Recent Entries
Humor Makes It Better
When You Talk About Your CHD
Friendship and CHD
The Pre-Surgery Rollercoaster
Sometimes the Heart is Just the Start
No Regrets
Testing Complete, Preparations Begin
My Experiences with Exercise and CHD
Carrying a Big Heart


The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, 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 by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

Author: Created: 5/17/2011 1:10 PM RssIcon
Our ACHA bloggers will post about many topics relevant to the CHD community.
By ACHA on 5/26/2015 1:57 PM

By Yvonne Hall

I don’t know how you do it! That is without doubt the most common phrase I’ve heard over five decades of parenting my CHD daughter. It probably sounds familiar and if you’re also a parent of a child with CHD you’ve thought as I have: “What are my options? I just do it.”

Digging deeper, I realize a key element to navigating tough times was our humor. Norman Cousins got it right by deciding to laugh his way to recovery. Although not a scientifically proven antidote, he survived for decades beyond his “expiry date”—proof enough for me.

By ACHA on 5/22/2015 11:08 AM

By Jon Ritchings, Jr.

I have a ton of friends. I get invites to concerts, dinners and outings all the time. However, I’ve noticed that some people shy away from you when you mention that you have a chronic illness. I don’t know if they are uncomfortable, just don’t want to get involved, or are heartless.

By ACHA on 5/20/2015 3:20 PM

By Katherine Buchanan

This weekend marked the end of an incredible school year for me as I finished up my junior year at Wofford College, a small liberal arts school in South Carolina. Instead of rushing home for summer plans, I chose instead to spend the weekend on campus, celebrating my senior friends with students from every class year who felt touched by their motivational presence on campus.

By ACHA on 5/18/2015 1:51 PM

By Deb Flaherty-Kizer

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” This quote from Winnie the Pooh has been my mantra during the past few weeks as I ride the pre-surgery rollercoaster. I find myself vacillating between "I will rock this surgery" to "I will not make it through."

By ACHA on 5/14/2015 11:31 AM

By Damion Martin

Diagnosed with aortic stenosis at just three days old (and mitral stenosis later in my childhood), I grew up knowing the tedium of regular check-ups with a cardiologist. I appreciated the thinly veiled enthusiasm my parents would exude over a day off as a family, consisting of six to seven hours driving to and from the hospital. And I reveled in the freedom of college, where I could reinvent myself as someone who didn’t have a heart problem and could party like the rest of ‘em.

But as I got older, the pesky CHD label never completely wore off, and at 33 years old was informed that I needed to prepare myself for open heart surgery.

By ACHA on 5/12/2015 10:42 AM

By Kathleen Hutchinson

“I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me” is the number one regret from author Bronnie Ware’s book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

After facing my own mortality and seven weeks post-open heart surgery, I was asked, “What’s your three-, five- or ten-year plan? What about retirement? You’ve been wandering for the past ten years. What are your long term goals?” You need to have a plan and if you don’t, you’re irresponsible is, in a nutshell, what I was told.

By ACHA on 5/8/2015 9:31 AM

By Alison Boerner

Summer days at Camp Odayin are filled with all the typical joys of camp—horseback riding, arts and crafts, wacky costumes, and canoeing. Children meet lifelong friends and find themselves longing to grow up to be like their cool counselors. While this is a common scene at many camps, an observant visitor might realize there’s something special about the campers at Camp Odayin. At meals, caring nurses give these vibrant children numerous colorful, cardiac medications. Down at the lake, waterskiing kids with zipper scars trail behind a boat carrying a cardiologist and an AED.

By ACHA on 4/30/2015 2:31 PM

By Paul Willgoss

Six months ago I was told that my cardiologist was a little worried about my pulmonary valve. It’s a standard problem for us Fallot’s patients and quite frankly I’d be worried if they weren’t worried. As I said in a previous blog, I was going to be tested.

By ACHA on 4/28/2015 8:40 AM

By Jorie Malone

This year, I made a large “impulse buy” mistake. My new gym caught me in a weak moment after I had a complimentary personal training session. I was a relaxed teacher on winter break, and on top of that, I was feeling the post-work out euphoria of a heart patient who was finally able to be fully active again. So, I signed up for a few sessions (and by a few, I mean too many to share) and embarked on the journey of having a personal trainer.

At first, it was nerve-wracking and uncomfortable. I was afraid my personal trainer did not understand my heart condition and was pushing me too hard. On the other side, I was unsure whether or not I was just out of shape or unable to do certain activities.

By ACHA on 4/21/2015 2:17 PM

By Stephanie Hodgson

Protect the energy of your sacred life and vision. ~Pixie Lighthorse, on Buffalo medicine

A few weeks ago, I woke around 6 a.m.-ish, and felt soreness around the base of my throat. I sat up, held my hands around my neck and throat area.