Tag Archives: Heart

❤️ 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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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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Heart Necklace | Review

Since having open heart surgery the heart symbol has been a big part of my life. I’ve acquired a few pendants now that are the stereotypical heart shape. However I’ve never seen anything quite like this necklace before, which is why I had to buy it.

At first it made me laugh. I did have to question whether or not I wanted an actual heart draped around my neck. But on second thoughts, it was exactly what I wanted.

With valentines day just passed, people seem to forget about what an actual heart looks like. We don’t have this cute, red, fluffy heart beating inside of us. No. As a matter of fact, we have something very different.

I understand that the symbol has more of a spiritual meaning, of love and compassion, rather than being mistaken as a heart. But nevertheless sometimes it’s good to be reminded about what we have inside of us.

The piece itself comes on a long silver chain in a cute little box. The pendant is quite heavy and the detail is exquisite.

I love to pair this necklace up with my triquetra choker. I think they look really good together.

If you’re into this kind of thing then I would definitely recommend you buy it. But I understand that having this heart around your neck isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

This necklace is not only an awesome piece of jewellery, it’s a symbol of what I’ve been through.

You can purchase it here through Amazon.

I ❤ it!

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The Game of Life | A Poem

A desired heart never fails to feel the pain of goodbyes
A sign of wisdom or a sign of selfishness life moves on and yet you’re still the same soul with the same beating heart
Every beat bringing you further to your fate
And what does everything equate to?
Alas on your death bed would you rather see a life of love and joy or a life of work and anguish?
Why do we prize ourselves on a system of numbers and letters
A system of separation yet we are all the same
All the same playing the game
The game of life

And yet we never win.

No one can defeat fate, no matter how hard they try they cannot cheat death
There will always be suffering but does there have to be evil to allow good?
Would a child feel the same way about happiness if there was no sadness

Opposites attract,

You may be the richest of the land but the least wealthy of them all
It’s hard to conquer what we do not understand
But strength is key in this game, and if you have strength and an open heart you will no longer feel the pain of goodbyes

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Necklace | Om Mani Padme Hum

My favourite piece of Jewellery at the moment is this gorgeous necklace that was given to me by my parents a year ago.
It’s basically a piece of stone that has been carved and painted and put on black cord. On the front of the piece are the eyes of the Buddha and on the back is a Sanskrit mantra of ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ which translates to ‘Oh praise to the jewel in the heart of the lotus’.
It’s believed that saying this mantra invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig – the embodiment of compassion. Even just looking at the written form of this mantra is supposed to be beneficial.

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Scars | There’s Beauty behind the Beast

It’s not like me to open up to the world about this. But if I help at least one person then I guess it’s worth it, right?

When I was born I suffered from Fallot’s Tetralogy which in simpler terms means I was born with a hole in my heart. No one really knows why this happens and people have holes in their hearts without even realising, but I guess mine was more of a serious case. Not only was there a hole, but one of my arteries was quite small which meant my heart was finding it hard to pump blood around my body at the right speed. This means the left side of my heart was working wayyy too hard making the muscle bigger than it should have been.

To cut a long story short, at the age of two I had to have an operation to fix my heart (I was too small to operate on when I was born!)

Luckily everything went amazingly well and I am healthy and fit and loving life. However, having major surgery like this leaves you with scars – scars on the surface for everyone to see, but also emotional scars too. I know I was only two years old, but it still gets me to think of what my family and myself must have been through. To live through such a time and tell the story is a miracle and you have to look at the positives when facing a situation like this.

I’m not going to lie. Having scars from surgery does get me down from time to time. I have two main scars. One that runs from the top of my chest all the way down to the bottom of my rib cage and another that runs from under my arm onto my back. The one under my arm isn’t so bad, you can hide it with a T-shirt. However, the one on my chest is always on display. Because I’ve lived with it for 16 years, I tend to forget about it on a day to day basis, but when coming up to an event or planning an outfit to go out I always take into consideration having a scar.

When it was my prom I was terrified of showing my scar. People will have seen it every day and wouldn’t have even taken a second look, but I was so self conscious and to me it was a pretty big thing. I felt different and angry, as though life wasn’t fair. I wanted to look pretty, but how could I look pretty when I was baring scars? In the evening of prom I was conscious of my scar and it did taint my night. From that point on I swore to myself not to let it get in the way and instead of getting down about my scars, I should embrace them. I mean they are beautiful really, without them I wouldn’t be here today.

As cheesy as it sounds, I feel as though they have made me who I am. I grab every opportunity in life and thrive off every day as I’m so thankful just to be living and seeing each sunrise. I’ve decided to wear what I want instead of trying to cover up my scars because if people are going to see it, they’re more likely to be concerned rather than judge.

I’m not saying that I’ve not experienced comments on it before. Even recently my friend’s boyfriend took one look and said ‘’eww what is that?’’, but surely that just shows his true colours and ignorance to the situation rather than putting down the way I look.

I’ve also had my appendix out which has left scars. Thankfully these are just little keyhole ones but they’re still scars none the less. My torso is practically covered! I also have around six scars dotted nicely on my chest where drains from my heart surgery used to be. I try and tell myself that they don’t affect me, but they still do a little bit, as this summer I don’t think I’ll be wearing any crop tops!

However, I may make it my aim to.

Overcoming the fear of what others may think and say is a big thing, and I hope that I’m almost there.  Yes, I will get down about them, but I think this is only natural.

I believe that you have to be proud of who you are and embrace the fact that you’re still here today, living and breathing and enjoying this wonderful world.

If you’re down about scars and want to talk to someone who is going through the same thing then drop me an email, but throughout this ramble, my message really is to just accept who you are and don’t get down from something that has made your life so much better.

At the end of the day your scars are part of you. They add to your body and tell a story. They represent the wars that you have been through and you should wear them like medals.

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