be able to be treated for my other condition this December if all goes well.

Please help me to PHight for a cure, for not only myself, but for others with this condition and their caretakers.

Without my family I would not be able to be where I am today. My parents take me to many doctor appointments and to ER visits when needed.

That way my husband could take care of our 2 small children and work to help me heal and stay at home. My sister occasionally helps me with my kids when others can’t. Everyone in my family has sacrificed for me.

Last year with the support of my family and friends we were able to raise over $3,000 to go to the Long Beach Walk.

That same year we were virtual walkers and supported the walk on the East Coast as we educated people on the Disney cruise about Pulmonary Hypertension.

This year we will be there to Walk so please join us, donate, or support us in any way you can to get the word out about this cause.

Thank you.

Editor’s note: Gabriela Ibanez Nguyenphuoc is one of the daughters of long time community leaders and authors Florante Ibanez and Rose Estepa Ibanez. Gabriela has been active throughout her school years.

In high school, she founded the Filipino Club and organized trips with local colleges to encourage upper education.

In college, she was part of the founding charter class of Alpha Phi Gamma at San Diego State University. She, then, transferred to University of California – Irvine (UCI) to pursue her Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian American Studies. There, she became a house assistant for the Asian American Theme House.

In 2002, she graduated from UCI with degrees in both Asian American Studies and in Social Science. In 2003, she worked for Toyota Motor Sales until she was too sick to work.

In 2007, she married Hoanvinh Nguyenphuoc, and they have two children, Cleto BaoQuy, 6 years old, and Liam BaoMinh, 4 years old. In 2012, she was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension and has been fighting it ever since.

DONATE before 11/10/15 (if you have not done so already) to Gabriela’s PHightersTeam —;
PARTICIPATE in Gabriela’s Support Group’s — O2 Breathe Walk in Long Beach – November 14, 2015 – 9:00 AM Registration – 10:00 AM Walk Begins – 11:00 AM Picnic & Closing Ceremony – Fee/Donation/Registration: on Gabriela’s PHighters Team

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