I can not believe it... this year is my 11th year heart- anniversary! How blessed. I am now healthier than ever and Tanner and I are blessed with two healthy children, Cooper Jacob and Ava Jean! I will forever be grateful for the healthcare providers that have been by my side throughout the whole process. Not only is my story touching to me, but I have many friends and family memebers with a heart health history
For those of you that are not familiar with my story and care to hear. At the ripe age of 18 I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse and a cleft valve. During a rigorous dance competition I came down with a stomach virus. The virus seemed to wipe me out and I ended up going to the PCP to check in. Upon check in, Dr. Tracey commented that my heart murmur was intense. My mother and I were taken back as we had never been told I had a heart murmur. Needless to say, we were getting an echocardiogram that afternoon. Jokingly and light hearted I found in comical to call my dad and tell him I was going to need heart surgery, thinking that was never an option.
Jump to a few days later. My mother being the angel that she is held a brave face, as we were having my high school graduation party that weekend. Unbenowned by me, my mother received an urgent call that insighted fear. My mother continued to shower me with celebrations and I had no idea what conversation was going to follow our Sunday supper. My mother and father sat me down and provided me with comfort as they stated that my heart valve was leaking and needing to be repaired. The next few days were spent being urgently seen by several cardiologist in the area. After three appointments, I was then reffered to the Cleveland Clinic to meet with Dr. Gilnov. I was blessed to be accompanied by Laura Roberts throughout this adventure, who still remains as a friend. On the way home from our testing we were told that I was going to be having open heart surgery in the next month.
The month leading up to the surgery was emotional, but I was showered with support from all! I was able to go on a family vacation and much more. The morning leading up to our travels to Cleveland Clinic, Tanner surprised me with a date at the Newport Aquarium.
Surprisingly, my nerves were comforted from all the love and support. I could go on and on about my story for days. I am so blessed to have this experience and to help advocate for others. I am now 11 years post surgery. I am much healthier than I ever was. Moral of the story is that over the past years I may have ignored some warning signs. Fatigue was becoming worse with simple tasks, it was my bodies warning sign. I encourage all to listen to their body! Thank you for listening and I hope to see you at the heart walk :)
I walk because I know that with every step, I’m making a difference in someone’s life. And when combined with a million other Heart Walk Heroes across the nation, we have an even greater impact toward curing heart disease and stroke. Will you be a Heart Walk Hero with me?
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Have a heart and help me reach my goal today!