Where Does My Story Start?
Receiving a heart transplant at age 8 can often feel like “the main event of my life”. To give a more detailed background of my story, we can start all the way back to 25 years ago.
In for a thrill
I was born on December 19th, one of the “happiest times of the year.” I was two weeks old when my mom and dad were at home with their beautiful little newborn. Most people get to bask in the joy of those first few weeks of their child’s life. This is the time where you get to take in all the pleasures and thrills that come with being a new parent. Not my parents. They were in for a thrill, but not one they could have ever imagined.
Their lives would change forever
My mother started to notice that I was not breathing right, and my chest was moving up and down way more than what seemed normal. When they brought me to the hospital that day, they did not know it yet, but their lives would change forever. This is when I was diagnosed with what is called dilated cardiopathy. In simple terms, my heart was enlarged.
Organs are shutting down
They had to watch things happen to me that no parent should ever have to deal with. No one wants to find out that their two-week-old baby is in heart failure and all of her other organs are shutting down. No one wants to watch their baby on ventilators and tubes and make choices like 'Should we keep our newborn on life support for some time in hopes she will get better?' or 'Should we let our child go because we don’t know what her life will be like if she makes it?'
Choices they had to make
But these are the choices they had to make. I am so thankful to have such strong parents and family who did not give up on me. Though this is just the beginning of my story, this is where it starts and is something very important to cope with. Even though I cannot remember this time, it was a part of my life and that will stay with me forever.
It is your story
For anyone who is being just being diagnosed with some type of heart condition and struggling with your story, know that whatever happens to you, whatever the doctors say, however things may go down, it is your story, and no one can take that away from you. Do not let anyone make you feel guilty for having the feelings you may be having.
I made it through
Find a family member or friend who will let you talk about your story until you feel like you have processed what has happened to you. It is okay to take the time and sort out your story. And for anyone who has gone through some type of heart condition, it is okay to go back and sort your story out like I had to do with mine. I find that talking about what happened to me often is a way to say “this is what happened to me, it was real, it was hard, but I made it through” which to me is one of the greatest feelings ever.
Do you use exercise to help manage your heart failure?