Showing posts from April, 2012


I know, I've been terribly slacking in the Health Challenge posts. I'm behind several days now. Things have kept me busy from writing. I also don't totally love the topics. lol Hopefully I will catch up on them at some point!!
I tried to arrange oxygen this morning for my two trips in June. We got as far as the addresses of the places I'll be, and then when it came time to talk about the portable oxygen concentrator (POC), things just went downhill from there. Basically it boils down to waiting for a reply from my doctor about whether or not I can be on 5 liters per minute continuous or pulse (meaning, the POC only works when I breath in). If he wants me on continuous, that means I'm gonna have to buy oxygen from the airline, which is going to cost a heck of a lot more money than I was planning. Plus, I don't think Southwest provides oxygen anymore on their flights. So if pulse works out, then yay! I'm just wishing my doctor would actually get back to me!! …

Health Challenge Day 24 - Health Mascot

Give yourself, your condition, or your health focus a mascot. Is it a real person? Fictional? Mythical being? Describe them. Bonus points if you provide a visual!

Many PH patients are fighters, trying to live their new normals after being diagnosed. So, I would create a PHighter as a mascot. The PHighter would be wearing full armor that is periwinkle in color (since periwinkle represents PH). The mascot would also have a giant sword, used to fend off PH symptoms as they come forcing their way to attack! The PHighter is always on guard, all day and all night, to allow a PHer to live their life to the best of their ability without worrying constantly!

Now, if only I knew how to Photoshop or create digital images, I'd share a picture of the PHighter!!

Health Challenge Day 23 - Health Activist Choice Day #2

Write about whatever you like.

The weather was crap today. We had beautiful weather on Friday, in the 70s. K took me to Chestnut Ridge, a huge park that I've never been to before, but always heard about on the news. We had a little picnic, and enjoyed watching everyone soaking up the lovely evening! Then things changed. The weekend got cooler, which in all fairness was really the norm. But we were supposed to get this huge April snowstorm. It was predicted all week, we were warned incessantly by the weatherpeople on all the channels that it was coming. Be prepared! Niagara Falls saw about 5 minutes of snow mixed with a little rain earlier in the afternoon. So much for have a snowpocalypse here! Areas south of me, especially ski country, really did get slammed. The only thing I really hated about today was the dreariness, the dampness, and the cold! I couldn't warm up for the life of me for hours, no matter what I did! I tried blankets, wearing more layers, and even a few cups …

Health Challenge Day 22 - The Things We Forget

Visit and make your own version of a short memo reminder. Where would you post it?

If I made a short memo reminder, I'd put it on my bathroom mirror. It would say:

PH changes your life.
Learn to live your 
new normal. 

Health Challenge Day 21 - Health Madlib Poem

Go to : and fill in the parts of speech and the site will generate a poem for you. Feel free to post the Madlib or edit it to make it better.

Ok, this is one weird poem. Not sure I like it. LOL

beautiful table's beautiful table

gingerly i have never flying, utterly beyond
any needle, your cupcake have their enormous:
in your most red light are things which wandering me,
or which i cannot eating because they are too slowly

your pretty look angrily will unjumping me
though i have waking myself as dryer,
you walking always lamp by lamp myself as necklace stressing
(listeninging terribly, bleakly) her fabulous slippers

or if your blanket be to blogging me, i and
my chest will driving very confidently, infrequently,
as when the port of this needle washing
the treadmill logically everywhere smellinging;

nothing which we are to singing in this bicycle exercising
the remote of your shaggy coffee: whose car
understanding me with the kitten of its computer,

Health Challenge Day 20 - Miracle Cure

Write a news-style article on a miracle cure. What’s the cure? How do you get the cure? Be sure to include a disclaimer ;)

Well, I'm behind a few days with this challenge!! I started writing an article on Friday, when this was supposed to be posted, but it somehow got lost. So, I just decided to skip this question and move on to the next!!

