I am a sociologist by training and passion, and have my doctorate in sociology. I love teaching and feel that I am called to do that. I have followed that calling by teaching sociology for Portland Community College. My primary interests are social justice, environment, and corporatization, and a lot of my writing focuses where these issues overlap. So Rowan’s Heart is going to be a departure from my usual genre.
I was born in Kansas City, and now call Oregon my home. I love dogs and we have three. I live happily with my partner of 14 years Kelly. We consider ourselves a pack.
In January 2010 my life changed forever. I was struck down by what was thought were pulmonary emboli. This took me out of teaching for the rest of the year. My heart and lungs continued to fail, with each day leaving me weaker than the last until July. Then a new pulmonologist, Maxine Dexter, went over my case with a fine-toothed comb and determined that I actually had pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH or PH). This is a rare condition that increases the pressures in the lungs making them unable to function properly. This puts tremendous strain on the heart, and has seriously damaged mine. PH is a progressive and irreversible disease. My doctor started the long process of getting me evaluated for a heart-lung transplant, as this is the only cure for PH. Stanford Hospital has almost approved me and hopefully I will soon be on the transplant list.
I have been tremendously lucky to have insurance and a job that has allowed me to continue to work part time. I have also been blessed to have my partner Kelly and a very supportive family. I know all too well that without these blessings, it is highly likely that I would be dead. I also know that even with these blessings I will still need to do significant fundraising to be able to sustain myself during and after transplant. In fact, that fundraising is a critical to me overcoming one of the barriers between where I am and getting listed.
Because of the soul shaking challenges and seemingly endless barriers I have faced, I am creating Rowan’s Heart.
Rowan’s Heart shares a journey that covers terrain that challenges me on every level. In the process I am learning things about myself, about the health care system, what catastrophic illness means, and the soul deep value of friends, family, and community. It is my hope that sharing my story will help others who are on this journey and those who help us along the way. I also hope to be able to provide some information and resources for others facing similar challenges.
I welcome others with PH - or who are share this journey in some way - to find a home here. I hope that I can share information and resources that may be useful, but more importantly sharing those struggles which I face and I know that millions of others face. This is about life, facing radical life changes, and facing the real possibility of death. I welcome others to share your experiences, insights and resources.
Welcome to Rowan's Heart!