My Journey - In the Beginning...

I was a spring baby, finally born after a few trips to the hospital with Braxton Hicks contractions.  By all accounts I was a pretty good baby, slept well, happy, rarely got sick.  Granted the accounts are all from family who tend to be bias, but as this is complimentary towards me, I'm not going to question it.  Other than a heart murmur that was detected early on, I was rather unremarkable...medically, only medically, in all other ways I was amazing: I had very fair hair so it looked like I was bald until I was about two, I loved being the center of attention and could frequently be heard saying that I was a "Bision of wovewiness," (vision of loveliness) which someone made the mistake of telling me one too many times, and I mastered catapulting food to make my father laugh at a very young age, much to my mother's chagrin.

As to my heart: There are a lot of different types of heart murmurs and causes, and some people can develop them later in life.  Mine was discovered early on and after some non-invasive tests it was determined that I most likely had a bicuspid valve.  (I'll explain this in more detail in the next edition of My Journey.  You have to imagine the Indiana Jones music in the background to get the full effect of that last sentence.)  Anyway, this type of cause meant that it had very little effect on my daily life.  My regularly broadcast childhood was only interrupted by annual visits to the cardiologist's office, which seemed to take days but probably only took a few hours and the need to take giant horse pills when I went to the dentist.  The pills were to help prevent me from getting an infection around my heart which can be caused by bacteria entering your bloodstream.  Now, don't go freaking out that no one ever recommended that you take horse pills before your regular visits to see how many dental professionals can stick their hands in your mouth at once while simultaneously asking you questions that require a more complicated response than a gurgled yes or no.  The antibiotics were first recommended in 1955 by the American Heart Association and only for individuals with certain heart conditions.  Since then the recommendation has been rethought and most people, even those with heart conditions no longer need to take the antibiotics, but that decision should always be made by a cardiologist.
At some point, probably around age 12, I was told that I would need surgery when I was an adult between the ages of 35 and 45.  At the time that number sounded SO old, like 60 which might as well be a million.  So I got 60 stuck in my head as the age when I would need surgery and went on about my childhood.  I was athletic and active.  I was on swim teams from the time I could swim, I took every kind of dance class imaginable, I ran cross country, was a cheerleader, on drill team and dance troop, and lead a rarely pausing kind of life.  As I got older my life got more sedintary and I gained weight.  I continued to see a cardiologist and continued to get reports that all seemed fine for now.  All of that changed this year...

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