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Alison’s story

Alison, 55, lives in Cheshire. She has had Eisenmenger syndrome and pulmonary hypertension for all of her life.

“I was at my annual check-up at the SPVDU last year when Carol came to see me as part of her rounds. When she said she was a physio I didn’t understand why that was relevant to me, as for over 40 years I’d been told you shouldn’t exercise if you have PH or a heart condition.

She explained how things have changed, and that was a big surprise to me. Coincidentally, I had just started doing a little walking at around the same time – but only because my train got me to work too early, so I had time to pass each day.

Carol taught me how I could track my steps via my phone, which helped to set targets and once shielding ended I started walking more around where I live. One day I even managed eight miles. I would never have done that if it wasn’t for that conversation with Carol.

I never used to walk up gradients, but I know now that it’s ok to get a little puffed. And I always used to drive everywhere, because I thought I shouldn’t walk, but that has all changed now.

When I did my last walk test at hospital, I managed 60m further – which might not seem far for some people, but it is for me.

If Carol hadn’t spoken to me that day, I would still be thinking I couldn’t exercise, as it’s what I’d been told all my life.”