Kelli Tinney - What does survivor really mean?
Kelli Tinney is 28 years old and lives in Chalmette, Louisiana. She is a 28-year-old, third-grade teacher. She has been diagnosed with myocarditis.
The word survivor can mean so many things. By definition it, means a person who survives, especially a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died. Different people think of different things when you hear the word survivor. But for me, when I hear survivor, I think of someone who had to physically battle a disease.
I am an example of a survivor even though I don’t fit the mold of what a heart survivor looks like. Most don’t think of a 28 years old woman who looks perfectly healthy on the outside as a survivor, and truthfully, I didn’t think of myself that way until just recently. I live with a condition called myocarditis. Because of this I have made lifestyle changes and improvements to live a heart healthy life. I now take daily medication, which is not something that is common for my age. I also must stay as healthy as possible as certain viral infections can affect my condition. As a third-grade teacher, that can be hard to do. But I am a survivor and I need to focus on what my body needs.
But before finding out that I had a heart condition, I was like so many. I knew I had a family history, but I was young and felt that I didn’t have to worry about that history now. I had never seen a cardiologist because I didn’t think I needed one.
Now as a survivor I wear that badge to share with others to take their health by their hands. There are many who are faced with heart conditions that do not get the title of survivor. I want to help be the one that changes the odds. By putting my face and my story out there I want women, especially, to be more aware of their number one killer. I want to dispel the myth that heart attacks and most heart conditions occurred in older men. I learned the hard way. And I don’t want that to happen to others. Empower yourself to see preventative cardiac care. Know your numbers and your family history. But most importantly act. You only have one heart. Take care and treasure it and it will take care of you.
If you like me, are a survivor, I applaud you for being a part of the Support Network. Finding others that you can relate with and share diagnosis is so important for understanding and coping with your diagnosis. Join me as I arm myself with as much information and research as I can, so I can help tell the story of being a survivor to save other lives.