Tag Archives: Health

❤️ CHD | My Story ❤️

I think I’ve written a similar post like this a couple of years ago, however as it is Congenital Heart Defects Awareness week, I thought I would once again let you into  huge part of my life that has shaped the person I am today.

My parents didn’t know that anything was wrong with me until the day I was born (although my mum’s body had produced a lot more water in her pregnancy in order to protect me whilst I grew. It’s amazing how nature knew there was a problem and yet no one else did). I was soon diagnosed with a condition called Fallot’s Tetralogy. This is where there are four defects found with the heart:

  1. Pulmonary Stenosis (A narrowing of the Pulmonary Valve).
  2. Ventricular Septal Defect (A hole in the heart).
  3. Right Ventricular Hypertrophy (The left side of my heart over compensated and meant the muscle thicker than it should be).
  4. Over-riding Aorta (The Aorta lies over the hole and allows some deoxygenated blood to be taken around the body).

I really don’t want to get too scientific, but if you want to,  you can read up further on the condition here.

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Although I was born with the condition, I was too small to operate on and so I had one operation around the age of one to put me on until I could have the full open heart surgery at two years old. I am so glad that I was very young when I had the operation as I barely remember any of it. However it pains me to think what my parents were going through, I can’t imagine what it must feel like to see your child hooked up to numerous monitors. They really are the bravest people I know.

Luckily everything went well during my operation. I made a fast recovery in hospital and when it was time to go home, I was watching Teletubbies and didn’t want to leave!

I don’t really have that many memories of being in hospital. I mean I was two years old so it is a very long time ago! Though there are three snapshots that have stuck with me. One was when my Grandad came to visit. I had my operation in December and so there was a Christmas tree on the ward. He got me out of my bed and walked me over to it. I know it doesn’t seem like that much of a big deal, but it is the small moments like this that are the most precious, especially when it was shared with my Grandad. He is such a special person  in my life who I have the utmost respect for, and I know this memory will stick with him too.

Something else I remember is when I went for a bath we found a toy plane on the side. I think it belonged to another child there on the ward, but I remember playing with it.

The last thing I remember is more of a scent than a memory. There was a dad and his daughter on the ward next to me and she had apple scented hairspray. I think he gave my mum a bottle for me or told her where to purchase it from because I am sure that when I left the hospital I still had this hairspray with me. I just know that it smelt amazing.

Having the operation has saved my life. If I hadn’t have had it, I probably wouldn’t have made it past my tenth birthday, and if I had done, I could be in a wheel chair right now – which is so terrifying to think about. It has meant that I can lead a completely normal life. I’ve taken dance classes, achieved my Black-Belt in Taekwondo, been in numerous plays. Even had to do cross country at Highschool… as rubbish as it is running around a field in the freezing cold, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

I still have trips to the hospital for check ups and echocardiograms (kind of like an ultrasound on my heart). I’ve even been told that I may have to have another operation in years to come – though my Grandad is adamant that this wont happen. But if it wasn’t for the scars on my body, it would almost be impossible to tell that I have a Congenital Heart Defect.

I am super grateful to all of my doctors and surgeons who have taken care of me throughout the whole of my life and my parents for being the most patient, understanding, loving people on this planet. They have been with me through thick and thin, and if it wasn’t for them I have no idea who I would be right now. I owe them everything.

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If you or your child are going through the motions of having open heart surgery, please know that it can and does get better. I know everyone’s conditions are different and in my case I thank God every night for how lucky I have been. You have to stay strong and positive and realise you are not alone and things will pick up.

I’m no expert on the disease, but I have been through it, so if you want to drop me an email and talk to me about my experiences or what you’re going through then please don’t hesitate. It would be great to hear from you!

❤️ ❤️ ❤️

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❤︎ Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week ❤︎

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It is Congenital Heart Defects Awareness week and so I thought I would try and do a blog post a day about it. That was until my internet went down for the past two days! So this is the post that should have gone up on Monday… I am extremely sorry!

To start the week off I thought I would explain a little bit about what Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) mean, and how it affects people’s lives.

1 in 100 babies are born with CHD, and according to The Children’s Heart Foundation, this equates to over 40,000 babies being born every year with a heart defect in America alone. This means every 15 minutes a child is born with a heart condition and as frightening and sad as it may be, 20% of these children will not see their first birthday.

CHDs range from babies being born with half a heart, to babies needing pacemakers, or even having a problem with one of their heart’s arteries. CHD is anything that is an abnormality with your heart’s structure and is something that you are born with. Although it is often seen as a childhood condition, it is important to stress that Congenital Heart Defects are for life. You are constantly bobbing to and from hospital and, considering on how serious your condition is, many heart babies grow up needing further surgery in later life.

Some CHDs can be detected before birth, however most are found out once the baby is born. A lot of CHDs go undetected though and can seriously effect someone’s adulthood if the condition is not discovered – they could even lead to death.

