By Kim Edgren
28 Nov

A Time for Reflection

Monday, November 28, 2011

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 That old crush who thought my scar was gross has been replaced by someone who thinks it is sexy.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.

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