11/28/2011 3:59 PM
By Kim Edgren
Reflecting on Thanksgiving, I got to thinking what I am thankful for. The list seems endless these days, but more than a few times this past year a memory kept popping up for me. Years ago, during one of my many hospital visits, my roommate was there for a non-cardiac procedure. I am not sure of all the details but she was very vocal about not wanting to bring a child into this world who may have a cardiac condition like hers. I remember feeling sad for her, wondering how hard her life was. It also made me reflect on my own life then, and now.
For all the ups and downs being a congenital heart patient has brought, I have had a good life. The joys far outweigh all of the procedures I have endured. I would not be the person I am today without the experiences my heart has brought me. Growing up, I had the benefit of neighborhood friends who found a “job” for me during every game of Manhunt or Capture the Flag. For every kid who thought I always wore purple lipstick, there was a friend who opted for indoor recess on those cold days. That old crush who thought my scar was gross has been replaced by someone who thinks it is sexy. And for every “You can’t,” I did.
Which brings me to my children—could I have children safely and would it be safe for them? It was a huge relief when they all arrived “defect”-free. But unlike how it appeared my hospital roommate from years ago felt, I believe it was my life experiences and the people in it that helped me form a different attitude towards children. Would it have been devastating for me and for them to have to endure a lifelong condition? Of course, but one that I believe would have been met head-on with support, love and lots of great cardiologists.
So, back to Thanksgiving. I am thankful for my life—all of it. My accomplishments and heartaches; the loves and losses; all of the joy and tears; family and friends; even all the hospital stays and every one of my too-many-to-count scars! For everything this old heart has brought me, it has made me who I am today. I have made the best of it and plan on doing that for a long time to come. And for that opportunity, I am truly thankful.
Kim Edgren was born in 1966 with transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary stenosis and ventricular septal defect. She recently became the proud owner of a Melody valve! When she is not trying her hand at writing she is busy spending time with her partner and three girls, managing her two child care centers and planning her next vacation.
2 comment(s) so far...
By joanie edson on
11/29/2011 9:04 AM
Re: A Time for Reflection
another great one Kim ! I can't imagine you without your whole crew in tow, you are certainly your own person, but you are soooooo "the glue" of that big crazy brood of yours !!
And I mean your children, your spouse, your your family, your friends, and even all those miscellaneous animals that attack and steal my things !
I so look forward to your monthly blog, I am wondering when there will be one that will not bring tears to my eyes, there likely will not... But it surely is what I call a "good cry"...
By Michelle on
11/29/2011 3:43 PM
Re: A Time for Reflection
Amen to everything you wrote sister ! I was born in 1960 with one ventricle, TGV, and an enlarged pulmunary artery. Nobody thought I'd live to age 5 much less age 51. After 3 open hearts and several pacemakers and a whole lot of life lessons I am proud and thankful to be the way God made me.
I teach pre-school and ma the proud mother of an adopted daughter becasue the risk of having one on my own outrisked the benefits. Wow...what a blessing my ,now 19 year old, is as well !