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A Thankfulness Theme

Thursday, December 11, 2014

By Becca Atherton

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving that was spent with family, friends and laughter! When considering what I am thankful for, I thought about all the amazing things I have in my life—and I noticed a recurring theme. All of these amazing things in my life are because of my health. It's odd to think that something that is so terrible has still managed to bring so much joy into my life.

If I hadn't been born with my life-threatening lung disease and heart defect, I more than likely would not have been put up for adoption. I wouldn't have the wonderful family that I do now if it weren't for my pulmonary hypertension and congenital heart disease.

If I hadn't been adopted by my family, I would never have gone to my church and I wouldn't have my amazing church family—a church family that has been with me ever since I was a baby, supporting me and praying for me.

If I had been able to play outside during school recess, I never would've helped out in the school preschool where I learned and fell in love with American Sign Language. This has been part of my life since I was nine years old and has been an amazing coping mechanism and also introduced me to amazing people who are still my great friends.

All of the friends I made at heart camps throughout my life wouldn't be in my life if I had been born healthy.

If I had been able to run, maybe I wouldn't have taken up writing, which is another coping mechanism for me.

It was because of my PH that we had to travel all the way to New York, a city that I absolutely love and adore. I fell in love with Broadway and the music there. It was because of PH that I experienced the magic of the musical and later on in high school made sure I was involved in the drama department as much as I could be.

All of the family and friends who are closest to me, I wouldn't even know if I had been born healthy and not put up for adoption. All of the wonderful memories I share with those closest to me, I wouldn't have been able to. Yes, there is suffering with my illness, but it helps me to cope with it all if I remember that some of the most important people and parts of my life have come from these illnesses.

So as strange as this sounds, I am thankful for my pulmonary hypertension and congenital heart defects.

What are you thankful for?

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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.

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