a nurse checks a female heart failure patient's blood pressure

My Journey & Why I Am Here

Nursing is my PASSION, especially cardiac nursing. Or maybe I should say it was my passion. I love nothing more than caring for those dealing with heart troubles; no matter if that is someone having chest pain for the first time, anxiety, or heartburn. It can include patients newly diagnosed, living with long-term heart failure, or someone with a LONG cardiac history that just had a quadruple bypass.

Different areas of cardiac care

Throughout my nursing history, I worked in several different areas of cardiac care. I started working on a very, very busy, cardiac step-down unit caring for people who had just had a big heart operations like bypasses or valve repairs.

We also cared for people with lung issues who had just had lung repairs as well as vascular surgery patients. This was probably my favorite because we got to see these people at their very sickest and care for them as they got better until they walked out of the hospital to go home. Well, that wasn't the case for every single patient because we know that doesn’t happen for everyone. But that was the best-case scenario.

I worked there until I could not

I worked there until my health deteriorated and I was no longer able to work in such a fast-paced area. But I stayed in the cardiac arena and began working with those on coumadin for blood clots. There we saw people who had irregular heart rhythms that put them at risk of a blood clot. Or people who had clots in their legs or lungs. We did a LOT of teaching there. Teaching on how coumadin worked, what to eat, or not to eat and so on. I liked that job, but I missed the fast pace and the patient population of my previous job.

10 years of experience under my belt

Okay, all that’s cool! But why on earth am I telling you any of this? How does it apply to you?  Well, my name is Amber Blackburn. I am a Registered Nurse, with my Bachelor's degree in Nursing and 10 years of experience under my belt. As of mid-February 2020, I will be working as a moderator for the heart failure group through Health-Union. While I may not live with heart failure on a daily basis, I can definitely relate as I spent many years caring for people dealing with heart issues.

Caring for myself

Today, I spend most of my time caring for myself. In 2012  I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and my personal and professional life changed drastically. I found within a few short years that I was no longer able to do the job that I love so much. Following the lupus diagnosis, I received a laundry list of diagnoses of which I won’t bore you with. But I do personally understand living with heart issues as some of my diagnoses include Sustained Tachycardia, Long Q-T Syndrome, POTS, and Orthostatic Hypotension.

It truly broke my heart

In 2017 I had to retire from a career I loved and worked so hard to gain. It truly broke my heart. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that at the age of 32 I would have to give up my career. But I did. I had to find a way to deal with the loss of my career so I started blogging, and started a support group for others with Lupus and autoimmune issues.

More on this topic

Those will never take the place of my career, but they do allow me to use many of my skills. I am able to promote awareness of the conditions I live with while also providing others support and educational materials so we can all learn more about what we are living with.

I look forward to meeting you

That being said, I may not be able to relate to exactly or walk in your shoes, but I walk a very similar path and have helped many along the way who have been on your journey. So I look forward to meeting each and every one of you!!

With Love,

Amber

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