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By ACHA on 6/21/2011 12:06 PM

By Heather Abbott

In June 2008, I had open heart surgery to replace my severely leaking pulmonary valve (PVR). This leak was a direct result of my original Tetralogy of Fallot repair back in 1977 so I’ve always known a valve replacement was possible. My surgery was not an emergency, though it was an inevitable necessity in my life. At the time, I was working full-time in marketing, had two Ivy League degrees, exercised almost daily, and traveled often for both work and pleasure. I had friends and a significant other. Pretty much a normal lifestyle for a young 30-something except that I was born with a heart defect.