Dear Pediatric Cardiac Team,
I’d like to tell you that April will mark a huge milestone in the course of my life, as it will be 30 years since that tiny first grader—me!—Ellen Jenny Greenberg, had her first of many surgeries. Yes, you read correctly—30 years since my classic Fontan procedure. I still remember explaining my surgery to my class, and one boy saying, “So you’ll be dead during it,” and my quick response was “No, the machine will be breathing and beating my heart for me.”
It would be a treat to somehow see all of you and give you a great big hug and kiss for providing me with this precious gift of life. Bravo to all of you on a job well done as my healthcare team and family for nearly 24 years. I couldn’t be prouder to have had the chance to know all of you so intimately.
The longevity you’ve provided me is a success indeed. It has allowed me to drive, vote, graduate high school, perform in high school and college productions and even become a child life specialist. I went on to seek higher education and eventually became an early childhood teacher.
I know growing up I certainly had doubts of what my limitations would be from time to time, as the field of adult congenital heart care was uncharted territory. It was those moments of doubt and fear that often propelled me to work harder academically, professionally and as always, musically.
Now at 37, I live a nice life with my parents whom I know you remember fondly. I lived for many years on my own; health circumstances came in the way of that, but not in my attitude to stick to my guns. Take chances and push to stay healthy. I’ve always been a compliant patient.
I spoke at a local ACHA event about my experience and how it impacted my work as a child life specialist. I even had the nerve to audition for America’s Got Talent and got out of it what I wanted—the sheer exhilaration of taking a chance. I want to tell you so much more. In summary, thank you does not cover it or my excitement for this milestone, but a huge thank you from me to you!
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