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By submitting your story and/or photo to ACHA, you are giving permission for your story and/or photo to be displayed on our website. The stories on this page are the property of the individual who has provided it. Stories may be edited for content. The experiences and opinions expressed are solely those of the individual, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied within these stories.

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Jacqueline

Jan 11

Posted by: ACHA
1/11/2013 4:38 PM  RssIcon

I was born in 1964 with Double Outlet Right Ventricle (with HLHS), Mitral Valve Atresia, Pulmonic Stenosis, and Total Anomalous Venous Return. One of the rarest conditions, and at the ripe old age of five months, I went in for a Blalock-Taussig shunt procedure. The chances of survival were minimal, and the doctor’s gave my parents a year at most. They told my mother and father to take me home and enjoy the time they had with me.

The years ahead were filled with hospitals, anger, frustration, joy, sorrow, loneliness, abandonment, and so much heartache…no pun intended. My parents divorced when I was eight, and my mother moved us to California shortly thereafter. I had three older and one younger sibling, and then when my mother remarried in 1975, the youngest of the clan came along. Out of six children, I was the only one lucky enough to be born with health issues...sarcasm intended.

Yes at times I did not have the brightest of outlooks on life, but I did my best to stay positive, be active, and believe that god did not hate me, and did this for a reason. At a time in my life when I should be worrying about getting my driver’s license or wondering if someone would ask me to go to the prom…simply living my life as a teenager, I had to go in for my second open-heart surgery. As I reflect on that time now, those things were never what mattered to me anyway. I was more concerned with would I wake up in the morning, would I make it to adulthood, would I ever have children, and would a man ever love me despite the scars that decorated my body. I went day to day wondering about God and his great plan for me. I searched for a place in this world where I belonged. Consumed with the fear of dying…I forgot to live. So when I went in for my third open heart surgery I vowed if I made it through, I would start living my life, discover whom I was, and pursue the dreams residing in my soul. Dreams of traveling around the world as I lived my life as a writer, meeting the man meant for me.

My life has never been easy. I still battle the teenager inside who feels she doesn’t belong. The never-ending battle of my worth still plays a major role in my life. Yet, with each day, and every breath I take, I honor my spiritual connection to all that is in this moment. I am blessed to realize how lucky I am to have been given this amazing gift of my heart, to live the path I am meant to, no matter the circumstances, or battles I am forced to face. It took many years to believe but with faith, commitment, and the love of the people around me, I’ve already won the war I know as Congenital Heart Disease.

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