Recent Entries
Summer Vacation: Tips for Traveling with CHD
How Do You Start Your Morning?
Balancing Parenting & Congenital Heart Disease
The First Five Years
My Journey to a Grateful Life
Now What?
Medical Home Sweet Home
Still Cliché’?
To My Village: Thank You
Education is Key in Spreading the Word about CHD


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 6/27/2014 11:20 AM

By Jennifer Gooden

Up until this point in my life, whenever I would go to my twice-a-year cardiology appointments, I would do and hear roughly the same thing. I would get my vitals, EKG, and echo done and then my doc would come in and chat with me and tell me things look “about the same” and that I should continue with my meds—and I would keep on trucking along. That was my average heart year.

Unfortunately, this isn’t my average heart year. I would say that I am having the worst heart year ever. In my last blog post I explained that I was admitted for the first time in more than 20 years. Well so far this year I have been admitted three times, have worn no fewer than five Holter monitors, plus a BP monitor, and have had my first cardiac ablation.

By ACHA on 6/25/2014 9:34 AM

By Yvonne Hall

In the fall, before my daughter’s latest crisis, I posted the first in a series of tidbits I wanted to share with parents of cardiac patients on what I have learned through decades of trial and error. Some of these memories are positive but others will address where possibly better choices could have been made. This message relates to how easy it is to forget our other children‘s needs during such times.

By ACHA on 6/23/2014 12:52 PM

By Alissa Butterfass

First, an update: When I last blogged, it was weeks before an upcoming cardiac catheterization. My doctor was hoping to attain images and measurements not accessible in other tests, and I was hoping to finally get an answer to what my exercise limitations are, and whether I could actually try to take up running or participate in a half marathon walk with my cousin.

The catheterization took place in late April. Even though only diagnostics were performed and no interventions were necessary, the recovery was more difficult than I anticipated—a massive headache for three days, likely due to dehydration, and a sore leg at the site of the catheter placement for a week.

By ACHA on 6/19/2014 12:25 PM

By Jon Ritchings, Jr.

I am loving this summer. After an extremely brutal winter it’s been wonderful getting outside again. The winter cold forced me to give up my daily walks. I’ve worked hard nearly every day to get in even better shape than I was last year. Well, that and lose the 20 pounds I gained.

I’ve set two goals for myself that I intend to hit by the end of September. One is to be able to run the three miles that I currently walk every day. The other is to lose those 20 pounds I gained this past winter. I’ve tried to do this a few times since my last surgery. In the past I’ve gone at it full blast, changing my diet and adding a lot of exercise all at once. Usually I do well the first few weeks, losing a few pounds and feeling good about the changes. Then, life gets in the way and the whole thing falls apart within a few days.

By ACHA on 6/17/2014 1:54 PM

By Kim Russell

“She will not be able to bear children,” the doctor said. Of course, this was disappointing, but understandable. “She can’t have children?” my mother asked the doctor.

The doctor shook his head. “No, I said she cannot bear children. She will need to adopt. And there are many children out there who need good families.”

By ACHA on 6/12/2014 9:27 AM

By Ryan Leist

Since I was in middle school I knew I wanted to be an accountant. I know the stereotypical image of an accountant is someone who carries a pocket protector and does taxes, but all the career tests I took growing up recommended it based on my interests and personality type. Another test as part of the career process in high school was the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

The day in high school we took the ASVAB was September 11, 2001. It was ironic to be taking the armed services test the day of the notorious terrorist attacks. I will never forget the United States of America military personnel turning on the television in the library to see the second plane hit the tower. From that moment on, I wanted to serve in the military; however, with a congenital heart defect, I was unsure I would be able to.

By ACHA on 6/10/2014 2:01 PM

By Christy Sillman

I feel really lucky that for most of my life I wasn’t on any medications aside from the prophylactic antibiotics I took prior to dental procedures. When I sought out care from my fantastic ACHD doctor and finally got the care I needed, I was suddenly faced with starting multiple heart medications because my heart health had been neglected for so long.

For many patients, their ACHD care involves medications. As an ACHD nurse I often find myself counseling patients on medication compliance, safety, and understanding the side effects. I’d like to share some of my tips.

By ACHA on 6/5/2014 1:28 PM

By Kelly Deeny

Dependence and guilt are two of the unseen side effects of my congenital heart defect, the ramifications of which still drive a great many of my choices/actions.

As children, we are dependent on others for almost everything. They feed us, clothe us, and provide guidance as we develop. Dependence on those who care for us is understandable and expected. All children must come to a point in their growth when they start relying on themselves. They trust their instincts, abilities, and knowledge. At that point, one more independent thinker helps our community grow and develop. They spread their wings and follow their dreams, all the while thankful and appreciative of the wisdom they received along the way.

By ACHA on 6/3/2014 10:12 AM

By Kim Edgren

Oftentimes my blog rotation comes up and I wonder, what the heck am I going to write about? This usually happens when there is a cardiac “calm” for me. I am sure many of you can relate. It is that time when things are going well. It’s the time you aren’t always thinking – or obsessing – about your health. During the “storm” – the symptom, the crises, the worry – there are more emotions to flow, to share, and to tell.

By ACHA on 5/29/2014 8:46 AM

By Michelle Browning Coughlin, JD, MSW

As part of my 37-37-37 challenge, I was honored to be invited to “virtually” participate in a 5k being held in another state to benefit congenital heart defects research and support. Running “virtually” meant that on the day of the race, I headed out to a local park wearing my race t-shirt, turned on my running app, and ran a 5K by myself. There was no “On Your Mark, Get Set, Go,” no cheering fans on the side of the road, and no loudspeaker announcements congratulating winners at the end of the race. It was just me, running alone.

And yet, every step of the way, I knew that—at least figuratively—so many people were running beside me.