1/3/2012 8:24 AM
By Christy Sillman
It’s 2012! That is wild! Shouldn’t we have flying cars or be hanging out with neighboring aliens by now? That’s what I thought when I was a little girl. Sometimes I think we haven’t advanced much as a society. But when my best friend was anxiously grilling me on what the future of my cardiology needs might be, I realized that a lot has changed, especially in the field of CHD care.
Fifteen years ago, when I turned 18 years old, my pediatric cardiologist said I was “fixed” and literally said “good luck with your life.” I went almost 10 years without cardiology care. Today there are adolescents who are preparing for the transition to adult care with grace, gentleness and care.
Fifteen years ago I was enduring open heart surgery to repair my pulmonary valve. Today we have the option of valve replacement via catheterization.
Fifteen years ago I knew only two other people with CHD. Today, thanks to ACHA and social media, I know too many CHD warriors to count, and I have a support group I never thought I’d have.
Fifteen years ago I felt lucky to be alive. Today I feel proud to be alive.
As CHD warriors we know better than others that life is ever-changing. I think about how many more advances we’ll benefit from in the next 15 years.
I know as a group we’re building strength. We’re advocating better than we ever have before. Together we can create advances in our field and change the future for those who are destined to join our ACHD club.
We’ve just marked a new year. It’s a time to reflect on how we treated ourselves or others this past year and to set goals for the coming year. It’s all about advancement, right? How are you going to improve upon your human experience?
- Make caring for myself a priority.
- Cut out the fat—not just in my food, but in my life. Get rid of any unnecessary stresses.
- Focus on what is important in the here and now: My family. My friends.
- Work on my legacy. What impact do I want to make this year, and in the next 15 years?
- Give more hugs (seems cheesy, but hugs are scientifically proven to be mutually beneficial).
Will you share your resolutions with me? What are your goals for the coming year?
The future is ours. We never know what is around the corner, or when our journey will end, but we have this moment—right now. Take it, grasp it with both hands, and hug the hell out of it!
Christy Sillman was born with tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia and now works as a pediatric ICU nurse. She is passionate about working with both children and adults with congenital heart disease. Christy writes a weekly column on her experiences as a nurse, ACHD'er, and new mother, which you can read at iPinion.us by clicking here.