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Laura

TOF, Corrected 1967


I was born in May,1958, as a "BLUE BABY". I was diagnosed with a cyanotic congenital heart disease, Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). At the age of one I had a Potts shunt. I did quite well until the age of nine years when it became necessary to have open heart surgery with closure to the shunt. I was admitted to the hospital on my birthday, May, 1967. I had a total cardiopulmonary bypass. Post-operatively, I did fine until I went into shock which was followed by coma. I had the same symptoms earlier that year when I had a cardiac catheterization. Since my surgery I have lived a pretty normal life. As a child and teenager, I tried to physically keep up with my peers. Basically, I tried to do it all, but found that I did have some limitations. Our family decided to move to Colorado from Texas, and there I learned about altitude. It did take a toll on me, but in time, I did become acclimated. I skied, ice skated, rode many miles on my bike (up steep hills), walked, and hiked. Sometimes, I did have to stop and let my heart stop racing, but once it slowed down, I was at it again. I truly believe that my heart became stronger because of this. I did not push myself. I was really proud when I worked for the National Forest Service and planted tree seedlings on Snowmass Mountain. Especially when we finally got up to 12,000 feet and I was like everybody else....moving slowly. My point is, that I was like everybody else!!!

In October of 1985, I learned of a real challenge. I became pregnant. My husband I had already come to the realization that I may not be able to have children and had accepted that. But as luck would have it, we got pregnant!!! I was not only in need of an OB/Gyn but also a cardiologist. Both would work with each other, when need be. My pregnancy was very normal up to the last trimester. At about 7 weeks before I was due, my doctor ran a test to check for diabetes and I checked positive for gestational diabetes. I also started having quite a few migraines along with swelling in my feet. Six weeks before our son was due, I started going into labor. My doctor did a sonogram and an amniocentesis to check if he was mature enough to be delivered. I was also diagnosed with preeclampsia and toxemia. After receiving the results from the amniocentesis I was given the go to deliver our son. Approximately 3 hours later, I delivered a 4 lb 6 oz very healthy boy, March 30, 1986. To make note, I did have a vaginal delivery! The doctors checked him out thoroughly and did not show signs, nor has he yet shown signs of any heart problems. I was discharged two days after delivery, and our son, who was premature, had to stay for a week in the neo-natal unit in order to get his weight up. He was fully developed, however he did have a time getting his sucking reflexes. Once he learned that, he immediately began gaining weight. He was our miracle.

In November 1996, I had Arterial Femoral bypass surgery. Of course I was way too young to be having this type of problem. I think that it stemmed from a combination of events: smoking, diabetes (diagnosed May ?97), small body frame and cut downs from my open heart surgery, in 1967. I am proud to say that I no longer smoke, and I exercise daily and eat healthier. I plan on living and walking a long time.

I currently do not have many complications with the heart. I have had, and continue to have heart palpitations. But I just learn to live with it. As for the rest of my life, I am a daughter, wife and mother. My hobbies are photography, singer/songwriter, playing the guitar, camping, and watching my son play sports. I work part- time as a bookkeeper/administrative assistant for a small company.

We (TOF patients) are fortunate to have had the doctors to help us, and also learn from each one of us. The disease is still a mystery, and learning continues.

? Laura W. G. (Texas)


This article was last updated on April 14, 2001

  • Born:  May 22, 1958
  • Diagnosis:  Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Treatment:  Potts shunt and total correction


 

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Disclaimer: Our members' stories represent their own perception of their experiences, and the medical information contained within has not been reviewed for accuracy prior to publication. Stories are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your (child's) physicians with your questions and concerns.
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