Note Left On Teen’s Windshield Nearly Breaks Her Heart After Reading It
It's easy to make assumptions about strangers but in doing so, we often overlook the fact that we don't know what they're really going through. Some people might look completely fine and "normal" on the outside, but could be going through something heavy on the inside. This is precisely what happened to one English teen who appeared to live a normal life. But when a stranger anonymously confronted her, she wasn't going to let her voice go unheard.
A Regular Night Out
Yasmin Swift of Kent, England was enjoying a night out with a friend, as many 19-year-olds are inclined to do. She returned home from her local pub carefree and happy that she was able to enjoy nights like that.
But Yasmin's happiness came to a sudden halt the following morning. As she approached her car, she noticed something stuck on the windshield. Fearing a parking ticket, Yasmin braced herself. But it turned out to be much worse.
The Threatening Note
Tucked beneath the windshield wiper was a handwritten note that read, "You are parked illegally. You are not disabled. I will inform authorities accordingly." Yasmin was completely flabbergasted by the anonymous note.
Indeed, she was parked in a handicap space but she knew that she wasn't doing so illegally. She couldn't believe someone went out of their way to do such a thing, especially since they were unaware of Yasmin's unique situation.
Ignorant And Cowardly
Yasmin couldn't believe that someone had the audacity to do such a thing. She took to her Facebook account to vent and call the culprit out saying, "People are so ignorant and it's a cowardly thing to do."
Not only was she upset that the person who left the note did so by making an assumption, but they also did it anonymously. Had they spoken her personally, Yasmin would've been happy to have a conversation with them.
A Seemingly Normal Girl
It's easy to see why the note-leaver made an assumption about her. On the outside, Yasmin looked like your average, healthy teenage girl and for most of her life, she was. After graduating from Homewood School in Tenterden, she started working at a hair salon.
Between work and finding her way as a young adult, Yasmin lived an active life. But suddenly, things took a turn for the worse. The first thing she noticed was how much her legs were swelling.
After Yasmin's legs began swelling, her stomach, eyes, and back started to become puffy and sore. She assumed it was due to allergies and took some antihistamines with the hopes that the swelling would go down.
Unfortunately, it wasn't mere allergies that were causing these problems. In fact, Yasmin's condition started to get worse. One day, she started feeling pain so bad that she had to leave work in the middle of the day.
Things Were Getting Worse
Yasmin went to a doctor, who told her she was suffering from exhaustion. The doctor suggested that Yasmin take some time to recover, so she took leave from work and stayed home. But even then, her condition continued to deteriorate.
Before this started happening, Yasmin would stay as active as possible, even going to the gym five times a week. But suddenly, she couldn't even cross a room or climb a flight of stairs without losing her breath.
She Didn't Have A Diagnosis
"My symptoms developed gradually, but in the last few months leading up to my diagnosis it was just getting worse and worse. My mum said she was scared she would lose me," Yasmin told Kent Live.
Yasmin even started to lose her appetite and despite not working out, she began losing weight at a rapid pace. The worst part about everything at this point was not knowing what was going on.
In The Emergency Room
With no diagnosis and a worsening condition, Yasmin found herself in and out of the hospital emergency room. She was there so often, that the E.R. staff even started getting to know Yasmin's family and friends on a first-name basis.
Yasmin went through a multitude of medical tests but nothing gave her answers. "In all, it took me a good year to get a diagnosis. I had so many tests it's difficult to count," Yasmin recalled.
She Finally Had An Answer
After being in and out of the hospital for nearly a year, the doctors finally had a real diagnosis. Yasmin was afflicted with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. IPAH is a lung disorder that causes high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries.
The condition is labeled as "idiopathic" because the cause of this it is unknown. "It's a life limiting illness. It gives me shortness of breath, tiredness, some people black out and faint," she said.
Learning To Live With It
Now that Yasmin finally had answers, it was something that would become a part of her for the rest of her life. "The diagnosis was a relief at first but now it's just difficult to live with," Yasmin said.
Your pulmonary arteries carry blood from the right side of your heart to your lungs but for those with IPAH the artery is stiffened and narrow, which causes your heart to try harder than it needs to.
Yasmin was relieved to know that she wasn't in pain for nothing. But soon, the reality of the diagnosis started to hit hard. She was prescribed a long list of medications that she would now have to take every day.
The meds not only relieved her symptoms but also helped to treat her condition. Yasmin was going to have to make some major lifestyle changes in order to adapt to her new situation.
She Had To Get A Pump
"Now I'm on medication it's more manageable, I've actually had a pump fitted now which I have to take my medication through, it's permanently attached to me," she told Kent Live. Yasmin has to take her medication through an intravenous drip that is permanently attached to her chest.
The pump helps the medication circulate throughout her body better, but now she has to carry it with her everywhere she goes. She can't even go swimming now.
Time Left To Live
Research suggests that the life expectancy of someone with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension is just 17 years. Yasmin, who was 18 when she received her diagnosis, would hopefully live to see more than 17 more years of her life.
Thankfully she has her medication and pump to help her along the way. At the very least, she wasn't going to let any of it hold her back too much. She was doing fine, too – until she found the note.
A New Every Day Struggle
Learning to live with her condition was hard enough on Yasmin. It would continue to be an everyday struggle despite the fact that she looked completely fine on the outside. But it didn't help that people were so quick to judge.
Because of her condition, Yasmin was issued a placard that allowed her to park in handicap parking stalls. When she did, many people would see a "normal-looking" girl step out and stare.
