My story started about 6 years ago.
My mother, who was in her 80's, fell and broke her hip. I set up baby monitors and was helping her overnight. I noticed that I was extremely tired all of the time but I did not worry about it because I wasn't sleeping well. It seemed that I could fall asleep at the drop of a hat.As normal, I had my biennial physical at work thinking that there wasn't anything wrong with me. I was physically fit as I was a power walker completing my 3rd marathon the year before and the Indy mini-marathon that very month. When I received my results from my physical, the nurse practitioner told me that my cholesterol was high, I had a heart murmur and I should call my doctor. Still, I did not think that this was a big deal. I went to go see my primary care doctor and he did set up an echo test and told me not to worry because I was too young and healthy to have a heart problem.After my echo test, I had to go see a cardiologist. Something was definitely wrong! The cardiologist told me that I had a birth defect. I was shocked because I was in my 40's and never had a problem so how could this be possible! A few weeks later (after I took a short vacation), I had a heart catherization. My cardiologist gave me the results and said that I had a moderately sizable hole in my heart. The hole in my heart was about the size of a 50 cent piece. Of course, he gave me the big long medical term - atrial septal defect with predominantly right to left shunt (that is the part I can remember off the top of my head). I did not leave the hospital that day. The surgeon came to see me later in the afternoon and my surgery was the next day. I had surgery on a Thursday.I had a minor complication and had surgery again on Friday night, and, believe it or not, I went home Saturday morning. I started rehab 10 days later to get me moving since I was a little athletic.Today, my heart is doing great and I run (at least I try) instead of power walking. I do have a minor problem with chest wall swelling and scar tissue causing pain at times and that slows me down when I am running. But no matter what, I can run or walk on any given day and know that I am doing my best. There is life after open heart surgery!