11/7/2011 12:02 PM
By Lorelei Hill
I guess I’ve always been a full cup sort of person. After reading the entries of my fellow bloggers, I am happy to see that most of them are as well! Like a hungry person having just eaten a fine meal, I laughed at Stephanie’s reasons for dating a CHD survivor, and related only too well to Kim’s powerhouse mamas. At 48, I too have experienced my share of doctor’s notes, Paul. Finally, Paul Cardall’s ACHA Conference review was my satisfying dessert, with remarks about maintaining a congenital cardiologist both insightful and necessary.
As a child, my mother was quick to tell me how I’d cry during invasive procedures, and then, when it was all over, how I’d sit up in my bed, smile, and tell her it was time to go home. My grandparents loved to retell the story of me standing in my hospital crib yelling to the nurse to “get my pants!” Even at the age of two, after all the poking and prodding was through, I was just happy to get back to my life. It never occurred to me to ask, “Why me, God?” CHD has always just been a part of who I am.
As an adult, sure, I’ve wandered into the woe-is-me zone. I mean, who amongst us hasn’t? In the cold hours of a long painful night in the hospital, it’s hard not to let it happen. But when the sun rises and shines through my window, and the texts from loved ones begin pouring in, I see my condition once again through the eyes of a child.
I am here for a purpose. I chose to come into this world with congenital heart disease for a reason. This hole in my heart is not a punishment, and I am no less of a person for having it. The fact is, my condition is a gift I gave myself!
Yes, I said it, and I’ll say it again. CHD is a gift that my spirit chose long before I was born. Because of CHD I have an appreciation for—rather than a fear of—doctors. I have come to understand my body. I know when to go and when to stop. And life is worth living every single day.
Now a lot of you may say that a person can have this outlook and not have CHD. That’s probably true, but ask yourself this: “What do I know about myself that I wouldn’t have known without this condition?” When you have the answer, you will know your purpose.
We are all here for a reason. Mine, I’ve known ever since I was a young girl, was to teach children how to accept themselves just as they are. This is why I have incorporated this theme into my writings.
My life is filled with so many wonders. CHD is just one small part, but as I have grown, I have come to see that it is a vital part of my road to being human. Having tricuspid atresia is not a curse, nor is it flaw. Rather, it is a gift chosen at the point of my conception for the higher purpose of helping others.
Your purpose may be to rise above your condition through diet and exercise. Your purpose might be to teach a family member about unconditional love, or to speak publicly about CHD to others. Whatever your reasons for coming into this world with CHD, embrace it. Love yourself because of it, not in spite of it. Find your higher purpose and thank your God for the gift of your congenital heart condition.
For all of my fellow bloggers, thank you for your pearls of wisdom. Without them my daily meals of research would not be nearly as palatable.
Hello from Ontario, Canada! Lorelei Hill is a mother of two CHD babies, wife, writer/teacher, and a survivor of tricuspid atresia. After graduating with honors from Queen’s University in Kingston, Lorelei went on to teach and travel the world. Now settled into small town life, she is working with other CHD patients and her own cardiac specialists to complete a self-help book for young CHD families, entitled From the Heart. Click here to visit her website.
2 comment(s) so far...
By Stephie on
11/7/2011 1:25 PM
Re: CHD: A Gift
Lorelei, Your pearls of wisdom have helped me too. Usually when we receive a gift we want to keep it and cherish it and show it to the whole world. Thinking of our CHD as a gift is a great lesson we all can learn. Thanks. (P.S. I received your message, and will respond soon, Thanks, for writing me.)
By Lorelei on
11/8/2011 3:05 AM
Re: CHD: A Gift
Thank you! For reminding me of the truth that I had forgotten. I have always known that having a CHD helped me to stay focused on my true mission - to avoid the distractions of a professional sports career (!) or the dreams of a professional dancer. It seems that time has dimmed those dreams, and my memories of the glory of battles won.
Lorelei - thank you for making me pause - read and re-read your words. I will strive to bring them back into my conscience in days to come.