Catherine: TGA, 1989 England

I was born 23rd December 1989 in Hampshire England.

My parents didn't know there was anything wrong with me until they started having problems with me feeding. at only a few weeks old they diagnosed me with CHD. I have dextrocarida, multiple asds and vsds, pulmonary stenosis and transposed greater arteries.

I can only imagine how hard it was for them to process. I had my first surgery at 9 weeks old I believe it was to temporally mend my heart, when I was strong enough I had the first part of the Fontan operation when I was 2 years old and at the age of 7 I had the second part done.

When I was 10 I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and epilepsy. I was put on medication to try and control this. I have no memories of my child hood due to the fits I was having, but what I can remember is how happy I was.

As I grew up I was more aware of my conditions. I went through a phase of (why me) but I soon snapped out of that. I realised I couldn't waste my life and I was determined to have as normal life as possible.

At the age of 18 i had my tumour removed and my fits ceased from that day.

For me the hardest part of having CHD is being told you can't have children because the risk is too high.

This broke me and I have had to learn to deal with this.

If I was to give one piece of advice, live your life and don't let anyone stop you from doing what you want.

This worked for me, I now have a wonderful husband and 2 beautiful step sons. To date, no more heart surgeries. I hope this helps someone.

Note from Stephanie: The UK and US have different spellings of words and some minor differences in the way we write. Out of respect for writers and the different cultures we come from, I keep the writing as you sent it to me, from your words. <3