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Bride-To-Be Battles Killer Lung Disease

It's a story of a brave 21-year old girl fighting off a deadly disease while planning her wedding.
It's a story of a brave 21-year old girl fighting off a deadly disease while planning her wedding.

For the first time Breana Swenson is speaking about her struggle to survive.    

CBS 47's Lemor Abrams has her heartwrenching story.

Connected to an oxygen monitor, short of breath...smiling.

Breana Swenson says life is too short not to smile.

Doctors have given her up to five years to live.

“I didn't think it was going to happen to me,” she says.

But she won't let that get in the way of her life plans.

“It's very exciting, it's fun,” she says.

Breana is marrying the love of her life next month.

“Before we even figured out that she....I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her,” says Fiance Nicholas Thompson.

Nicholas Thompson proposed three years ago... right before doctors diagnosed Breana with a killer-lung disease: Pulmonary Hypertension. 

It’s a deadly form of high blood pressure that developed in the lungs.

Breana also has underdeveloped lungs and heart failure, which makes her condition more painful.

Making matters worse-for 19 years of her life, she says doctors didn't know what she has.

“It was very frustrating. So many times I heard doctors say they don't know what to do with me. They don't know what's wrong. 

Finally-Breana began undergoing a series of tests and now goes back and forth to San Francisco for intensive therapy.

Doctors say it was the urgency with which her mom brought her to the hospital that gave her all the hope. 

I was taking her to the doctor, but I said something else is wrong. She was short of breath, getting purple, coughing up blood.


Specialists say many patients with Pulmonary Hypertension go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed... because the symptoms are often subtle.

“It’s very important to be an advocate for your child, especially when they're sick,” says mom Lisa Swenson. 

So with the support of her parents and husband to be...

“Whether we have five years together, two years together, we'll make the most of it,” says Nicholas. 

Breana waits to get on a list for her transplant.

Thankful she has plenty to take her mind of things... 

“Getting married, my honeymoon, Hawaii,” Breana says.


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