Posts by Kim Russell

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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Let Me Introduce Myself...

by Kim Russell on Thursday, Jan 05, 2017

Before I start, let me say it is a pleasure to meet you! Oh, I may not know you by name, but I am quite sure that we have a shared interest in congenital heart disease (CHD). Those are the people I enjoy meeting most, because CHD has become my passion.

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An Impactful Change

by Kim Russell on Thursday, Sep 29, 2016

Have you ever considered the impact that the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) has had in your life? The true support they have provided for you as an adult with congenital heart disease (CHD)? Before writing this blog, I had never truly thought through how much ACHA has changed my life and that of my family. Thank you, ACHA, for all you have been to me for the past twelve years. Thank you for the experiences and friendships I have had because of all of you!

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Passing the Heart Torch: Are You Up for the Challenge?

by Kim Russell on Tuesday, Dec 08, 2015

As a 55-year-old with a double inlet left ventricle, pulmonary atresia, chronic cyanosis, and recently-acquired pulmonary hypertension, I remain very active in the CHD community, both in Atlanta and nationally for ACHA. A couple of weeks ago, a local hospital called to ask if I would help find CHD adults to be on a panel at a recent teen transition conference. I have helped arrange and have participated in this panel discussion for several years, so I was excited to be a part of it again.

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A Life-Changing Event

by Kim Russell on Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015

In 2004 my CHD cardiologist finally talked me into attending the first ACHA conference. At the same time, my local cardiologist got me to agree to volunteer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Camp Braveheart, a camp for children ages 7-18 with CHD. Both events completely changed my life forever.

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Taking a Slithery Challenge for CHD

by Kim Russell on Friday, Apr 10, 2015

Have you benefited from a prenatal diagnosis of your CHD baby? Have you searched out specialized adult care because of something you read or learned about in an ACHA resource or at an event? These sorts of efforts are examples of those funded by donors like yourself through individual giving or by donating to a Congenital Heart Walk!

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Parents Have a CHD Story, Too

by Kim Russell on Wednesday, Feb 11, 2015

When I expressed interest in writing this blog, I had no idea how hard it would be to express to parents how much CHDers genuinely appreciate them. What better way than to say, “Thank you! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!”

Magazine articles, websites, Facebook pages and organizations report that 1 in 100 babies is born with a CHD. Usually facts about these children and their struggles of dealing with CHD are listed: illness, surgeries, recoveries, and challenges that meet each CHDer the minute he/she is born. Each child has his/her own story and all of them are miraculous.

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Heart to Heart in Atlanta

by Kim Russell on Thursday, Oct 09, 2014

"I wanted to go to the ACHA National Conference, but wasn't able to. This Heart to Heart Where You Live event in Atlanta was a great opportunity to experience it in part on a local level," was a common comment heard after our event this past Saturday. People came from as far away as Arkansas to enjoy time together with fellow CHDers and hear informative speakers who talked about topics such as lifelong care, low-carb diet, and the electricity of the heart.

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When I Finally Met People With CHD

by Kim Russell on Thursday, Aug 21, 2014

While recently visiting with a social worker at an ACHD clinic, I found out that there are still adult CHDers who have never met anyone else with CHD. I remember that feeling. It wasn’t one that was talked about or that I verbalized, but it was one that was forever in the back of my mind.

“Am I the only one going through this?” “Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to talk to who understands what this is like?”

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Sharing My Adoption Story

by Kim Russell on Tuesday, Jun 17, 2014

“She will not be able to bear children,” the doctor said. Of course, this was disappointing, but understandable. “She can’t have children?” my mother asked the doctor.

The doctor shook his head. “No, I said she cannot bear children. She will need to adopt. And there are many children out there who need good families.”

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Growing Up with CHD, Into a Precious Piece of Art

by Kim Russell on Thursday, Apr 10, 2014

Over the past few years, I have had opportunity to visit with many CHD parents across the United States. Listening to their stories, triumphs and challenges has made me realize that their work is much like that of a sculpting artist.

They find out their child has CHD, which is something they know nothing about—they have been given a precious amount of molding clay. So the first thing they do is gather all the tools and information they will need to form this precious child into a strong, independent adult. Then they begin their work of molding, so that each curve and edge is just the right shape.

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Starting Out Small

by Kim Russell on Thursday, Feb 13, 2014

It seems that society has trained us to think of exercise in terms of weight maintenance and toning muscles. But my experience has shown that it does a whole lot more! No energy to exercise, you say? Let me share my story. I found that my thinking was clearer, my pulmonary function was much better and I felt so much better as a person by exercising! Even starting with the smallest, slowest of exercises is still helpful. Here’s how I know!

Two years ago I arrived at my cardiology appointment fatigued, blue, and frustrated. The doctor explained that none of the tests, echos, EKGs or bloodwork showed any serious changes related to my heart. Once again, my cardiologists reviewed the “CHD rules” for dental care, sodium restrictions and exercise.

“You are exercising, right?” she asked.

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Disclaimer

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.