It is one of the most common birth defects and yet is one of the most underfunded for research, and this needs to change.

The reason I’m writing about CHD is because through no fault of their own, so many people have little or no knowledge about the condition whatsoever. Something needs to be done about this and more awareness must be raised.

Throughout the week I will be posting information about CHD, I will be sharing my own and other survivor’s stories so please stay tuned and keep reading to find out more. Being a Heart Warrior myself, CHD is something that, as cliché as this sounds, I hold extremely close to my heart. It has played a huge part in my life and has shaped the person I am today.

Please share my blog and please raise awareness of the disease. I cannot get over to you how important it is that more people learn about this condition.

The more awareness raised, the more lives saved.

Let’s fight CHD a heartbeat at a time x

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Bach Rescue Remedy | Review

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I don’t normally do health posts, so this is brand new to me, but I feel like I have to share my experience with this Bach Rescue Remedy.

I bought this rescue remedy before my driving test. It was my fifth attempt and I felt as though I needed something to help calm me down in order to get me through my exam. I started taking it a few days before to see if it  made me sleepy and to get it into my system. At this point of time I suffered no side effects and so decided it was fine to take on the day. Whether it was just a lucky day, or it was because I had taken this remedy, I passed my driving test with one minor.

I don’t know if this proves that they work… but I did feel a lot calmer and a lot less shaky. If it was the placebo effect then hey! Who cares? I got through my test.

I didn’t really use them after that. If I knew I had a few stressful shifts at work coming up I’d have some before I went out, but I’ve never really needed to take them.

Over the past few weeks a lot has happened in my life. I wont bore you with the details, but I’ve felt quite stressed, very over worked and just not myself.

So I decided to try this rescue remedy again to see if it would just take the edge off how I felt.

To be fair, it hasn’t really worked as much as I wanted it to, but it has calmed me down on a few occasions.

Then the other night I thought I would take some before bed to see if it would help me sleep. I will tell you now. Never do this.

I haven’t had such vivid, trippy nightmares in my life before. I’ve never done drugs and never intend to but I imagine this is how it feels to be high. I dreamt that I had traveled to a parallel universe and that I wasn’t wanted there. Everything had a hazy purple and blue tinge to it. I remember being in a glass tree house and my housemate was trying to murder me. Honestly it was the weirdest dream that felt so real it was just horrible. Then a really tall man was trying to send me ‘back’ – where to I have no idea. He told me I wasn’t wanted there and I had to say a chant to leave where ever I was. As soon as I’d finished saying the chant I woke up in bed, completely dripping head to toe in sweat and feeling adamant that I had been to another world.

It was such a strange experience and such a horrible nightmare that I do not want to ever have again.

After this had happened, I did a bit of research and found a few forums where people had experienced the same things. There are a lot of people who have said that they believed they ventured into different realities and woke up in their room feeling very disorientated and not really knowing what had happened.

I have only taken Rescue Remedy once before bed so I can’t say that these dreams happened because of this. However, I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life before and with other people feeling the same way after taking them,  I can only put it down to this.

I would not recommend taking these before bed, but in the day they seem to work.

Make of this what you will… and please let me know how my first ‘health’ review went! If any of you have experienced the same thing I would love to know… I am quite scared about taking them again.

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Modeling with scars

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I’ve been doing a lot of online clothes browsing recently – I think it has helped me procrastinate a lot through the exam period but hasn’t been so kind to my bank account.

When looking at the models on these sites I’ve noticed that none of them have visible scars which made me think, do you actually have to be that perfect in order to become a model.

When growing up a part of me has always wanted to try the modeling life. Whether or not it’s the pretty clothes you get put in, or the glamorous hairstyles that get tried out on you, there is something very appealing about the modeling world. I know it’s not all as nice as it is made out, and there’s a lot of competition and stress placed on models these days, but still… it does look fun!

However, a big question is… if I ever made a go of becoming a model, would my scars be holding me back?

I’ve been doing a little bit of research and what I found is quite upsetting.

Many sites have said that having a scar doesn’t ruin your chances of becoming a model. This made me happy and gave me hope that the modelling world might not actually be as hard on  ‘perfection’ as people think it is.

However, I read on throughout these articles and these three key points were mentioned in each one:

 

1. Technology is so advanced that it is easy for scars to be edited out of pictures.

2. Make up artists do their best to hide your scars.

3. You could be dressed in something that doesn’t reveal your scars.

 

When reading these, I began to lose hope. To me these three statements are completely ridiculous, it seems as though the world has gone insane.

Having scars myself, it is safe to say they can make you feel vulnerable and insecure. So it makes me mad when the media makes out that having scars is a bad thing and they should be hidden or covered up. I know a lot of the attention is focused around on how slim a model should look. Just like size, a scar or two should not be made out to taint someone’s beauty.

We should see scars as adding dimension to a person, it gives them a history and a story. They should be celebrated not hidden or ‘edited’ away.