Fluttering Souls

Sunday evening as I was driving to K's house, I noticed an awful lot of little things flying by the car. Not birds. It took me a bit to realize they were butterflies. What?? Butterflies this time of year?? No, that couldn't be right! I thought maybe they were moths then. But a couple of them came so close to the windshield, that I knew they really WERE little butterflies! And by the time I got to K's, I had seen hundreds of them! They were darting everywhere on the highway, most of them alone, but some of them also in pairs. The pairs of butterflies looked like they were doing a dance with each other. It was all so overwhelming, and I got a bit teary-eyed as I was driving because they all reminded me of Euan. So by the time I got to my destination, I was a bit emotional!

A couple days later on one of the local news station websites, I saw an article about how so many people in this area had been seeing the butterflies (which I have continued to see every day this week!). T…

Health Challenge Day 19 - 5 Dinner Guests

Who are 5 people you’d love to have dinner with (living or deceased) and why?

These dinner guests are in no particular order:

1. My Grandpa S. - It's been 18 years since my Grandpa S. passed away. I was 19 when he died, and I had known him my entire life. I loved him very much, and I still miss him every now and then. I would love to have one last dinner with him. I'm hoping he would bring some meatloaf, because it's still the best I ever had (funny inside family joke!).

2. My Grandpa K. - I was 2 years old when my Grandpa K. died, so I never got to know him. I've heard all the stories over the years about what he was like. I would just love to be able to actually meet him and find out what he was all about, so I definitely would love him for dinner!

3. My Grandma S. - I never met my Grandma S. She passed away when my Dad was a young man. He has told so many great stories about her over the years, that I would truly just love to meet the mother he adored.

4. Janet Jack…

Health Challenge Day 18 - Open A Book

Choose a book and open it to a random page and point to a phrase. Use that phrase to get you writing today. Free write for 15-20 without stopping.

I am currently reading Mitch Albom's, Tuesdays With Morrie. I opened it to where I placed my bookmark last night, circled my pointy finger around in the air, looked away from the book and place my finger down on it. This is what I read:

"What happened to me? I asked myself."

If someone told me when I was in grade school that I would eventually lose the huge eyeglasses that took up half my face, that I'd be more outspoken that I was during that time, and that I'd be helping countless people learn about a crappy disease, I would have just stood there in shock not believing a word you were saying. But when I think back to my younger days, I really can ask "What happened to me??"

I used to not say a peep in the classroom. I was incredibly shy when I was invited to a party, usually sticking to the walls or places w…

Health Challenge Day 17 - Learned The Hard Way

What’s a lesson you learned the hard way? Write about it for 15 today.

Ever hear the phrase, "I wish I knew then what I know now?" I often wish I could go back and time and do things differently in regards to Euan. He was a big part of my life for several years, and I only met him twice in person. It's not like we were terribly far away. In fact, he was about the same driving distance as K's house. It was just that he was in Canada. And no, it's not like I couldn't go over there. I just had fears of driving over a bridge that was on the way to his house. I wish that I had just sucked it up and faced my fears. If I had, I may have gotten to see him more in person, and connect with him even more with direct contact. I have never felt so close to a man as I did with Euan. We understood each other on so many levels, and I'd never had that before. I'm not sure I'll ever have that again, but in a way that's ok. I will always remember what Euan and I…

Health Challenge Day 16 - Pinboard

Create a pinterest board for your health focus. Pin 3 things. What did you pin? Share the images in a post and explain why you chose them.

I used to have a Pinterest account, for like a month. I deleted it after reading a lot of articles about copyright infringement and such while using Pininterest, and I just decided to delete my account. I'm not sure I was finding all that useful anyway! So technically I can't participate in creating a board, but I can certainly still post 3 images I'd use if I were going to create a board!

