Welcome to My Personal Page
Most of you know me! But maybe you don't know my whole story. I was born in 1976 with four congenital heart defects (CHD): atrial septal defect(ASD), ventricular septal defect (VSD), an occluded aorta, and patent ductus (which closed on its own). I was six weeks old when I was diagnosed but because I didn't "present" like I had a heart issue, it took my mom multiple visits before a doctor listened.
LESSON 1: Don't give up when you know something is wrong.
My first surgery was at 10 months to correct the ASD (a hole the size of a dime) and the VSD (a hole the size of a silver dollar). I have a beautiful 8" scar down my sternum. I literally owe my life to Dr. Richard Mamiya in Honolulu, HI for this lifesaving surgery. Life proceeded and I was healthy.
We moved to Omaha, NE for my dad's next USAF assignment in 1981. Not too long after, I started having extreme leg pain. I couldn't walk up or down the stairs in our house and struggled to walk up hills (and we lived at the top of a hill). My mom took me to see the doctor and he soon discovered I had no blood pressure in my legs. That's right...NO blood pressure on my lower extremities. I was put through a cardiac stress test and couldn't complete it at all. An angiogram soon showed that 1.5" of my aorta in the descending arch area was totally occluded. That means I had no blood going to my legs. In October 1981, I had my second surgery. I earned my 14" scar on my left rib cage.
LESSON 2: Scars are beautiful and tell a story.
I lived a normal life and was a ballet student for 13 years. I go hiking and workout. I participate in charitable walks like St. Jude's and Tillman every year. I am now 42 years old and have a 12-year old son, which was thought impossible, and aside from regular check-ups, I am still good. I have two stable aneurysms that were caused by my surgeries and chronic pain BUT I'll take those issues over the alternative. I am a SURVIVOR.
I am ALIVE. I am a WARRIOR. Please learn more about Congenital Heart Defects!!! It is the #1 birth defect in the US.
LESSON 3: You can help by simply learning more & being aware.
Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to support my fundraising efforts on behalf of The Children’s Heart Foundation and the Adult Congenital Heart Association. All funds raised benefit CHD research and programs. I appreciate your support!
With much appreciation...
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