3/1/2013 2:17 PM
I am a 48 year old female born with tetralogy of Fallot. The doctors told my parents my life expectancy was 12 years old. My parents would not take that as fact so they were able to connect with a local agency for my cardiac care. I had "experimental" surgery performed at Shands Hospital in Florida in 1969 resulting in placement of a Waterston shunt. The surgery was a success and I have had a "normal" life of a child with a heart condition.
In my early 20's I had a setback and needed an upper left lung lobectomy performed by Dr. Cooley at Texas Heart Institute. In 2001, based on low oxygen saturation and long term quality of life, I had an unexpected "correction" to the Waterston shunt and another open heart repair surgery. Each time I was able to work with my doctors to get referrals and worked hard to get the cardiac care I needed. I have in the past 3 years had several cardiac ablations at St. Joe's in Tampa, which were new cardiac procedures from a research study to correct AFib, and have done very well since those procedures.
During my adult life I was always told I would have restrictions for a lot of physical activity but have had the pleasure to travel across Europe and America and have been able to pursue my education, getting a Masters in Personnel Psychology. I am now applying to be an Ambassador with the ACHA and want to share my story with patients and family members who have a history of heart defects.