By Kelly Deeny
30 Sep

ACHA Family

Friday, September 30, 2011

I’m a family-oriented person, always have been. I loved going to family reunions, visiting relatives and as of recently, doing genealogy research. As much as I adore my family I conversely believe that family doesn’t necessarily equate blood relation. Case in point—ACHA members.

People who care about you and ask how you’re doing are just the sort of people who are critical to our wellbeing. These are the individuals I prefer to surround myself with—those who think of others while also living by example. They give advice about friendship and clearly have a very strong group of friends. They send you a thank you card for birthday and holiday gifts even though it’s not expected. They come to your workshops and artistic events, not because you go to theirs, but because they want to support you.

I consider myself very fortunate to have a good number of friends that I consider family. I can whine and complain without feeling ridiculous. I can call them in tears over the silliest thing and know that they understand completely. I enjoy being in their company, whether that involves sitting on the couch chatting, going out to eat or seeing a Broadway show. I adore and value my friends just as much as I do my relatives.

I wholeheartedly believe that there are certain people who are meant to be a part of our life. Sometimes it’s for an entire lifetime. Or perhaps only a chance meeting. Either way, the interaction and connection moves us forward.

I’ve never met most of the ACHA members or staff but I am proud to be associated with them. They stand up for one another. Support one another. Ask each other about their families, health and overall wellbeing.

I struggled with identifying myself as a “real” adult congenital heart patient because I realized that my defect/illness/surgery was nowhere near as complicated or life-threatening as others. I didn’t feel justified in discussing my remaining issues or conflicts because it felt as though I was whining. Growing up I never knew anyone else who had open heart surgery as a child. I dealt with, and came to terms with, the resulting experiences without anyone to identify with.

That’s why I am so honored to be a part of this group now. I am proud to call myself an ACHA member. I sign up for walks, donate money and write these blogs because the work this organization does matters. It matters to those of us who survive, those who have passed on and those young ones who will one day need the services ACHA provides.

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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.