"I lost about 20 pounds- eventually I got my weight down to 120 pounds and I am 5' 5"," says Angela. " People thought I was crazy and they had no idea I was hooked on these diet drugs because I kept it a secret. I never related these symptoms to Fen-Phen.
"In the late 1990s my health was getting worse and I had so many tests—including an echocardiogram and even one when I had to stay in the hospital overnight.
Not even when I was diagnosed with PPH did I clue in that it was because of Fen-Phen. And I couldn't figure out why I could have PPH because I was so skinny. When you think you are overweight, some people will do anything...
I didn't think anything more about it and just accepted that I had this condition. When my doctor diagnosed me with PPH, he asked if I was taking any other meds. I was embarrassed but eventually told him about taking Fen-Phen (I was still taking it) and he said not to take it anymore. He didn't know I was taking a diet drug because I had it from the clinic.
That is when I first found out about Fen-Phen, the link to PPH and the lawsuit-- through my doctor. 'You don't take medicine to lose weight', he said.
I didn't even know that it was pulled from the shelf until about 2000. Even then, I didn't contact an attorney; I must have been in denial.
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These days I have to be really careful regarding my health. Sometimes I am out of breath for no apparent reason and I don't have to do anything to get dizzy. When it happens, I just sit down, take a deep breath in and out and tell myself to be calm.
I still watch my weight but now I've smartened up: I wanted to be skinny - that is partly a reflection of our society. Now I watch what I eat and walk a lot. But if I walk too long, I'll get out of breath. It is scary. I kept my Fen-Phen bottle so my next step is getting legal help, even after all this time I have heard that something can be done."