Erin, born 1989
I am actually writing my own story of survival at the age of 24. I underwent open-heart surgery 24years ago at just 10 days old to fix an interrupted aortic arch and pulmonary window. Although I do not remember any of this, I understand my parents struggled with the unknowns of what my future would bring. With the help and support from family and friends, we all made it through this bump in the road of life. Fortunately, I only underwent one open-heart procedure and then went back for a cardiac catheterization for angioplasty to help open the repair site at two years of age. Since then, I have followed up with a cardiologist for yearly check-ups. I am blessed for the care I received so many years ago. It has allowed me to live a healthy and active life. Growing up I participated in sports, including coed roller hockey (with plenty of protective gear of course!), softball, wakeboarding, and rock climbing. The sky is the limit! The only update since being diagnosed with this congenital heart defect came last year during one of my yearly check-ups. Due to advances in technology and my growing body, my cardiologist (new since my original surgery) had me get a 3D CT scan of my heart so he could better visualize what had been done 24years ago. He discovered that my left lung only has 3% blood supply. This took both of us by surprise since my only struggle in life was not excelling in my 1year of running cross-country. So for now, it is a neat and fun fact about myself to share with others. Only time will tell if it will impact me later in life. What’s ahead? I am happy to say I am about to complete my masters degree in Physician Assistant studies so that I can hopefully help give back to patients and families just like mine. I hope my story of survival has helped bring some hope and comfort to those parents and families out there worrying about their little ones.
Story by Erin, Adult CHD Survivor – North Carolina