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Not Just the Heart Girl

Friday, January 17, 2014

By Amber West

I have been going through some things recently with my congenital heart condition. Nothing bad—I am actually healthy. It’s just that people around me have been viewing me as weak, which I hate more than anything.

I know I have limits and I know I can’t do as much as everyone else, but I am not weak or a baby. Ever since I was young, I have had people treat me differently for having a heart condition—I wasn’t “cool” enough because of my CHD. My family and very close friends never did, though. 

Kids and adults can say hurtful things. I have always tried my hardest not to let what people say to me hurt me. When I was young, I used to just give in to what people said to me and never reacted. The older I have gotten, I have changed. I won’t let anyone put me down because of my heart and I won’t let anyone define me because of my CHD.

Yes, I have a heart condition—in my opinion it just makes me super special. God must have saved me for some pretty awesome stuff. That last little part may sound a bit conceited. But it’s true in a way. When you are on your deathbed at six weeks old and life is literally breathed back into you, I believe there has to be a reason.

I have never defined myself by my heart condition and it upsets me when people look at me or refer to me as “the heart girl.” When I got engaged, people said to my parents, “She found someone to marry her. That’s nice.” Seriously, I am not some alien from another planet. I just have CHD. Why can’t I get married just like a “normal” person?

Yes, I have tricuspid atresia. It is a part of me, but it is not who I am. I am so much more. My life has not been easy at times, but I have made it through, because I am more. I am strong. I am a fighter. I am a child of God. I am a wife. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am happy, outgoing, and funny. I am sarcastic. I am loyal. I am a friend. I am a teacher. I am more than tricuspid atresia. I will not let my condition define me, because I am so much more.

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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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