I thought it was time as physical health co-editor that I would share my own journey with my physical health in the hope it will help encourage more young people to talk about their physical health more openly.
When I was six weeks old, my doctor discovered that I had a heart murmur that was later diagnosed with a heart condition. On top of that, I had a valve that leaked also but wasn’t serious enough to require immediate treatment. Therefore, I was constantly monitored by cardiologists from London at least once a year. I would have regular ECGs and ultrasounds so they could monitor my condition for any developments so they could consider whether or not I needed surgery.
It wasn’t until I was 13 when I needed to have surgery. This was because they found my valve leaking more and that tissue was beginning to build up in one of my chambers. When they told me this, I was terrified. The whole prospect of having open heart surgery at that age was so hard to come to terms with. In July 2012 I had the surgery to fix my heart condition. Initially there were some complications with the surgery that resulted in a second surgery 24 hours later, but surgeons were able to fix the major problems. I still have a small leak in my valve that continues to be closely monitored by my cardiologist in Norwich. I have had MRI and CT Scans to also monitor the complication that arose during the initial surgery which my consultant is hopeful that it will not cause me any future problems.
My journey is far from over, but I have come a long way since surgery. I’ve never let my heart condition stop me from doing what I want to do and what I want to achieve. I suppose that’s the message I’m trying to get out there; Never let your physical health stop you from achieving what you want to achieve. You’re so much more than your condition and shouldn’t let it define who you are. I hope this encourages other people to speak openly about their physical health.
If you feel brave enough to share your story, email me at [email protected] and your story could feature in the magazine!