Kristin’s story: From open heart surgery patient to child life specialist

There’s a saying: “Life’s roughest storms prove the strength in our anchors.” I have faced many storms in my life, and my anchors have grounded me with hope and strength. I was born with complex congenital heart disease. By the time I was 36 hours old, I had been diagnosed with an atrial septal defect (ASD), ventricular septal defect (VSD), double outlet right ventricle, left and right ventricles reversed, dextracardia, mitral valve regurgitation and pulmonary stenosis. For many, this sounds like a long laundry list of defects, but for me and my family it became everyday life. At 10 days old, I underwent my first cardiac catheterization at Boston Children’s Hospital. One week later John Mayer, MD, performed a modified Blalock-Thomas-Taussig (BT) shunt procedure. This provided a temporary fix to increase the oxygen to my blood. At 16 months old, I had my first open heart surgery, once again performed by Mayer. This was considered my “big corrective surgery.” It was a Rastelli procedure, which surgically corrected the ASD, the VSD and the flow of blood to my heart and lungs. After that procedure, I returned to life as a typical toddler. As a child, I knew that my heart was different. I had a scar on my chest, and I went to visit my cardiologist once a year, but this never stopped me. My parents always encouraged me to try something new. I took dance classes, swimming lessons, tried gymnastics and soccer, joined Girl Scouts an...
Source: Thrive, Children's Hospital Boston - Category: Pediatrics Authors: Tags: Heart conditions Our patients’ stories congenital heart disease Heart Center Source Type: news

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