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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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Nick

Jan 18

Posted by: ACHA
1/18/2013 4:10 PM  RssIcon

In April 1989, I was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, transposition of the great vessel, septal defect and coarctation of the aorta. I had my first heart surgery at five days old at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. I was only given a fifty/fifty chance of survival. This was the first of a two-staged surgery. I would have to have another one around two years old. I came home after ten days but had to be fed through a tube placed in my nose.

At three and a half months old, I required another surgery which was not one of the original planned ones. During this surgery, the nerve to my diaphragm was damaged and I stayed on a respirator in ICU for seven weeks. Just after my first birthday I had another heart surgery. This time I almost died in the OR. When I was twenty-three months old I received a heart transplant. Before the surgery I was a blue color, only having an eighty-five percent oxygen level. My parents said I immediately turned a nice healthy pink color after I got my new heart.

The first year after transplant was intense for my mother and I because she had to make numerous midnight trips to the hospital when I was sick. In time, the trips decreased. I suffered mostly from sinus troubles and ear infections. I grew and attended pre-school, even rode the bus to school my first day of kindergarten.

I have learned to swim, snow ski, water ski, and has seen forty-nine of the fifty states and thirteen countries in Europe. I have been a member of Team Georgia at nine of the Transplant Games. In high school, I was a manager for the football team and played tennis for four years. I began college but had to withdraw when an infection settled on the site where my first surgery was done.

At the point of death, I went into surgery again to have my aorta replaced. I recovered faster and with less difficultly than anyone expected. A few months later I needed a pacemaker for a slow heart rate. I am now twenty-three. I'm back in college studying business. I'm also engaged to the love of my life and plan to marry in 2014. My mother wrote a book about my experiences.

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