At the weekend I hit the grand old age of 50! Me! 50!
I’m sure everyone who hits this milestone must stop to take stock – but for myself I feel it does have a special significance.
When I was born it was very rare for a child with a single ventricle condition to survive to adulthood, in fact my parents were told I would be doing well if I reached the age of 5. At the age of 9 I had my first open heart surgery (the Glenn), and, again, my parents were told that my condition was more complicated than envisaged, and so we would all just have to see how it goes. As the years progressed I had a thrombosis and a TIA that both required inpatient treatment, and then I had my second open heart surgery, – the Fontan – at the age of 22.
Since then I have married and had 2 children. My wonderful and special family, who I love so much, and who make me proud every day.
Obviously my condition has always impacted on my physical abilities, but I don’t think I have particularly been prevented from living the life I wanted to.
There was the time the school careers advisor told me I couldn’t work with children because I might end up having to deal with ‘disabled ones’! Ha! Little did he know what the future held, nor how I was going to cope with it!
I must admit there have been times, particularly when I had the children, and the Consultants had very little research to go on, I have felt my life is a bit of an experiment, or maybe I should just look at it as trying to be a pioneer – obviously there are others who would simply say I’m stubborn and like to get my own way! Lol!
Someone told me that 50 is the new 40 – well, when I hit 40 my Cardiologists told me they weren’t sure how my health would progress from there on, as, again, there was little research to go. I had a problem with AF and a rapid downturn in health at one point, but the wonderful team at the ACHD unit at QE Hospital, Birmingham popped a pacemaker in me, changed my drugs and set me up to continue with my life once more.
At 50, I really am now just taking it as it comes. I’m continually taking the advice of the doctors to try and stay as healthy as possible, but I really do appreciate that I am very lucky to be this healthy, at this age, and, whilst I don’t wish to blow my own trumpet, I am quite proud to be part of the generation leading the march of the single ventricles!