Meeting adult Congenital Heart Defect survivors is something that constantly amazes me. As a parent of a really young CHD survivor, you have to read these survival stories and let them sink in. You have to, because they are real and they are so unique and it only feeds into your hope, if you let it. If you let it, then it sticks and it’s contagious (that’s an awesome thing!) Connecting with Yasmin has definitely been one of my most favorite parts of being inside the world of CHD. She is ah-mazing! It’s impossible to read her story and not smile. Even her beautiful smile is infectious! Here is Yasmin’s story:
“Hey There. My name is Yasmin and I am 27 yrs old, and I was born with a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. I have had two open heart surgeries and I had my first one at the age of three and my second at the age of twenty.
When I was born, my parents were wondering why I wasn’t a pink baby! I was a “blue baby” and I stayed blue for a very long time.
My Drs ran all the tests such as X-rays, ECHOs, EKGs, and CT scans; they didn’t find anything in the X-rays, but when they did the ECHO and the EKG they discovered that I had VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect also known as pinhole) and ToF (Tetralogy of Fallot)
I was closely monitored while growing up and I was fine until the pinhole in my heart didn’t close on its own and the doctors had to surgically close it. My first surgery was at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles in 1988 and the doctors closed my small VSD (ventrical septal defect) and they put a homeopathic conduit it to connect the left and right side. I was told that because I was growing that the child’s size wouldn’t fit and this is why the doctors put an adult conduit in. On a return visit for a check-up I got the petal stuck on the sink (they had the ones where you stepped on the petal and washed your hands), and so they moved us to a new room. In the second room I was playing on the bed and my Dr had his hand on my head so that I wouldn’t bump it. The bed had a storage area under it. I was doing great, and the doctors said ” I would have to have a second one at the age of thirteen” but I didn’t need it then because I was growing perfectly.
By the time I was twenty I was already showing signs of needing another open heart surgery, and the reason that my Dr and my parents came to that conclusion was because I was pale and my blood pressure rose (it was 300/91, or 200/90). I was 20 years old and on blood pressure meds. In November of 2005 I went in for my second open heart surgery where they replaced my conduit and they also put a metal stent in. They used the stent to widen my arteries that were small and narrow and they also replaced my pulmonary valve. This was performed at UCLA (University California Los Angeles) by my surgeon, Dr. Hilal Laks who did a wonderful job. However, during my second surgery I had a few complications: like my heart was sticking to the sack that holds it in place so it doesn’t hit the ribs, and that was bloody. Then a few days before I was supposed to be released my white blood cell count flew through the roof. I then somehow had gotten an infection and my left lung filled with fluid and collapsed. The doctors drained it and I was released November 25,2005.
I am currently doing great health and spirits.
I have just married my soulmate on July 10, 2010 and living life one step at a time.
I found my heart as a blessing, and it has taught me compassion, love, and wisdom.”