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I'm a CHF patient, age 37, & this is my story. To understand my condition and situation it is most helpful to start by reading my "Background Story" below and then read my Journal entries. Thank you for visiting my page.
Hello. At the time of writing this I am a 31 year old female, married, two cats, and am in class three congestive heart failure or CHF. My therapist suggested that I write about my life and experiences. I decided that since I have so many friends and family members that are always asking how I am doing that I would make it easy and start here. I was born with several congenital heart defects that were not diagnosed until my 6 week check-up. These defects include, but are not limited to: ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, and transposition of the great vessels. The Drs decided to have me wait to see if any of the septals fixed themselves before doing surgery. I had a cardiac catheterization when I was 3 at John Hopkins Memorial Hospital in Kentucky (I think). I don't remember this of course, nor do I remember any follow up until we got back from Germany on my dad's military orders. I had check ups with the cardiology team from Columbus Children's hospital (Columbus, OH) at our local health department until I was 10. When I was 10 I remember a heart cath followed by an open heart surgery that summer. Another followed when I was 13. A pacemaker was placed during the first and removed and replaced during the second. During one of them a pulmonary conduit was placed. I had a few pacemaker changes through the next few years, one of them due to a wire recall where if the wire broke it would perforate the heart muscle killing me in minutes. A little over a month prior to my 21st birthday I got really sick. What the ER doctors thought was the flu ended up being a staph infection in, my blood stream (how it happened is still unknown) and since the protective layers of my heart had been perforated during not only 1 but 2 open heart surgeries, plus I had a malformed valve, the staph immediately attacked my heart causing endocarditis and eventually cardiac and renal failure. After a regimen of antibiotics, that I dont wish on the devil himself, several xrays, ekgs, echos, TEEs, and another heart catheterization, I was scheduled for my 3rd open heart surgery where they would replace the valve that the infection basically ate away, as well as replace the calcified pulmonary conduit. After another half month in them hospital, a feeding tube, many tears and begging I was able to go home to my dad's house on Christmas Eve 2000. I was unable to work until April of 2001. I met my husband in 2002. He knew my situation and issues and still stood by me and wanted to marry me. We got married in August 2002 & are still happy despite all the ups and downs & twists and turns. Since we have been married I have had another pacemaker replacement, TEE, heart cath, and several other hospitalizations. Now my cardiologist wants me to have weightloss surgery. The reasoning is that my heart is weakening and I can't exercise, so even though I have lost 50lbs on my own with just my diet, it could be too slow. If I would get sick again I would more than likely need a cardiac transplant. As my weight stands right now I am not eligible. It is also a possibility that after losing more weight my heart function could increase. Since I want every opportunity to see my nieces and nephews & little brother grow up, I'm willing to do whatever it takes. This is where my Journals begin......