Our ACHA bloggers cover many topics relevant to the CHD community. 

Defining CHD

by Christy Sillman on Wednesday, Oct 14, 2020

One of the most prominent debates in the congenital heart community is the definition of the acronym “CHD.” Let me preface this blog by stating that I recognize that your preference is deeply personal, and I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer to this debate. Whatever side of the debate you fall upon, that is what is best for you, and I completely respect your choice.

Read more

Relearning Perspective

by Adam Ehlert on Wednesday, Sep 23, 2020

I didn’t get it.

I was waking up from an electrical cardioversion to “fix” my (first bout of) atrial fibrillation. The doctors were kindly telling my wife and me that I had an atrial septal defect (ASD). My head was foggy, and it didn’t frighten me then. But as we waited and watched my arrhythmias before the ASD could be repaired, I was scared. I was worried.

Read more

The Man with a Big Heart

by Nicole Stenzel on Thursday, Sep 03, 2020

Gerald David Stenzel, or “Jerry,” as he was better known, was born October 14, 1966, in Wells, Minnesota to Dominic and Evangeline Stenzel—who had a small farming operation and raised their 11 (yes, 11) children on the farm outside that same small town in Minnesota. Jerry had what he always described as a “normal” childhood—at least, as normal as it can be with 10 siblings—when, in fact, Jerry and his childhood were anything but normal.

Shortly after he was born, it was discovered that Jerry had a congenital heart defect. His tricuspid valve had not fully developed: diagnosis tricuspid atresia. Jerry was whisked away a few hours down the highway to Mayo Clinic, where surgeons performed a shunt operation to save his life.

Read more

Pedaling the Pounds Off: Today and the Future

by Jared Gould on Thursday, Aug 27, 2020

In my last blog, Back in Mississippi, Part 2, I discussed how surrounding myself with highly motivated, hardworking people altered my weight loss journey. Through them, I learned that dedication to a routine was necessary to lose weight. And, as with all lessons I learned in my weight loss journey, I practiced keeping a strict routine during my senior year of college.

Read more

“But you don’t look sick...”

by Kelly DiMaggio on Thursday, Jul 30, 2020

COVID-19 has brought those with chronic and invisible illness to the forefront. Or has it?

As the pandemic drags on, numbers rise, and political views heat up, the main risk group is still predominantly presented as the elderly. Yet there is a whole subset of people with chronic and invisible illness. Those with asthma, heart problems, auto-immune diseases, cancer survivors… the list goes on and on. But we aren't seen as sick; rather, we are seen as young and thus “safe.”

Read more

Food From and For the Heart: Introducing ACHA’s New Recipe Blog

by Emily Earhart on Friday, Jul 17, 2020

In response to the success of our Midweek Motivation cooking and baking sessions, ACHA is excited to introduce a series of food blog posts featuring heart-healthy recipes to help you stay strong and thrive.

Read more

The Most Important Summer

by Heather Magee-Anderson on Friday, Jul 10, 2020

I am a fiction writer. I like to write stories about people, their challenges, their fears, and joys. I do not like writing about myself, because for so long, my life was fiction. I told many tales in order to escape from my reality. I didn’t want to be someone with congenital heart disease, so like my stories, I changed the narrative. I now embrace my truth and advocate for those like myself, but I still find it difficult to write about myself.

However, 40 years ago, my life was saved, and I feel the need to acknowledge that moment and express my gratitude.

Read more

COVID-19: An Eye-Opener For Life With CHD

by Kelly DiMaggio on Wednesday, Jun 24, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has certainly turned everyone's world upside down, and my heart goes out to everyone who has been affected. To every single person working as essential personnel, thank you doesn't even begin to cover it – but thank you! While the last three months have been a huge adjustment for many, I can't help but think how quarantine has offered people a glimpse into what life with a complex CHD is actually like on a normal basis. It's strange to feel like – for once – the rest of the non-CHD world and I are on a level playing field.

Read more

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.