They’re a natural part of a human body and the modeling world should come to acknowledge this.

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Scars | My summer challenge

It’s getting to that time of year where everything is coming to an end. First year of uni is almost over for me, the holidays are quickly approaching and it’s always this time of year where I seem to find myself in a bit of a rut.

Exams are on the horizon, which is a very scary and very stressful thing. And it’s the time of deadlines and late nights revising which just kind of gets you bogged down anyway. But all of this just seems to be a way of life now.

The seasons are changing, and the weather is getting hotter. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love summer, but summer seems to bring my self-esteem down quite a lot.

I’ve noticed it in more recent years than I have in the past that I seem to get down quite a bit about my scars from various operations. Summer is a time when they are always on show and they’re always on my mind when planning an outfit.

In the winter you can get away with disguising them and hiding them under jumpers and roll necks, but in the summer when you’re wearing little low cut things and floaty tops, they always seem to be there.

It’s not that I don’t want people to see them, it’s just when they do I find people staring at them if they don’t know your history. Or in the past people have said cruel things about them, which hopefully wont happen now I’m not in high school but it still makes you a bit scared of having your scars on display.

Summer is also a time for crop tops and because of having my appendix out, my belly button still looks a little bit worse for wear even though it’s a year on from the op.

I also have three other scars situated around my belly button from the keyhole surgery which I must say, am a little bit self conscious about. Because it’s only a year, they’re still slightly raised and haven’t properly yet faded as much as they will hopefully do. But I’m kind of getting around this by wearing high waisted jeans, which sometimes leaves the scar on my belly button peeping out over the top.

Because of this, this summer I’m going to revamp my wardrobe a bit and force myself to be brave. I’m going to wear more girly things and try and not worry about what others might think or say about my scars.

It is a bit of a daunting thought but I’m going to set myself this challenge to try and overcome my fear of what other people might say to me. Because to be honest, they probably wont say anything at all. I just can’t help but feel scared and self conscious.

I do get down about them from time to time, and I just think this is one of those times.

If you also have scars, I think you should learn to love them. I’m not quite there yet, but without them I wouldn’t be here, so I wouldn’t really want it any other way.

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Sleep Deprivation | 6 Tips to Help

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Over the past week or so I have been having difficulty sleeping. Whether or not it is my head stirring with deep thoughts, anxiety or just being unable to get the shut eye I need, it is beginning to wear me down. I read an article on the consequences of sleep deprivation and trust me, the effects don’t look good.

Within this article it stated that going without eight hours of sleep a day can increase the chances of you getting heart disease, diabetes and cancer… which for anyone is a scary thought!

I don’t know why I’m struggling to fall asleep. There is a lot going on in my head at the moment, and a lot of things I’m trying to deal with – so I’m putting it down to anxiety. Hopefully once I figure these things out (which will probably not be for a while yet) I will get my sleeping pattern back on track, but until then, I have done a little bit of research and have come up with a few ways to help get back the sleep I need.

  • Dim the lights – your mind is like a machine, program it to knowing when night time is. You naturally become tired at night, if you have a bright light on before bed, you may end up confusing your brain.
  • Drink a glass of warm milk – I know warm milk isn’t that appealing to some people, this is why I add a few spoonfuls of Hot Chocolate to it, but milk has this thing called amino acid tryptophan in it. Don’t ask me what this is, but apparently it allows more sleep inducing amino acids into the brain – which sounds good, right?
  • Get a routine – Getting into a sleeping pattern at university is practically impossible. If it wasn’t for late night essay writing, going out dancing, or just chilling with friends, then maybe a routine would be plausible. But my lifestyle just doesn’t suit one. However if you can get a routine then this is the best thing you can do to help get the sleep you need. By going to bed at the same time each night and setting your alarm for the same time each morning, you begin to train your brain into knowing when it is time to go to bed and when it is time to wake up. 
  • Turn off the computer – The backing light of the screen makes you more awake. Instead of surfing the web, or scrolling through Facebook, pick up a book and snuggle down into bed. It’s better to stare at paper than a bright screen.
  • Stop napping – I must admit, I’m getting in a bad habit of going to sleep throughout the day. I blame this on not getting enough sleep at night and also a bit of boredom. Napping is great to give you that boost of energy you need to make it through the day, however, it can stop you from being tired at night. The trick is to try and restrain yourself from naps. If you need one stick to 30 minutes only and have one early afternoon. It has been said that if you sleep past five then this can really hinder the amount of sleep you’ll get during the night.
  • Don’t panic – It is the worst feeling ever to watch a clock. You start to panic when you know you need sleep and you’re not getting any. If you haven’t fallen asleep within 15 – 20 minutes then stop trying. Turn on a dim light and do a quiet, non-stimulating activity such as reading a book. After half an hour, try and get back to sleep.

I hope that these tips help you if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, like me. I’m going to give them all a try and see what happens. Fingers crossed I can get back on track with my snoozing.

x

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