Meet the college teenager who has to carry the $ 15,000 life-saving medication 24 hours a day

Fighter: Lauren Spencer, 18, of Lodi, California, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension when she was 16 years old.

Throughout the 24 hours a day, Lauren Spencer injects her with medication that saves lives directly in her heart.

The 18-year-old from Lodi, California, has a condition known as Pulmonary Hypertension, a form of high blood pressure that affects the arteries of the lungs and heart.

The 24-hour treatment is designed to reduce your lung pressure and prolong your life, which means that the teenager has to keep a mobile pump at all times, which is kept in a bag, to ensure that the experimental drug Remodulin is delivered continuously to her. heart.

Fighter: Lauren Spencer, 18, of Lodi, California, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension when she was 16 years old.

Fighter: Lauren Spencer, 18, of Lodi, California, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension when she was 16 years old.

Important: it must be connected to your medication 24 hours a day so that it can be pumped directly into your lung system

Important: it must be connected to your medication 24 hours a day so that it can be pumped directly into your lung system

Important: it must be connected to your medication 24 hours a day so that it can be pumped directly into your lung system

Intricate: the drug is inserted through a tube in Lauren's body and makes sleeping and showering more difficult

Intricate: the drug is inserted through a tube in Lauren's body and makes sleeping and showering more difficult

Intricate: the drug is inserted through a tube in Lauren's body and makes sleeping and showering more difficult

Friend: Lauren recently got a service dog that will be able to detect if his bomb is dislodged from his body

Friend: Lauren recently got a service dog that will be able to detect if his bomb is dislodged from his body

Friend: Lauren recently got a service dog that will be able to detect if his bomb is dislodged from his body

Lauren told Barcroft TV: "My pump is like a part of my body. It is an extension of myself. It helps me live, so it's with me wherever I go, it's like my friend.

"I take him everywhere with me." I mean, you can not forget your heart. You can not leave your heart at home, but possibly you can.

Remedullary costs $ 15,000 per bottle, and Lauren uses four bottles a month, which, combined with many other medications, makes her overall treatment astonishingly expensive.

For now, the cost is covered by the Child Care Services of California, but in three years, when Lauren turns 21, that coverage will stop, which will give Lauren and her family a tight time frame to find a way alternative to pay.

& # 39; There is no cure. They can only make us feel better, "Lauren said." Some people even become immune to the drug as time goes by, so this drug does not work forever.

& # 39; I think there is hope for a cure. I believe that if doctors receive the resources, a cure will occur.

"I guess I'm not afraid because I feel there is going to be a moment when I should be afraid and now is not the time."

Mom, Tracy, said: & # 39; People are dying. The children are dying. [Pulmonary Hypertension research] it is a very narrow field to which people do not pay much attention, although it is increasing.

"It takes hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars to develop these drugs and run clinical trials, that has to happen now if we're going to save someone's life."

Scary: the teenager, who was recently accepted into the nursing program at San Francisco State University, had a horrible experience while she was sleeping, where her tube came out

Scary: the teenager, who was recently accepted into the nursing program at San Francisco State University, had a horrible experience while she was sleeping, where her tube came out

Scary: the teenager, who was recently accepted into the nursing program at San Francisco State University, had a horrible experience while she was sleeping, where her tube came out

Support: Lauren, who is photographed with her sister TJ, was able to replace the tube. But that encouraged the family to get a service dog.

Support: Lauren, who is photographed with her sister TJ, was able to replace the tube. But that encouraged the family to get a service dog.

Support: Lauren, who is photographed with her sister TJ, was able to replace the tube. But that encouraged the family to get a service dog.

Heartbreaking: Lauren's father died of pulmonary hypertension when he was 36 years old and she was only nine years old.

Heartbreaking: Lauren's father died of pulmonary hypertension when he was 36 years old and she was only nine years old.

Heartbreaking: Lauren's father died of pulmonary hypertension when he was 36 years old and she was only nine years old.

Caro: The medication that Lauren has to use every day costs $ 15,000 and is only covered by insurance until she is 21 years old.

Complicated: it is imperative that Lauren's tubes remain connected otherwise it could cause problems in both your heart and your lungs

Complicated: it is imperative that Lauren's tubes remain connected otherwise it could cause problems in both your heart and your lungs

Complicated: it is imperative that Lauren's tubes remain connected otherwise it could cause problems in both your heart and your lungs

Despite these overwhelming odds, Lauren has remained positive and was recently accepted into the nursing program at San Francisco State University, where she will learn to help others with her condition when it begins this fall.

For now, Remodulin is helping to keep Lauren's lung pressure at normal levels. The pressure at the time of diagnosis was 67, and after a year in Remodulin, it was reduced to 26, a change that saved lives.

But the pump and tube should always remain dry, which stops Lauren swimming, and also means that she must take important precautions before, during and after the shower, a process that means that a shower can take an hour and a half.

The tube must also stay connected to Lauren's heart so that the medication maintains its effect, something that is not always easy to control.

Lauren explained: "In case my tube breaks, the only thing I can really do is press it, try to stop the bleeding and get to the hospital as fast as I can."

