By Alyce Collins
A FATAL heart condition that left this musician with the devastating news she had potentially DAYS to live made this survivor STRONGER, now five-years into her “borrowed time”.
Singer and songwriter, Chloe Temtchine (35), from New York, USA, is inspiring audiences not only with her sensational voice, but with her bravery after being told her undiagnosed heart condition meant she had little time to live. Now five years on Chloe – with the oxygen tank she must take with her everywhere or risk death – is unstoppable.
Chloe, whose mother is half Australian and American, and whose father is French, often visited a Harlem Baptist church as a child where she would listen to gospel choirs, who ignited her dream of singing.
However, in 2013 Chloe’s world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, after years of being misdiagnosed and brushed aside. Due to how long Chloe had gone untreated for, doctors insisted she had very little time left to live.
Doctors were wary not to give Chloe’s family a specific time frame, however they were led to believe that she may not leave the hospital, inferring she had just days left of her young life.
Despite the medical professionals warning that her pulmonary hypertension would see the better of her one day soon, Chloe continues to perform on stage and live her life to her maximum potential.
Due to pulmonary hypertension, Chloe has to take an oxygen tank everywhere she goes. She also has a paralysed vocal cord as a result of the underlying cause of her pulmonary hypertension. Not one to spoil a moment of fun, she has affectionately named her oxygen tank Steve Martin, so as well as occasionally playing guitar or piano on stage, Chloe also humorously plays the drums on ‘Steve Martin’.
“When I was finally diagnosed, my pulmonary pressures were so high that there was nothing that could be done,” Chloe said.
“Very soon after being diagnosed, I made a decision that I was going to do everything in my power to help my body heal.
“I feel that this diagnosis is teaching me the most valuable lessons I could ever learn.
“It’s a constant reminder of how lucky I am to be alive, it gives me an incredible amount of perspective, and I appreciate the people in my life in a way I never did before.
“It’s a reminder that being alive is the actual gift, anything else is a bonus.”
Pulmonary pressure below 25mmHg is considered ordinary and pressures of 50mmHg are considered severe. Unfortunately, Chloe’s pressure was at a terrifying 180mmHg.
Since her diagnosis, Chloe has altered her lifestyle to try and boost her health, so that she can continue pursuing her singing career and living her life.
“I believe that all diseases are really one and the same, and that if you feed your body and mind the right ingredients, then your body has no choice but to heal,” she added.
“I eat a very low-fat, organic, plant-based diet free of salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
“I’m on my treadmill for at least twenty minutes a day, and then I lift weights.
“I make sure to keep my mindset in the right place and I choose not to listen when I’m being told that my condition will worsen. I write my music and I perform – when I’m creating I can live in a world in which pulmonary hypertension doesn’t exist.”
If a patient with pulmonary hypertension is diagnosed at an early enough stage, they can be prescribed certain medication to help extend their life. However, without medication, life expectancy is expected to be just short of three years.
Unfortunately, Chloe has had to go through several heart procedures, including numerous right-heart catheterisations and two procedures to repair her paralysed vocal cord which entailed putting an implant behind the voice box to produce sound.
“I have faith, but I remind myself that it’s my job to do the actual hard work. I visualise myself healed no matter how difficult things may be,” said Chloe.
“I remind myself that I can accomplish all my dreams despite how challenging my circumstances may be and I remind myself to be patient when I’m not seeing changes take place fast enough.
“I was supposed to be dead five years ago so who knows what will happen tomorrow. I believe that there’s always hope.
“I remind myself on a daily basis that I can get better no matter what anyone tells me because our bodies are made to heal.”
As a progressive disease, pulmonary hypertension is supposed to get worse the older someone gets, but Chloe doesn’t let this fact stop her or define her actions.