Living with a CHD is a life filled with milestones. Milestones are used to measure distance on roads, much like mile markers on highways are used today. They help us gauge how far we have traveled, and how many miles may be ahead in our journey. As a child, milestones did not have the meaning as they do today. So, it was confusing to witness my parents celebrating a day each year that was not my birthday. My parents would measure my progress each year since my heart surgery.
As an adult, I love those milestones. It is amazing to think about how far medicine and science has developed in the last 42 years since I had my surgery. I never remembered the anniversary date of my surgery. It was well after my college years before the date had any meaning to me, and even then it was not a big deal. Today, it is a big deal! Some could claim their day as a second birthday. We could always use extra gifts and cake.
Not all journeys are smooth, and there will be detours along the way. As an adult with CHD, no matter where you are in the journey, count and cherish each milestone. Take time to invest in your health, educate, and arm yourself with the latest information. Having the resources of the Adult Congenital Heart Association is a major milestone in how far our care has progressed. In 1995, I had my first adult congenital check-up. I remember the program being a tiny part of the pediatric cardiology department. There was a feeling of being alone. I was not aware of the supportive community that we enjoy today.
Celebrate your milestones, share your stories with others, and continue helping make the journey better for all of those who will travel our path. For me, I no longer see my condition as a burden; it is a blessing, and an opportunity for life.
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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.