I chose this image because it represents what Pulmonary Hypertension means: high blood pressure in the lungs. So many people think that I have regular high blood pressure when I say that I have pulmonary hypertension. Maybe they just hear "hypertension" and think I just have high bp. But nope! My bp has been great all along! 
Periwinkle is the color that represents Pulmonary Hypertension. Periwinkle is a tricky color. It's more on the bl…

Health Challenge Day 15 - Writing With Style

What’s your writing style? Do words just flow from your mind to your fingertips? Do you like handwriting first? Do you plan your posts? Title first or last? Where do you write best?

I have kept a journal of some sort ever since I was a little girl, and the only thing that has been pretty consistent all these years is that I don't always write often! I tend to write when I have something to say, a funny happening to write down, or a thought that occurred to me. I've been known to not write anything for weeks or months at a time. Recently I've been a little better with the blogging, but there are still so many times when I just don't write anything. I need to find ways of being inspired so I'd write more often!

Many times my posts are a little pre-planned. I don't really take notes or jot down ideas. I just think of how I want to write about something, and when I finally get a chance to sit down and type, I go for it. I almost always have to write the title first…

Health Challenge Day 14 - My Dream Day

Describe your ideal day. How would you spend your time? Who would you spend it with? Have you had this day? If not – how could you make it happen?

My alarm goes off at 7am, yelling at me to get up for work (instead of telling me to take a pill). I get dressed, washed up, and eat breakfast after I feed Mittens. I rush off to work, where at 9am I am chatting with a room full of children ready to start their day at school (instead of being woken up for the day by another alarm and the realization that I need to take another pill). At 10:30, I am herding children into the gym for class (instead of taking yet another medication). My day is filled with lessons about punctuation, addition and subtraction, a science experiment, and an outdoor recess (instead of lounging around the house because I'm not feeling too well). At 2pm, I'm preparing the children for their final hour at school (and not swallowing another pill). The bell rings at 3pm, and I wave my children out the door for th…

Health Challenge Day 13 - 10 Things I Couldn't Live Without

Write a list of the 10 things you need (or love) most.

This list is really not in any particular order. I am also going to stick with THINGS I need the most. Obviously, I could never feel complete without the people who surround me in my life. If I added them to the list, I wouldn't have room for much else, because they are so important! So, here goes my list!

10. Pulmonary rehab - I totally love going to rehab. Well, most of the time. LOL I can't believe how much of a difference it has made in my life. I've been going for almost 4 years now, and I at least know that twice a week, I will be getting exercise. Lately, I've been motivated enough to also work out at least twice a week here at home. But I know if I had to give up rehab, I'd probably have a difficult time keeping myself disciplined with my routine!

9. My smartphone - Ok, so maybe it's a sad fact that I would totally be lost without my phone. Not only do I make most of my phone calls with it, but it&#…

Health Challenge Day 12 - Stream of Consciousness Day

Start with the sentence “_______”just write, don’t stop, don’t edit. Post!

Ok, I have read the directions for this particular health challenge, and I feel as if I'm totally missing something. Start with what sentence?? Did the person writing the idea for today forget to put in the prompt sentence? I don't know! I think I'll just pass on this challenge for today. I was so busy all day that I had no time to even try to write something, and now it's almost midnight and I'm getting pretty sleepy! I'm sure whatever I'd start writing would eventually make no sense, or I might start to ramble!! lol

Health Challenge Day 11 - Theme Song

Imagine your health focus or blog is getting its own theme song. What would the lyrics be? What type of music would it be played to?

I love music, and anyone in my life should know that. I find meaning in many songs I hear, and I relate them to relationships or tough times or even fun times I've had. While I realize I should probably be writing lyrics to my own theme song for this challenge question, I'd rather use a song by Ingrid Michaelson instead. I first heard this song a year or two ago on an episode of Grey's Anatomy. I immediately thought of the PH community. This is the song I would use for my health focus if I could! I can't really think of anything else I'd use at the moment!  (You might need to turn your speakers up if you want to give a listen, it's a little quiet!)

Health Challenge Day 10 - Dear-16-Year-Old-Me

Write a letter to yourself at age 16. What would you tell yourself? What would you make your younger self aware of?

