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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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"The Shoes Stay On"

by Brenna on Thursday, Jan 29, 2015

On the Friday before Labor Day, many years ago, I was excited to meet a friend for a girls’ night out in Los Angeles with dinner, drinks, dancing—the whole enchilada of fun (maybe even some awesome enchiladas). Instead, I was directed by my doctor to go to the closest ER to get an EKG.

I had been feeling a little slow, lethargic, even light-headed. My mother and I met at the ER after work. The doctors told me to change into a hospital gown in order to run a few more tests. I was in a nice brown dress and my favorite new shoes, green and brown silk open-toed with a 4-inch wooden wedge—totally worth the price. I told them, "OK, but the shoes stay on."

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But I Drink Kale.

by Brenna on Friday, Oct 17, 2014

My 68-year-old father was recently put on a low-sodium diet by his cardiologist. The very next day, my cardiologist put me on a low-sodium diet. I'm not 68. I still pass for 28.

At first it was funny. Me? Me—the girl who eats mostly fruits, veggies, and no red meat. Me—the girl who only eats fried food once a month and only if it's off of somebody else's plate. Me—the girl with a sweet tooth but who can turn a half-inch square of chocolate into five bites. Me? But...I drink kale.

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How Facebook Helped Me Get to (Cardiac) Rehab

by Brenna on Monday, Jun 30, 2014

I sat there staring at the phone. My mom’s last words echoing in my head, “Call cardiac rehab, set up an appointment.” I was terrified. The fact that I was even awake was a good sign and now they wanted me to walk on a treadmill? I could barely walk across the house without getting winded. I was just starting to hold down food again and now they wanted me to get dressed, stop clutching my pillow to my broken sternum, and heal? Who were these monsters?

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by Brenna on Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I grew up "normal." What does that even mean? For my family, "that" meant "cautiously optimistic." That was the way my family dealt with my heart condition: We didn't know what to expect, so why dwell?

The first two years of my life were hard on everybody, from what I was told. My father was scolded at the market for having a blue baby who was "obviously cold." My brother spent a lot of time with our amazing grandparents. And my mother, who didn't even want children until meeting my father, couldn't do anything but watch and hold on. So once it was done—after all the surgeries, tubes, and support groups—we were a "normal" family.

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Health Above All

by Brenna on Tuesday, Mar 25, 2014

Last night as I tried to pull my sleepy boyfriend off the couch, I realized that I might need to do more weight training. The fact that I can even consider lifting weights is a far cry from where I once was. If open heart surgery has taught me anything, it’s that the numbers on the scale don’t matter; being as healthy as possible is most important and should never be taken for granted.

After my first pacemaker implant, I was told that I would need a Fontan revision open heart surgery. I was 23 years old, didn’t even remember my first open heart surgery, and was deeply unsettled by this news.

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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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