Living with Pulmonary Hypertension, by Tess Dunn

Tess Dunn

Tess Dunn, 23, has pulmonary hypertension. This is her story.


So, 2008 here’s the deal

I got diagnosed with a heart condition, how do I feel?

To tell my story where do I begin,

Except to say I’m feeling rather grim.


I’m 17 lying in a hospital bed,

I’ve had loads of scans and tests, all the things we dread.

I then got told I might not live ‘til I’m 18,

I’m hoping all this a just a dream!

All this is due to a hole in the heart,

This makes me terrified for a start.


This had led to an illness called PH,

Not knowing what this is, I was in a state.

I then get told that there is no cure,

So I’m always hoping for one, that’s for sure.


PH is a lung and heart condition unknown to all,

I try to keep strong, but sometimes I fall.

The questions I ask myself, like, am I dying?

Then pull myself together, look at the obstacles I’m so far defying!


It’s hard to live when it tries to hold me back,

But I’m determined to keep going on the right track.

Chest pain and breathlessness is what I deal with,

But I’m thankful for each day that I get to live.


I have to take lots of tablets each day,

And keep infections, coughs and germs at bay.

The pains in my body are sometimes so bad,

That yes I do cry and get so sad.


Yes life can be tough, but I get by,

A double transplant one day I’ll have to try.

But til that day when my health gets worse,

I get to lead this wonderful life first.


Trade knows me as a musician,

Playing piano, cello, trumpet, despite my condition.

My music has got me through such tough times,

Just being able to play, reading line after line.


With hope and determination, I went to Southampton Uni,

And after getting my degree I knew nothing could stop me!

I came home and opened my own music business,

It worked well with all my hospital visits.


I then got a job offer in the Middle East,

The docs allowed me to travel, which was a feat!

I’m now off to Cambridge to study a Masters Degree,

To get a qualification in Music Therapy.


This is where I use music to help those who are ill,

It’s worked for me, so I’m hoping for them it will.

As for fitness, I can’t go for a jog or a run,

So I pole dance instead, which is ever such fun!


My parents and close friends will always be there,

With love and support because I know they care.

Strong and positive I always will be,

Fighting a battle you will never see.


Finally I want to thank those at Royal Brompton Hospital,

As without their team I wouldn’t have got through it all!

So don’t judge me, try and walk in my shoes,

There really is nothing to lose.


Just see how far you can really get,

‘Cause you’ll realise how strong this girl is that you’ve just met!

So there’s my PH story all in a rhyme,

Thanks all for reading and taking the time.


The poems published in this section are creative writing by Heart Matters readers. They should not be taken as medical advice.

It isn’t always easy to express your emotions, but writing poetry can be a way of putting your feelings down on paper which many people find helpful. If you’d like your poem about any aspect of heart disease or caring for someone to appear in this section, email it to [email protected].

More useful information