I’m Aware That I’m Rare : Catherine Falardeau (370)
The phaware® interview
In this episode, scleroderma patient, Catherine Falardeau, discusses her road to diagnosis and how a right heart catheterization, led to also being diagnosed with PAH, ILD, Raynaud’s, and Pulmonary Fibrosis. Catherine recently participated in a 108 week clinical trial for the use of TYVASO® in PAH/ILD patients. The trial lasted into Covid, and received FDA approval.
My name is Catherine Falardeau and I have had pulmonary hypertension since 2017 when I got diagnosed. I was working as a contractor here in Florida, and I started experiencing shortness of breath. It got to the point where I could barely go to the mailbox anymore. I had gone to the doctors and they noticed some spots on my face. So they gave me an ANA test to test for autoimmune diseases. In 2015, they told me I had scleroderma. I didn’t know what the heck that was. The scleroderma affects the collagen both externally as well as internally. Due to the fact that I started experiencing such shortness of breath, I went to a pulmonologist. They gave me pulmonary function tests, which I did horrible on. They found out I only had 52% lung capacity.
They sent me to a cardiologist. He did all kinds of testing. When I had my right heart catheterization in 2018, that’s when he found out that I had not only pulmonary hypertension, but also interstitial lung disease along with GERD and Raynaud’s and all the things that go along with that. At first, I was just freaked out. I didn’t know what to do.
He brought up the fact that he was conducting a clinical trial with people that had PAH as well as ILD. The first part of the trial was you didn’t know if you were going to get the actual drug or a sugar pill. After three months or so of the ending of part one of that study, I signed on for part two. Part two was you definitely were getting the drug and I could almost immediately start to feel a big difference. I wasn’t quite as tired. I wasn’t quite as short of breath. I still have coughing spells, but it’s usually right after I…