It Happens Often
Yasmin has dealt with judgmental glares the moment she was given handicap privileges. "You can tell people are staring when you get [out] of the car and stuff like that but nobody actually said anything before, let alone left a note," she said.
She added, "When I put my badge up I feel like I have to walk out of the car limping." She wishes that people would understand that disabilities aren't always apparent.
Confronting The Confronter
Yasmin felt bad enough that people would stare but receiving the note felt like a punch in the gut. Still, she wouldn't let it go without standing up for herself.
She decided to post the note on Facebook with a very special message for the person who decided to call her out. "To the person in Tenterden who wrote this lovely message on my car last night.. Just because I look well doesn't mean I am well!" she began.
She Took It To The Public
"Do not judge me you have no idea what strength it takes to wake up each day and battle with my own body! If you would like to give me your heart and lungs I would happily go back to my old life," Yasmin continued.
She proceeded to say that not all disabilities are visible and asked her Facebook friends to share the post. That's exactly what they did, which led to Yasmin's post going viral in her community.
Outpouring Of Support
Yasmin's post was only up for a month, within which time it was shared over 3,900 times by people all over the world. She received an outpouring of support from both her friends and strangers on Facebook.
Many people were sympathetic to Yasmin's struggle. There were even some people who also had invisible disabilities that could understand exactly what she was dealing with. Since her story went public, Yasmin has had to deal with a lot more.
Everyone's Been Affected
"Our lives have been devastated since Yasmin's diagnosis and quite frankly it's been hell. The incident with the note could set her back and it's just complete ignorance to write it. She's a beautiful girl inside and out and so positive and determined despite her illness," Yasmin's mother told Kent Online.
She and Yasmin are the only people in their city who have the training to employ the laundry list of medications that have become a part of her daily routine.
Now, Yasmin's daily routine revolves around her constant care. Every day, Yasmin has to take a cocktail of ten medications and has to change the medication cassette for her pump every 48 hours.
Yasmin has shared that changing the cassette takes at least 45 minutes and it is a painstaking process. "My mum makes the cassettes sometimes because it's just so tiring to do all the time on my own," she told Kent Live.
Wanting To Be Self-Reliant
Despite having her mom's help on occasion, Yasmin still makes a huge effort to be self-reliant. She has to wash her hands thoroughly before preparing her medication cassette and attaching it to her body to avoid infection.
"I always attach it to myself, because it's my body. I don't want to start getting reliant on other people for that," she said. Aside from this, she tries to live as relatively "normal" as possible but is still held back.
How Severe It Actually Is
Yasmin's condition has not only taken its toll on her physical health but it has also affected her mental health as well. "I slow down a lot when I'm walking and older people overtake me. I think that puts into perspective how severe my condition actually is," she said.
Now that she has had to live with her new condition, Yasmin laments the things that she used to be able to enjoy.
The Worst Part
Despite being able to make it up a flight of stairs easier than she used to, there are now plenty of things Yasmin has to miss out on.
"I miss socializing with friends. I used to go to a lot of festivals and now I'm very limited. The worst part is having to stay at home all day because I can't find the energy to get up," she told Kent Live.
Even if she does manage to make it out of the house, Yasmin has to deal with the consequences afterward. "I think it's important to have that normality in your life. But, if I do decide to go out, then I'll feel horrible for the next three days," she said.
Yasmin also has to sleep with oxygen at night and use it while she travels. Despite the inconvenience, it's not quite as bad as what she was hoping to avoid.
The Bad News
Eventually, Yasmin's heart and lungs began filling up with fluid, so she had to spend five days in the hospital. She was told she would have to have a double lung and heart transplant. The fact that she was put on the urgent list only proved how severe her condition became.
A transplant was definitely something Yasmin didn't want to have to go through, but she knew it was in the cards eventually.
She Had Months To Live
Within a month of being told she would need a transplant, Yasmin had to sign the papers that would allow her to get on the transplant list.
"Signing the actual papers felt pretty weird, it felt rushed and like there were questions I wanted answered but was just mind blank to ask... My surgeon said to me that I've got months to live.. what does that even mean 3 months? 10 months?" Yasmin shared with Instagram followers.
The Waiting Game
After she was placed on the transplant list, Yasmin then had to deal with finding a suitable donor. It was yet another consequence of her illness that added to Yasmin's stress.
"It's at night time I'm finding the waiting game the hardest. Every time I go to sleep I wonder if I will wake up and get told there is a match available," Yasmin has said. It took one long month of waiting but eventually, a donor was found.
A Successful Surgery
Yasmin's wait time for a donor was shortened after she underwent therapy to reduce the fluid in her heart. At that point, doctors told her she would only need a double lung transplant.
After undergoing her double lung transplant surgery, Yasmin was in good spirits. "I am so so thankful for being gifted with a healthy set of lungs and will do everything I can to look after them," Yasmin wrote to followers.
Sharing Her Journey
Still, Yasmin will continue to live with pulmonary hypertension. She says that it does get a bit repetitive having to explain herself all the time, so she started an Instagram page to educate people and share her journey. She hopes people will be more understanding of invisible illnesses.
"I've decided to make this page so that people that want to follow and take an interest, they can look at the page and go from there," she told Kent Live.
The Change That Was Needed
Since Yasmin's hurtful note went viral online, the British government has taken action to be more inclusive when it comes to people with disabilities. Their Blue Badge system has seen its largest overhaul in 40 years.
Under their new system, more than 44,000 people will obtain Blue Badges within the first year. "This will ensure people with hidden disabilities can enjoy the freedoms many of us take for granted," the British transport minister said.