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Posts by Yvonne Hall

We have had dozens of bloggers since this blog began who have been so open with their stories. If you are interested in blogging, too, we'd love to hear from you. Please email info@achaheart.org.

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Imperfect is Good Enough

by Yvonne Hall on Monday, Feb 29, 2016

I was fortunate enough this past weekend to attend an Embrace and Empower You seminar organized and hosted by a young mom whose daughter is living with a rare congenital condition. This seminar, and its panel of speakers, was not about congenital illness, but the necessity of our own self-care. The theme of her presentation centered on the affirmation, “I am imperfect and I am enough.”

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The Silver Thread Returns

by Yvonne Hall on Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Life tends to go in a straight line, sometimes wobbling a bit here and there until suddenly it doesn’t. During the calmer times it’s easy to be convinced that previously worrisome health situations have magically gone and to believe that you are finally “home free” from the stresses of the past. None of us want to admit setbacks may occur from time to time, but the reality is that they do.

We don’t have to like it. Unfortunately we may have no choice but to accept it.

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The Hurry Up and Wait Room

by Yvonne Hall on Thursday, Aug 20, 2015

”Well, here I am again,” I sighed. It was 7 a.m. and the hospital waiting room was still empty. My husband was undergoing day surgery, scheduled for 8 a.m. and this was my sixth visit here in four years. Settling in for a minimum six-hour wait, I remind myself once more to be grateful to be on the waiting room side of the situation.

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Humor Makes It Better

by Yvonne Hall on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I don’t know how you do it! That is without doubt the most common phrase I’ve heard over five decades of parenting my CHD daughter. It probably sounds familiar and if you’re also a parent of a child with CHD you’ve thought as I have: “What are my options? I just do it.”

Digging deeper, I realize a key element to navigating tough times was our humor. Norman Cousins got it right by deciding to laugh his way to recovery. Although not a scientifically proven antidote, he survived for decades beyond his “expiry date”—proof enough for me.

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Never a Burden

by Yvonne Hall on Monday, Mar 30, 2015

Recently, during a casual conversation with my daughter about personal fears, Lorie revealed that being a burden has been a lifetime concern for her. Last year after her brain surgery, that fear became especially real. During her initial recovery, she admitted she’d despaired over why she had survived the transplant only to suffer this debilitating setback. Everything familiar had changed. She no longer knew who she was.

In retrospect, Lorie had been struggling with mild depression. She was tired of fighting to survive. Though strength had abandoned her, thankfully a subconscious determination to live took over. This clearly wasn’t the time to remind her that she had once again defied all odds by surviving a surgery so few do. She was simply tired of it all.

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A Time to be Grateful

by Yvonne Hall on Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014

The Christmas season has always been a time of celebration and excitement in our household and it brings me joy to see this love of the season carry on in my children as they create their own traditions and memories with their families. No matter how busy December becomes, my rituals must include time to gratefully reflect on all the blessings life has given me.

Inevitably memories of distressing and worrisome holiday seasons resurface as well, which only serves to remind me how truly fortunate I am. Regrettably, over the past few years December didn’t turn out according to expectations and it began to feel as though our family Decembers were jinxed—rather than the joyful times we were accustomed to.

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Why Worry? It Will Probably Never Happen

by Yvonne Hall on Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Last week I lost a dear friend, three short weeks after she received a frightening diagnosis. This beautiful, caring lady always showed concern about my daughter Lorie’s condition, offering a reassuring word. Her state of health was never a worry, so how could we know she would be the one taken so suddenly? Her untimely death reminded me of the uncertainty of the future and the futility of wasting our present moments worrying about what may or may not happen.

This unexpected loss drove home to me once again the truth of the affirmation I keep posted on my computer screen, “Why worry? It will probably never happen.” This can be tough to embrace but so very true.

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Tips for Cardiac Parents, Part 2

by Yvonne Hall on Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014

In the fall, before my daughter’s latest crisis, I posted the first in a series of tidbits I wanted to share with parents of cardiac patients on what I have learned through decades of trial and error. Some of these memories are positive but others will address where possibly better choices could have been made. This message relates to how easy it is to forget our other children‘s needs during such times.

