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Just Saying Hello!
Hello Everyone! I am new here and I just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Stephanie and I am a 33 year old CHD Survivor. I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot in 1987 and had my corrective repair in 1990. I was fairly asymptomatic throughout adolescence and my condition wasn't necessarily a concern to me. Early into adulthood, my cardiologist had noticed that my pulmonary function was deteriorating and I received a bioprosthetic pulmonary valve at the age of 21. In 2011 my pacemaker/defibrillator was implanted. This device allowed me to safely carry and give birth to my son, who is now six.
My only limitation growing up was contact sports, but I was never the athletic type, so that really didn't affect me. When I was told I would need a new pulmonary valve, I was floored. At the time, my energy had been low but I was also working full-time and carrying a full college course load. I assumed I was just overworked. Once my PVR was replaced I was amazed at how much energy I had! I've always enjoyed hiking and the first thing I did was fly to the Midwest and hike throughout the major National Parks. It was at this point that I really began to focus on my physical health. I began running- SLOWLY- and became amazed at what my body was capable of. With my family, I entered mud runs, 5ks, 10ks, and of course continued to hike.
My husband and I married in 2011 and a few months later I began having dizzy and fainting spells. Through the use of a holter monitor, it was discovered my heart was racing at random times. My cardiologist explained that this is a common response to previous treatments for TOF and recommended I have a AICD (pacemaker/defibrillator combo). It was probably the first time I remember feeling frustrated about my heart condition and what it could possibly mean for my future. Months after, we asked about the risks involved in carrying a child. My cardiologist gave us a very cautious green light and I was closely monitored by him and a local high risk OB office. Being a mother was always my dream and the fact that it was now a realtiy had me elated. I loved pregnancy and did incredibly well through most of it. Labor and delivery was very bumpy, cardiac wise, and due to this, we have decided to keep us a happy family of three.
SO! That is my story in a long winded nutshell. I am looking forward to getting to know the members of this community and reading your heart stories!
AlyAHA, May 21, 2020 6:47pm EST
Hi Stephanie! Thanks for sharing your story and helping generate conversations on the Support Network! We are very lucky to have you!
JamesPL, May 24, 2020 9:44am EST
I enjoyed reading your story and am so glad for the positives you've had in your life while living with your heart condition. Having a child is probably the greatest of those positives. We are fortunate to be in a world that has given us newer and better treatments for heart disease allowing us to achieve the dreams we all wish for. I was diagnosed in 2011 with heart disease and like yourself I have always enjoyed running. I have competed in many races varying from 5Ks to half marathons. I continue to emphasize exercise today and and believe it is a major reason for my successful recovery. For as long as you can, keep at it!
I wish you continued success and happiness!