By Kathleen Hutchinson
9 Jul

What’s Next?

Thursday, July 09, 2015

As July approached, I thought about what to write this month. Do I talk about body image, how having a heart defect affects potential romantic relationships, or could I tweak a personal blog that I wrote shortly after my recent open heart surgery about what they don’t tell you before a major surgery?

None of them felt right.

ACHA does a great webinar series on body image. I read stories about how heart defects affect potential romantic relationships, and though it’s extremely unfortunate that it does happen, it’s so unbelievable it’s almost not worth the energy discussing it. And would it really help anyone here to know what they don’t tell you before a major surgery? Maybe not.

I struggle now too as Kelly Deeny expressed last month in her blog about what to write about. Just recently on an online Facebook support group for women, Zipper Sisters: Women with CHD, someone asked what I have been thinking for a long time: “Am I the only one who feels like my heart problem ISN'T a problem?”

I’ve written in previous blogs how I feel better than I ever have. I can actually breathe. I attribute my like for exercise now to the fact that I can get air. I become exerted with exercise, of course, but I no longer suffer from being so out of breath that I huff and I puff just to get air.

Up until my open heart surgery last November, most of my scars were faded. Now, I have a few new scars and my “zipper” is more prominent since my surgery was so recent. I am a little bothered by them but overall, they are what they are.

As shocking it may be to some, I find a lot of women talk about men not being able to “deal” with their heart problems. Though it’s happened to me, it’s still shocking. I understand that some experience a lot more health issues than others and having to spend a lot of time going to and from doctor appointments is not a way of life some would choose—but unless someone is basically healthy like myself, what is there to “deal” with?

I can only speak for myself. I’ve lived a normal life of traveling, being relatively active and having a good career. OK, I probably wouldn’t climb Mount Everest and if I did, it would just take me longer. I still shake my head, but the bottom line is that if they can’t “deal” with it, it’s their problem and they’re not the one for you.

So I’m left with reflecting on Kelly’s blog, how I wanted to hear more about how her CHD affects her in mind and spirit (she expressed this but did not elaborate, possibly we’ll have to wait until her next blog) and how she overcame this. I’m in the process of writing a book about my spiritual journey. Having been faced with a life-threatening situation, my hope is to inspire others to recognize that life is short, to live a life with no regrets, and to have the courage to live a life true to themselves and be happy.

If more of us shared not just our struggles but how we get through them, I believe a lot of people would benefit from these “success” stories. We’re all in this together and people are struggling, seems more now than ever. Inspiring stories provide hope—hope that they too can and will handle what they’re going through and come out of it “successfully.”

I’ve shared some of how I made it through my recent struggles in my last blog, No Regrets. For the rest you’ll have to wait until September when I self-publish my book or in future blog posts. If there are topics you are curious about, let us know. Until then, please, find your happiness and live!

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