When I was 9 months old, I was diagnosed with congenital heart disease (atrioventricular canal, to be exact, and pulmonary hypertension. I was most likely born with the 2 holes in my heart, and the PH developed very soon after, or I could've had both at the same time and it was missed until I was 9 months. Who knows really? I guess it doesn't really matter at this point! Anyway, for my entire childhood and young adulthood, the main focus was always on my heart. I had plenty of appointments with my pediatric cardiologist, and if I had to guess, over 150 echoes in my life so far. My heart has been in pretty stable condition for a very long time, and I'm so thankful for that!
I find it ironic that after we started focusing on the pulmonary hypertension part of my condition in 2002, I sometimes forget about the congenital heart disease I've got going on. When I talk to people, I always describe PH, the symptoms, the treatments, etc, but I forget to say WHY I have PH in the first place. It's almost as if I forgot it existed! But of course, it is not corrected, and I'm still going for echoes every year, and now seeing an adult congenital heart doctor. And so far, my heart is still tolerating everything I'm dealing with on a daily basis!
Last month was Congenital Heart Disease Awareness month, something I completely failed to blog about, and I'm almost ashamed of myself. How the heck could I forget to write about it when it has been a part of me for over 35 years now?? Well, I guess it's better late than never!! CHD affects 40,000 babies every year, and some heart defects are not caught until later in the child's life. Some defects are easily repairable, some are not. And unfortunately, some defects not caught until much later can cause pulmonary hypertension.
A friend of mine recently had an article about CHD in our local newspaper. She has 2 daughters who were both affected with CHDs, but thankfully they are doing well now. If you'd like to read the article, you can do so by clicking here! There needs to be more awareness about congenital heart defects, and every small piece of news shared is a step towards progress in making that happen!