By Jennifer Rogers
5 Feb

What Heart Month Means to Me

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

It’s finally February, which means Heart Month is here! I don’t know about you, but this has to be one of my favorite months. It’s an exciting time of year, known for eating as much chocolate as possible and feeling mushy-gushy about our significant other. But, more importantly, it’s also a huge window of opportunity to educate ourselves and others how to keep our hearts healthy.

Let me ask you something: What does Heart Month mean to you? Really, please stop and think about it.

For me, growing up, it mostly meant I was the girl with the scar on her chest. I was born with a heart defect, had surgery because of it, and thought that was the end of my story. I lived a fairly normal life without complications. To be completely honest, ignorance was bliss.

However, a few years ago, I realized how important it is to understand the full details of my diagnosis. Only after my introduction to ACHA in 2017 did I begin to understand everything my cardiologist had told me my entire life. Meeting others with a congenital heart defect was the biggest blessing I never knew I needed.

In 2018, I had my second open heart surgery to replace my pulmonary valve. It was much sooner than we expected, but the timing could not have been more perfect. In just one year, I had met other heart patients, learned more about my diagnosis, and had a second major procedure done on my heart. These experiences led me to realize I am destined to be a patient advocate.

I never asked to be born with a heart defect; it’s a pre-existing condition I will have for the rest of my life. But I do have the power to choose how I let my condition affect me. I believe it is important to gain as much knowledge as possible about a diagnosis. Education saves lives. That’s why I have become so invested in patient advocacy. It is the reason why I write these blogs, participate in our walks, and share awareness posts on social media.

 As scary as it is to say, CHD does not discriminate. It can impact anyone. So, it’s important to inform as many people as possible. The reason Heart Month is so important to me is because I feel it provides the platform we need to truly reach new people. I think it’s fitting that there is an entire month dedicated to spreading awareness and knowledge about heart health.

I want to encourage you to get out there and share your story, especially this month. You might be amazed by the power and impact of your words. Tell the world what Heart Month means to you. Why? Because you are alive and well enough to tell it!

Let me leave you with this quote from author Mel Robbins, “You have been assigned this mountain so that you can show others it can be moved.”

My fellow heart warriors, this is our time to shine!

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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.