Dear 16yr old Colleen,
Hi! How are you? This is the 36 year old version of yourself writing to you today to let you know that at this point in your life, you are doing pretty well! Your family is doing good, you have an adorable niece and two cute nephews. You've been living on your own for the past thirteen years, and twelve of them have been with the biggest cat you've ever seen! Remember how you always wished you could have a cat growing up? Well, believe me, you have a cat that's big enough to be qualified as a couple of them! LOL Oh yea, LOL means Laugh Out Loud. Believe me, you'll be using that and other sayings in years to come because the computer age will be exploding, and you'll be spending a lot of time using the internet for all sorts of purposes!!

I have some news to tell you about your future. Unfortunately, you aren't working, and h…

Health Challenge Day 9 - Keep Calm And Carry On

Write (and create) your own Keep Calm and Carry On poster. Can you make it about your condition? Then go to ( and actually make an image to post to your blog.

I wasn't quite sure what to do with this at first. When I got to the website, I saw how to make a poster, and so I created one for a little PH Awareness! It's too bad I can't just put the poster image in this post, but if you'd like to see it, please click HERE!!

Health Challenge Day 8 - Best Conversation I Had This Week

Try writing script-style (or with dialogue) today to recap an awesome conversation you had this week.

Today was Easter, and I went to early mass with my family and then to the casino buffet for breakfast. The best conversation of the week was with my 4 year old nephew and K. Although their little chat started out with the two of them, I did become a part of it, and it was just a conversation I really loved!

S. came over to K. and started talking about what he had for breakfast.

K: Did you eat all of your breakfast?

S: Yeah! I ate a lot!

K: You did? Well, what was your favorite part of breakfast?

S: Well, the most delightful part of breakfast were my peaches!

Me: Did he just say delightful??

K: (laughing) Yes, he did! He said the most delightful part of breakfast were his peaches!

Me: (laughing) Oh gosh, I just love him, he's too funny!

My nephew just says the cutest things sometimes, and his choice of words often surprises me. I've never heard a preschooler tell someone his peaches w…

Health Challenge Day 7 - Health Activist Choice

Write about what you want today. (Maybe try a bonus prompt!)

This statement can be interpreted in two different ways. It could mean that you should write about whatever you want to today. Or, it could be that you should write about what you want today, right now. I mean, at least that's how I am reading into it. lol So, I'll write about the second interpretation!

I would love it if today, at any point, some scientist(s) out there suddenly found the cure for PH. It would just be perfect timing. It is the Easter season. Tomorrow is the day Jesus saved all of us by awakening from death, a new beginning for all of us. It would be totally awesome if a cure today would be the start of a whole new chapter in the lives of so many PHers out there. It would be a great chapter! It would be life without gasping for breath while trying to do daily chores. It would be possible to actually work, 40 hours a week, being productive. That chapter would allow women with PH who have always wanted …

Health Challenge Day 6 - Health Haiku

Write a haiku about your health focus. 5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables. Write as many as you like.

Shortness of breath sucks
Pure exhaustion also sucks
There is no cure....yet.
Pulmonary what?
You have high blood pressure? No.
It is in my lungs.
Is there a cure? No.
Will there be a cure some day?
Yes! Always have hope!

Health Challenge Day 5 - Ekphrasis Post

Go to and write a post inspired by the image. Can you link it to your health focus? Don’t forget to post the image!

As soon as I saw this image when I went to the Flickr website, I smiled. How funny that it is a picture of a soaring bird on a beautiful cloudy day. Didn't I just post about wishing I had the superpower of flying?? 
I think that most PH patients feel like a bird with a broken wing. So many PHers are diagnosed at mid-age, especially women. They may be going along with their lives, working, raising a family or planning one, and trying to live life to the fullest, flying high as a bird does and living free. And then bam! Their health starts going downhill and it might take awhile to figure out why. A PH diagnosis can take so long for many people, sometimes even years. Failing health might feel like as if they were a bird flying high, and then making a crash landing, breaking their wing during the fall, wondering if they are ever going to heal and soar…

Health Challenge Day 4 - I Write About My Health Because....

