Friday, March 21, 2014

Once There Was a Girl Nicknamed Windy...{Born with a Hole in My Heart}

Good Evening, Friends and Family!
I hope this finds you having a good week
and gearing up for the weekend!

I am here today to share a random fact about myself with you.
Okay, so maybe it's not totally "random" in the technical sense.
It does correspond with multiple events
that took place earlier in the week.
What is it?

Simply this:
I was born with a hole in my heart.
(Some of you may already be aware of this,
but I thought I share the full story anyway.)
The technical term is Ventricular Septal Defect.
(I'm going to attempt to stay elementary about this,
but we all know what a wordy person I am
and I kind of have a thing for medical terms.)
To understand exactly what this means,
you have to have some basic knowledge of the anatomy of the human heart.
Personally, I'm in love with the Heart.
Maybe because I was born with this defect.
Or maybe because my first job was in a cardiology office.
Whatever the reason, I'm completely transfixed and blown away by the Heart.

The human heart is made up of four chambers:
the left and right atria at the top of the heart
and the left and right ventricles at the bottom of the heart.
The right atrium receives oxygen-poor blood from the body
and pumps it to the right ventricle.

The right ventricle pumps the oxygen-poor blood to the lungs.
The left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs
and pumps it to the left ventricle.
The left ventricle pumps the oxygen-rich blood to the body.
These four chambers are separated by wall of muscle called the interventricular septum.
The function of the interventricular septum is segregate
the de-oxygenated blood on the right side of the heart
from the oxygenated blood on the left side.
(You didn't know you were going to get
an anatomy and physiology lesson today, did you?)

I say all this to say that having a hole in this wall could potentially be a serious issue.
But I'm happy to report that that is not the case in my personal situation.
This tiny defect (literally it is about the size of the tip of a needle)
has never caused me any issues of any kind.
Nonetheless I have been under the care of a cardiologist my entire life.
This VSD just needs to be watched to make sure that it doesn't expand
and/or start to cause me problems.

Here's the unique, sort of cool thing about my VSD:
my heartbeat sounds different than a "normal" persons.
You know how when a woman is pregnant,
she can go listen to her baby's heartbeat on a sonogram at a doctor's office?
Well, essentially the same thing happens when an echocardiogram is done on the heart.
Earlier this week (as I stated in the Friday Five-O post)
I had to have a check up with my cardiologist and an echocardiogram was performed.
It had been nearly seven years since my last echo
so I had forgotten how cool they are.
First of all, I was privileged to watch the images on the screen.
I got to actually see my heart contracting
and I saw the blood moving through the valves into the different chambers.
Like I said, IT WAS COOL!

Then I got to hear it.
I wish I had an audio clip to play for you!
The actual beats of my heart sound normal...like everyone else's.
But in between the beats there is a windy sound...
like a mother's hushing her child: "shhh, shhh, shhh."
That sound is made by air moving through that minuscule hole in my ventricular wall.
No joke...my pediatric cardiologist used to call me "Windy".

Let me just say right here that I don't believe in coincidence.
I know I've said it before, but I LOVE THE WIND.
There's something refreshing about it
that makes me like anything is possible.
(FLASH to Kate Winslet's character in the movie The Holiday...
standing out side in a December LA enjoying the Santa Anas...)
I don't even mind when it messes up my hair
(and for an Apostolic Pentecostal Girl...THAT'S saying something!)
Could there possibly be a connection between my love of the wind
and my WINDY heartbeat?
(Or could I just be making a mountain out of a molehill? ...Possibly...)
I did just get done say that I don't believe in coincidence.

Whenever I tell people that I have a "heart condition"
or that I have an upcoming visit with my cardiologist,
they kind of freak out.
They seem to think that even a quiet, insignificant defect
is something that is to be--at least--concerned about.
But I don't see it that way.
For one thing, as I said before,
it's never caused me any health issues.
And I truly don't believe that it ever will.
I'm actually a little in love with my defect.
Makes me feel unique.
And I'm okay with being called "Windy"...:)

Do you have any congenital health conditions?
How do people react when they hear about them?
Does your condition worry you?

You know I'm always up to your stories!

Thank you for stopping by!
Please visit again soon!