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Remembering the Caregiver’s Well-Being

by Yvonne Hall on Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014

Since my daughter’s transplant two years ago, each day has been one of relief and gratitude. Lorie’s recovery has been truly miraculous, even surprising her medical teams. Admittedly, I was becoming complacent. Then without warning, the proverbial “other shoe fell.”

How could she possibly be undergoing brain surgery and what were we doing back in the ICU waiting room? This past month has been a blur of doctors, hospitals, waiting rooms and travel. Lorie has contracted a bacterial infection in her brain diagnosed by a rapidly-growing abscess. Infection is the enemy of transplant patients, but a brain infection was almost beyond the comprehension of her family, as well as her transplant team.

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Releasing the Ghosts of Christmases Past

by Yvonne Hall on Thursday, Jan 02, 2014

Five years ago, it seemed impossible that my daughter would be healthy, happy and partaking in family Christmas festivities. December had become the month to dread and with good reason.

As each Christmas season approached, Lorie unexpectedly suffered health setbacks and for two seasons her condition was nearly fatal. The approach of December then became filled with apprehension and fear that Christmas would again be marred by health concerns.

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Crossing the Street

by Yvonne Hall on Monday, Nov 18, 2013

I recently had the privilege of being invited to participate in a transition orientation day conference at Toronto General Hospital. The purpose of this day, aptly named “Crossing the Street,” was to help educate parents of teenagers presently at SickKids Hospital who will soon be transitioning to the adult hospital across the street. It was also designed to alleviate the fears of these teens and covered all topics of concern in making this adult shift in their lives.

Doctors, coordinators, counselors and experienced parents were available to offer information and assist everyone present with their questions and concerns. It was presented in a relaxed, informal environment where everyone could share experiences and answer questions regarding navigating to an adult hospital system.

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Tips for Cardiac Parents, Part 1

by Yvonne Hall on Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013

A few months ago I was discussing with an author friend how I couldn’t seem to get to my writing. I didn’t know where to go with it. She immediately asked me one simple question that got the creative juices flowing again.

“What ten pieces of advice you would offer a parent of a congenital heart patient?” She then followed with, “That will give you the first ten chapters of your book.”

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Loving Thoughts for Caregivers

by Yvonne Hall on Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013

Never once during decades of caregiving did I ever consider I might lose myself in the process.

I was just 20 when I became a mom for the second time but this time was different. My baby daughter was diagnosed with a heart condition called tricuspid atresia and my world was about to change. Hindsight shows me that my entire adult life has been overshadowed by her condition and unknowingly somewhere along the way, I lost “me.”

This shocked me because I had a busy life filled with my own drama and her care was simply another element of mothering. Failed relationships, divorce, and working full time as a single mother to two young daughters were just some of the challenges I faced. My life was busy and I juggled my responsibilities like any busy mom or dad would do.

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New Adventures

by Yvonne Hall on Thursday, Jun 20, 2013

The past few weeks have been filled with firsts for my daughter, Lorie. Sadly, we too often take many ordinary experiences for granted, but anyone with a compromised lifestyle understands ordinary doesn’t exist.

Lorie, a congenital heart patient, underwent a lifesaving transplant in March 2012. As a child she lived as normal a life as her health would allow, but there were restrictions on her physical activities. Riding a bike was one such restriction. Her one attempt resulted in catapulting over the handlebars, which signaled the end to her biking endeavors.

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My Silver Thread

by Yvonne Hall on Thursday, Apr 04, 2013

Raising a child with CHD can present more than its share of crisis, but I have learned over the years with my daughter Lorie that such times are part of a greater plan. Many setbacks over the years rendered her survival tenuous but were actually stepping stones to unimaginable positive outcomes. I have named these invisible connections my silver thread and learned to be hopeful despite present realities.

My scariest moment in Lorie’s journey occurred four years ago when she suffered an embolism. Most people, even without her fragile condition, don’t recover and for the first time I had to consider the unthinkable possibility she wouldn’t survive.

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A Mother’s Perspective

by Yvonne Hall on Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013

How do I recap 50 years in a few words?

Raising a child with CHD alters your life forever and takes you places you never dreamed you would go. Lorelei Hill, fellow blogger and recent heart transplant recipient, is my daughter. Now, being able to share her experiences to benefit others is Lorie’s dream come true and witnessing this phenomenon is mine.

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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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