Our ACHA bloggers cover many topics relevant to the CHD community. 

CHD and Sports

by Deb Flaherty-Kizer on Friday, Jul 07, 2017

Sports? Me? No way. “Sports” and “athlete” were never words in my vocabulary. My CHD diagnosis was not made until I was a young adult—it was thought I just had a heart murmur—so I never linked my tiredness to a heart condition. I was not athletic as a child, never understanding why I couldn’t run as fast as the other kids or keep up with them in gym class. I was usually the last one picked for a team, and was often bullied for my lack of athletic prowess. For me, team sports did not work. I felt like a total failure in all things athletic. Thank goodness, I excelled at academics.

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Adult Congenital Heart Disease: Changing Habits And Modifying Lifestyles

by Allison M. Callender, PA-C on Monday, Jul 03, 2017

Even though we are part of Texas Children’s Hospital, at the Texas Adult Congenital Heart Center (TACH Center) we see adult patients every day. Our patients, like many adults, face the challenge of changing habits and modifying their lifestyles.

As a physician assistant, I embrace my responsibility not only as a healthcare provider, but also a health educator. For example, I look for opportunities to empower each patient to take responsibility of his or her health plan. I stress that we need to be partners in this process; we are equal partners with equal, though different, responsibilities. This arrangement makes sense to patients, and they outwardly embrace it.

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The Guilt of Living with a Heart Condition

by Emily Moore on Wednesday, Jun 21, 2017

Throughout my childhood, my heart condition was never something that defined me. Growing up with it, it was almost like I didn’t even know. More recently, with getting married and wanting to start my own family, it has come to the forefront of my mind. My heart condition was always just a part of me, and I honestly didn’t do anything different because of it.

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by Allie Gasiorowski on Friday, Jun 09, 2017

I am one in 100. And after this past weekend at the Adult Congenital Heart Association’s (ACHA) 8th National Conference, I am also, proudly and passionately, one of 502. I am one person of the 502 people who attended this conference, who furthered our knowledge of congenital heart defects (CHD), met others with our same conditions, surgeries, limitations and backgrounds, and learned what we can do to advocate for ourselves and our heart family and make the Adult Congenital Heart Association the leading nonprofit serving the CHD community in the world. In the simplest of terms, after this weekend, I am amazed and empowered.

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Ways to Beat Stress

by Deb Flaherty-Kizer on Thursday, May 04, 2017

Stress, both good and bad, is part of life. Most of us experience the stressors of work, school, and family that we must deal with regularly. There are also event stressors such as starting a new job, moving, losing a loved one, and so on. The list is endless.

However, living with a congenital heart disease can pose additional stressors—surgeries, recoveries, checkups, and medical exams come loaded with their own unique stressors.

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A Message to Jimmy Kimmel and His Family

by Paula Miller on Wednesday, May 03, 2017

By now we’re sure you’ve seen the news about Jimmy Kimmel’s son, who was born on April 21 with a congenital heart defect. The message we shared below on Facebook to Jimmy and his family is from ACHA’s Senior Education Manager Paula Miller.

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My “Heart Family”

by Allie Gasiorowski on Thursday, Apr 27, 2017

Throughout the first 12 years of my life, I was presented with a few opportunities to meet other patients with congenital heart defects. There were no other young heart patients that I knew of at school, in my community theater family, or in my dance classes, but throughout my four heart surgeries, my family and I connected with patients in the hospital enduring the same everyday struggles.

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Thoughts on the Eve of My Eleventh Heart Surgery

by Clare Almand on Tuesday, Apr 04, 2017

Tomorrow, I’m having my eleventh heart surgery.* Whenever I’m about to have surgery, I go through the same emotions. Most of my feelings go back to how absurd it is that this is a normal thing in my life. The following is a mostly concise description of what I’ve been thinking about.

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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.