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Not Just the Heart Girl

Jan 17

Posted by: ACHA
1/17/2014 1:37 PM  RssIcon

By Amber West

I have been going through some things recently with my congenital heart condition. Nothing bad—I am actually healthy. It’s just that people around me have been viewing me as weak, which I hate more than anything.

I know I have limits and I know I can’t do as much as everyone else, but I am not weak or a baby. Ever since I was young, I have had people treat me differently for having a heart condition—I wasn’t “cool” enough because of my CHD. My family and very close friends never did, though. 

Kids and adults can say hurtful things. I have always tried my hardest not to let what people say to me hurt me. When I was young, I used to just give in to what people said to me and never reacted. The older I have gotten, I have changed. I won’t let anyone put me down because of my heart and I won’t let anyone define me because of my CHD.

Yes, I have a heart condition—in my opinion it just makes me super special. God must have saved me for some pretty awesome stuff. That last little part may sound a bit conceited. But it’s true in a way. When you are on your deathbed at six weeks old and life is literally breathed back into you, I believe there has to be a reason.

I have never defined myself by my heart condition and it upsets me when people look at me or refer to me as “the heart girl.” When I got engaged, people said to my parents, “She found someone to marry her. That’s nice.” Seriously, I am not some alien from another planet. I just have CHD. Why can’t I get married just like a “normal” person?

Yes, I have tricuspid atresia. It is a part of me, but it is not who I am. I am so much more. My life has not been easy at times, but I have made it through, because I am more. I am strong. I am a fighter. I am a child of God. I am a wife. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am happy, outgoing, and funny. I am sarcastic. I am loyal. I am a friend. I am a teacher. I am more than tricuspid atresia. I will not let my condition define me, because I am so much more.

Amber West was born in 1988 with tricuspid atresia and ventricular septal defect. She has had three successful open heart surgeries, and also has a pacemaker. She enjoys working with children, reading, and writing. She one day hopes to publish a children's book. When Amber is not busy working with children, she enjoys spending time with her husband, her family, and her kitty, Callie.

Copyright ©2014 ACHA

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3 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Not Just the Heart Girl

This fabulous woman is so strong and I have been so blessed to know her & be able to say she is my best friend.

By Dawn on   1/21/2014 8:56 AM
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Re: Not Just the Heart Girl

My husband is 48 & was born with tricuspid atresia. Yes, he found someone to marry him :) and we have a healthy 18 year old daughter. Keep going, live a happy & healthy life and don't let others limit you.

By Tammy on   1/22/2014 1:26 PM
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Re: Not Just the Heart Girl

People have treated me similar. I have subaortic
Stenosis, aortic regurg and long qt syndrome.
I had a defibrillator placed and people don't
Even come near me in fear that they will be shocked
If I receive a shock.

By Jennifer on   2/10/2014 10:27 AM

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