Welcome to My Personal Page and Story
Thank you for visiting my fundraising page for the Congenital Heart Walk. Raising funds for CHD research is critically important to all Heart Warriors, more specifically, me. If you know me, I'm sure you've heard my story about growing up and living with a heart defect. I felt the need to get involved with The Children's Heart Foundation so I could help other families who are having similar challenges.
When I was about 3 years old, my family doctor at the time heard something strange when he listed to my heart. He recommended my parents take me to a specialist at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. (That was kind of a big deal, because that hospital was 2 hours away!) That time came and we continued that routine periodically for the following 5 years. Multiple pediatric cardiologists, cardiologist teams, students of the medical school there visited me on various occasions. Each having their own ideas on what exactly was wrong with my heart. The idea that was supported the most was that I had a hole in my heart. After additional listens and being hooked up to a new, state-of-the-art machine that could actually show my heart in motion, real time, they decided that was untrue. In November, 1988, I went in for my first cardiac catheterization to figure out the issue. Shortly after waking, I was told I needed to have my very first open-heart surgery. About a month later, in the thick of the Christmas season, I had my first surgery. I LOVED the attention! I received sooo many gifts and got enough stuffed animals to cover my entire twin-sized bed! During the weeks beforehand, I had no idea the severity of my issue. I was told I couldn't do ANYTHING active; no running, no tag, no PE, no walking up the steps to the slide on the playground at school. The only thing I could do was sit on the swing. No, I couldn't actually swing. That was too strenuous. I could only sit. Guess how much I loved that.
Mid-December, off to my surgery we went! The night before my surgery, we got a tour of the post-op ICU. That was really pretty interesting because I got to see all the machines I'd be hooked up to. I think that part really helped prepare my parents, too. About an hour later, my parents and I went to the kids' 'gym' to get our minds off things. It was a large room where patients could go and play games, put together puzzles, there was even a basketball court. (ironic, I know) We stayed there for a bit until it was time for me to go back to my room and then to bed. In the middle of the night, I had to use the bathroom. Please keep in mind that up until then, I was totally fine with my upcoming surgery. Remember? I loved all the attention I was getting. Well, I went into the bathroom and stayed. I wasn't leaving. My mom asked and asked for me to come out but I was scared and didn't want to leave the cozy confines of that hospital bathroom. Finally, not knowing what else to do, she told me I could have WHATEVER I wanted if I came out of that bathroom. Looking back, I should've taken advantage of that opportunity instead of asking for a white telephone. Not my own telephone line. A simple white phone that would be in my bedroom. Of course she agreed to it! When I got out, the nurse gave me some meds to calm me down so I could go back to sleep. I wasn't sure if I should trust her or not, but I thought I better since my white phone was on the line (no pun intended).
Early the next morning, the lights went on, nurses came in and rolled me down the very bright, very cold hallway, into the elevator, and down another horrible hallway, and into the pre-op room.
Please help us to fund CHD research by making a donation to my personal fundraising page. Together we can make a life-saving difference!
If you think this page contains objectionable content, please inform the system administrator.