Jeff Hammonds – An Adult(CHD) Love Story
Jeff and Claire met through a strange twist of fate – on the same day, in the same hospital, they had the same procedure done by the same doctor to treat their individual congenital heart defects. Ten years later, they’re celebrating Valentine’s Day – and CHD Awareness Week – as husband and wife and living each day of their lives to the fullest.
Tell us: In the face of adversity, some of the most amazing things can happen … share your ‘twist of fate’ stories in the comments below.
February is Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Awareness Month….
At 43 years old…I add one more letter to that disease…Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Awareness Month.
My name is Jeff Hammonds and I live in Houston TX. The science and the medicine behind treating a person with Congenital Heart Disease has changed a lot over the last 40 plus years….
In 1972 I was born with the serious conditions called Tetralogy of Fallot… a disease identified at birth that put me in the Pedi ICU and gave quite a scare to my parents as it would any parent in 1972, 2002 or today for that matter… (TOF is a problem with the heart’s structure that changes the normal flow of blood through the heart and occurs in 5 of every 10,000 babies) … At 6 weeks old I had a Procedure called the Cooley Shunt and that began our lives with Congenital Heart Disease…. As time passed I had catheterizations, a major surgery called the Fontan (by Dr Denton Cooley), pacemakers and I am now registered on the heart transplant list…
Even with my issues and my Congenital Heart Disease, I have led a blessed and wonderful life.
In 2005 my life took a strange twist… the best twist that had ever happened to me… While preparing to have a pacemaker implantation and going through the pre-op process at Texas Children’s Hospital, I met a girl…A girl who was there to have the same operation on the same day by the same doctor. We call this our divine intervention…When we met each other in 2005, we were brought together that day to live our lives together.
Claire Credeur was born in 1985 and at the age of 3 was diagnosed with an Atrioventricular Block (a type of heart block where the conduction between the atria and ventricles of the heart are impaired). She got her first pacemaker at age 6 to help control her issues.
On September 8, 2005, we both had successful pacemaker implants and after recovering and saying goodbye…we went our separate ways… Claire to Lafayette, LA and me to my house in Northwest Houston…but that only lasted a week… we started our long distance relationship with travels back and forth to Houston or Lafayette…. After a fairy tale engagement at Disneyworld and in Cinderella’s Castle…On September 8, 2007 we were married…
Living with CHD can be a challenge, doctor appointments, tests, procedures like
catheterizations, and even more doctor appointments…but now with the two of us it is even more fun… We both still go to Texas Children’s and on appointment days we play the game of how many people can we fit in an exam room… Claire and I, at least 2 parents, 2 doctors, a nurse… 8 or 10 people up close and personal… oh, yeah – it’s fun!
Claire and I have always had a pretty positive outlook on life… So we take everything one day at a time and live life to the fullest. I believe our parents instilled that in us from a very young age… Do everything we could... have fun…and don’t look back. Although I would be kidding you if they were not scared for us also…worried but accepting that all would be OK. Our parents have been involved in every step of our lives, every doctor appointment and every life moment we have had together and the many we had before we met… We can’t thank them enough for their support.
Claire and I both have successful careers… Claire in Education and myself as a Sales Engineer and have worked for our companies for 7 and 19 years, respectively. I have played drums all my life and play drums for my church here in Houston, which we are both very involved in. We have both been counselors for Camp Pump it Up (Texas Children’s Heart Camp) and also volunteering and speaking on behalf of the American Heart Association. We love to travel and as stated before….We live our lives to the fullest.
I know the medical community continues to make strides in curing many of the heart ailments that fall under the term Congenital Heart Disease. There are wonderful agencies such as the AHA that spend countless hours each week to provide support and raise funds for research as we all strive for a cure or the best ways to cope with our issues and we are thankful for everything done…
And we are very thankful for this opportunity to share our story with you!