This topic is very close to me. In 2000, my first child was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. She was rushed through open-heart surgeries, and spent two months in ICU. Shortly after that, she passed away. She never came home.
Heart defects in children is unfortunately more common than many believe. And it’s not something a mother does to affect her child in the womb, although taking certain drugs during pregnancy can affect the growth of the heart. This wasn’t the case in my daughter.
Fast-forward a decade, and I start getting short of breath and exhaustion sets in. I don’t know what’s going on, and neither do doctors. When I start experiencing chest, jaw, and elbow pain, I know something’s majorly wrong. After some testing, I learn I have a major heart condition too–aortic valve regurgitation. I also learn the only way to correct it is to have the aortic valve replaced–a pretty daunting thought to a mother of four living children. In the meantime, my prescription is the baby this valve along into my 50’s.
I support the AHA in whatever way I can. Bringing awareness is very important. You don’t have to be old to have a heart condition, and you don’t have to be out of shape, smoke, or eat badly. You just have to be human to have a heart condition, and that’s why we need to pass along the word!
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