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.
Here, I am supposed to tell you my story. Well, I actually started telling it, but soon realized that I shouldn't provide as many details and give you the Cliff Notes. So, here's my best effort:
When I was about 3 years old, my parents were told to take me to a pediatric cardiologist because of something my family doctor heard. A few years went by with misdiagnoses. At the age of 8, during my cardiac catheterization, the specialists diagnosed me with subaortic valve stenosis and told me I need open heart surgery immediately.
Luckily, my parents were able schedule the surgery for the following month, just before Christmas. I absolutely LOVED the attention and received presents like you wouldn't believe! I received more stuffed animals than would fit on my bed at home! (the perks of being a kid undergoing a huge surgery!)
That surgery was a success! I was told, afterwards, that I had to still take it easy. Contact sports were out of the question. No more mile-run, pull-ups, or rope climb during the Presidential Physical Fitness tests. I was heartbroken!
After 7 years of being as active as possible without 'over doing it', I was told I needed another open-heart surgery. During my most recent adolescent growth spurt, the small muscle that was removed from below my aortic valve grew back. After endless discussions, my team of cardiologists recommended a modified konno procedure. This was uncommon at the time and had never been performed by my surgeon. My parents were very nervous, needless to say, but because of God's grace and answered prayers, the surgery was a success!
Over the following 11 years, I kept very active. I took up cheerleading, volleyball, softball, track, weightlifting, and running. Of course, I had to remember to 'not overdo it' and respected my limits.
During that last year, I noticed a decline in my ability to perform for as long as usual. I reported this to my cardiologist at the time and a third corrective surgery was recommended. In 2005, I had my third open-heart surgery.
I quickly learned the older you are, the longer it takes to recover from a major surgery. Whew! That wasn't fun but my amazing parents and family were there to support me and nurse me back to health. The following year, I met the love of my life. We got married in 2008 and decided we wanted a baby. Throughout my life, I was told to check with my cardiologist if i ever decided to get pregnant. I was given the green light and was able to find an amazing perinatologist to monitor me throughout my pregnancy.
After increased heart palpitations and restless nights of wearing an external defibrillator, it was time to check-in to the hospital! Prayers were answered with a delivery of a healthy, 6lb 0.8oz baby boy!!
It's been a long and exciting journey. I am forever grateful for how blessed my life has been and continues to be.
Please help us to fund CHD research by making a donation to my personal fundraising page. Together we can make a life-saving difference!
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