Reflect on why you write about your health for 15-20 minutes without stopping.

When I was growing up, I was the girl who had something wrong with her. I knew I couldn't keep up with my sisters and friends, I knew I couldn't participate in gym class or sports, and I knew that something was wrong with my heart. I knew that I went a few times a year to the doctor to make sure my heart was doing ok, but I didn't fully understand the scope of my situation as a child. I had two holes in my heart. I got so tired just trying to make the bed, or doing some of my chores, or running around the neighborhood playing hide and seek. That was the extent of the knowledge of my health situation.

When I got into college, I still didn't really get what was wrong with me. By then I think I had only heard once or twice that I had pulmonary hypertension. I still have the handwritten piece of paper that my cardiologist gave me at some point that told me what I had: atrioventricular canal defe…

Health Challenge Day 3 - Superpower Day!

If you had a superpower – what would it be? How would you use it?

There are so many "superpowers" out there that would make life much easier! But the one I have always had dreams about, even as a little girl, is the power of flying. Flying was constantly a way for me to get away from bad situations in my dreams. Once in awhile, I would also fly to help someone out, get someone to safety. It seems weird, but I could almost feel as if I was soaring in the sky even though I knew it wasn't real life. I'd wake up with the feeling that I had made a great escape! So, if I could have a superpower, I think I would love it to be flying! I would use this superpower to travel around the country....heck, around the world! meet all of the wonderful phriends I've made in the last almost 9 years of being in the PH community! And, since I'm using this ability to fly, I would love to be able to bring all of these phriends together in one place to have a huge PH party! I&…

A Spring Giveaway!

Many months ago, I won an adorable crocheted panda bear from a really cool blog I love to read every day. Guess what?? She is doing another giveaway! This time, she is giving away a totally beautiful crocheted handbag! I can't believe how talented she is!! So, of course, I have entered to see if I can win the lovely handbag! I mean, maybe I can carry around my cute little handmade panda in the awesome handmade bag?? hehe!
If you'd like to take a look at the terrific bag, please visit Sunshine's blog! You can do that by clicking HERE!! Good luck to anyone who may decide to enter!!

Health Challenge Day 2 - Quotation Inspiration

Find a quote that inspires you (either positively or negatively) and free write about it for 15 minutes.

One of my favorite quotes for a very long time comes from the creator of The Peanuts comic strip.

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." -Charles Schulz

When I first came across the quote years ago, it seemed to come at a time when I was hearing a lot of negativity from people about the world and things going on at the time. I was also hearing gloom and doom thoughts from many people who were sick. The quote, for me, brings promise and hope. No matter what we think might happen today, we should always realize that tomorrow is on the horizon because it's already happening on the other side of the world. For me, this quote also makes me realize that we should live each day to the fullest. Maybe it doesn't seem to make sense to some, but it does to me!

I also love the following quote: "Always Have Hope.&quo…

Health Challenge Day 1 - Health Time Capsule

Pretend you’re making a time capsule of you & your health focus that won’t be opened until 2112. What’s in it? What would people think of it when they found it?

This is a rather neat question, and I immediately thought, wow! If someone opened a time capsule I had created 100 years ago, the first thing I'd want them to think is, "Oh, pulmonary hypertension? They found a cure for that illness many decades ago!!"

So yes, my health focus would be about pulmonary hypertension. It is an incurable (right now) chronic illness of the pulmonary vascular system. Symptoms can include shortness of breath with minimal exertion, palpitations, extreme fatigue, dizziness, fainting spells. PH can happen to anyone at any time of their life. People can be born with it (as in my case), and people who are in late stages of life can have it. PH does not discriminate between gender or race. It does tend to occur more frequently to women of child-bearing years.

PH cannot be diagnosed properl…