She remembered a frightening incident when the worst happened: "I was almost asleep, and I had to force myself to be awake because I turned around and felt that my shirt was wet.

Sad: the doctors said that Lauren and her other siblings would not receive her father's illness, but that she was diagnosed with PH at the age of 16.

Sad: the doctors said that Lauren and her other siblings would not receive her father's illness, but that she was diagnosed with PH at the age of 16.

Sad: the doctors said that Lauren and her other siblings would not receive her father's illness, but that she was diagnosed with PH at the age of 16.

Support system: Lauren and her mother, Tracey, remain positive despite setbacks and hope for a cure for HP in the coming years

Support system: Lauren and her mother, Tracey, remain positive despite setbacks and hope for a cure for HP in the coming years

Support system: Lauren and her mother, Tracey, remain positive despite setbacks and hope for a cure for HP in the coming years

Do not forget: Lauren's mother, in the photo with her late husband, said that people need to realize how dangerous the PH is and why it is necessary that there be more research to develop a cure

Do not forget: Lauren's mother, in the photo with her late husband, said that people need to realize how dangerous the PH is and why it is necessary that there be more research to develop a cure

Do not forget: Lauren's mother, in the photo with her late husband, said that people need to realize how dangerous the PH is and why it is necessary that there be more research to develop a cure

Must-have: Currently, Lauren's medications are provided by California Childcare Services, but that will end in three years.

Must-have: Currently, Lauren's medications are provided by California Childcare Services, but that will end in three years.

Must-have: Currently, Lauren's medications are provided by California Childcare Services, but that will end in three years.

Clues: Lauren, photographed with her sister, was first diagnosed with PH after her mother noticed that she showed signs of extreme fatigue and shortness of breath

Clues: Lauren, photographed with her sister, was first diagnosed with PH after her mother noticed that she showed signs of extreme fatigue and shortness of breath

Clues: Lauren, photographed with her sister, was first diagnosed with PH after her mother noticed that she showed signs of extreme fatigue and shortness of breath

"I was completely black, so I was really confused, at first I thought they were fluids from my pump." I ran to my light switch, turned on the light, looked in the mirror and saw that there was blood on my shirt.

Fortunately, Lauren was able to contact her doctors, who advised her to introduce fluid through the tube to remove the air and reconnect it.

"I thought that by the time I realized it was blood and not water, there was already air in the tube and it's already in my artery," Lauren continued.

"There is a fear that if this happens again, it could be worse." Fatal. & # 39;

Lauren's father, Joe, died of pulmonary hypertension at the age of 36, when Lauren was only nine years old.

Lauren was diagnosed with the fatal condition at age 16, although doctors initially told Tracy that it was impossible for her husband to transmit the PH gene to their children.

"I asked Joe's doctors extensively if this could be genetic," Tracy explained. "The answer was no, emphatically no."

After Lauren began to show signs of fatigue and shortness of breath in her younger years, Tracy began to worry.

Linda: Despite the illness, Lauren has done everything possible to live her life to the fullest with her hip medication all the time.

Linda: Despite the illness, Lauren has done everything possible to live her life to the fullest with her hip medication all the time.

Linda: Despite the illness, Lauren has done everything possible to live her life to the fullest with her hip medication all the time.

Positive: the hope is that Lauren's medication will prolong her life until she receives a lung transplant

Positive: the hope is that Lauren's medication will prolong her life until she receives a lung transplant

Positive: the hope is that Lauren's medication will prolong her life until she receives a lung transplant

Focused: "My perspective has changed since I was diagnosed," Lauren said. & # 39; Do not let me inhibit about doing what I want and love doing

Focused: "My perspective has changed since I was diagnosed," Lauren said. & # 39; Do not let me inhibit about doing what I want and love doing

Focused: "My perspective has changed since I was diagnosed," Lauren said. & # 39; Do not let me inhibit about doing what I want and love doing

Heart pain: Lauren's sister, TJ, (pictured) was also recently diagnosed with PH

Heart pain: Lauren's sister, TJ, (pictured) was also recently diagnosed with PH

Heart pain: Lauren's sister, TJ, (pictured) was also recently diagnosed with PH

Repeated efforts to obtain a diagnosis of her daughter's symptoms finally gave the devastating news that Lauren had the same status as her father, and had a life expectancy of between one and five years.

The hope is that Remodulin will prolong Lauren's life before she needs a lung transplant, or a more effective treatment is discovered.

"I hope that in your life, we will find a cure." added Tracey, who has worked tirelessly to support her daughter since the diagnosis.

For now, Lauren is training a service dog, Ruby, who will eventually be able to detect if Lauren's tube comes off and alert her and the others.

"My perspective has changed since I was diagnosed," Lauren said. "It does not leave me inhibited about doing what I want and I love doing".

"Many people push things into the future like" oh I will eventually ", but for me, if I want to learn to do something, now is the time to do it.

"I think everyone should live that way, not just the people who can have a shorter life, because then we would have wonderful lives, without fear of what people think of us."

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