Wausau Promise Walk coordinator, Denise Lang, is a two-time preeclampsia survivor and long-time Foundation volunteer who will be coordinating her home town walk on Saturday, June 1 and has almost met her walk’s fundraising goal. Ten years ago, she was coasting along in her first pregnancy, unaware that things were about to take a nosedive. Over 2-3 days, mild unease led to vomiting, headache, and an intense pain in her side. Her medical team informed her that these symptoms were not normal, and that she would be having her baby that weekend, as she had developed something called “preeclampsia.” It was something she had briefly read about in a book, but something that never occurred to her that could actually happen to her.
Denise shares, “I don’t recall a great deal of my hospital stay before delivery due to my condition and the mag-induced haze. I remember remaining in bed on my left side with my blood pressure cuff squeezing every 15 minutes, the blinds being closed and everyone speaking softly.” At the time, she didn’t know or comprehend the full extent of what was happening. Her daughter was born weighing only 4 lbs., and Denise was only able to give her a quick kiss before she was whisked away to the NICU, where she would stay for 18 days. Thankfully, Denise began to recover quickly after the birth and was able to go home 3 days later.
In the weeks following, Denise started doing a bit of research into what happened and came across the description of “HELLP syndrome,” which matched her symptoms and labs. When she asked about it at her follow-up appointment, her Ob/Gyn confirmed it, saying, “I don’t think you truly understand just how sick you were.” It was another few months before she really realized how close a call it had been.
Denise found the Preeclampsia Foundation in fall of 2003 and has been involved ever since. She met fellow women who had similar experiences and no longer felt so alone, noting, “There is something comforting about being with another person who shares the same fears, questions, and experiences.” In 2005, Denise became pregnant with her second child and was closely monitored by her OB. She developed gestational hypertension at 32 weeks and was able to make it to 37 weeks before delivering her a healthy baby boy. She credits her physician with getting her through the pregnancy along with the support she received from the Preeclampsia Foundation and its members.
“Without having others provide positive support and encouragement, I’m not sure how I would have made it through,” Denise said.
Denise has been involved with the walks since their inception and has coordinated the Wausau walk for a few years now. The Wausau Promise Walk will be at John Muir Middle School and offer fun for the whole family with snacks, kids’ activities, and a raffle & silent auction. To register and for more information, visit www.promisewalk.org/wausau.