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AHA page
The History of My Heart Condition

I was born in the early morning on September 24, 1970 at the
Jackson Madison County General Hospital.

I weighed 7lbs 2ozs everything seemed normal until about noon, when I started to turn blue and I was not breathing very well.  The doctor said it was my heart, and no one thought that I would live very long. Despite the doubts, I did make it through the night, but the next morning, they took me to Memphis. That same night at about 6 p.m., they operated on me, but still did not think that I would live very long. Two of the 4 heart valves did not develop in me before I was born.  I am missing the tricuspid and pulmonary valves. I had my first surgery the day after I was born. In order to get blood into my lungs so that oxygen would get to my body, they placed a shunt, which connects a body artery to a lung artery.   After the operation I was placed into the Critical Care Unit for newborn babies. I stayed in the CCU for two weeks, and each day I improved.  After the two weeks, I went home and had to continue seeing the doctor regularly for a long time.

In 1975, as I grew, I needed two additional shunts to allow enough lung blood flow to have me grow adequately.  I did very well with this surgery, but was still required to go in for regular checkups.

By 1979, I was beginning to do badly again. I was scheduled for another operation in the LeBohneur hospital in Memphis TN. After the operation was completed, I was fine for 7 days, but then I had a blood clot that formed around my lungs and traveled to my brain causing me to have a stroke at only 8 years of age. The day it happened, I was in the
hospital and my Grandmother was holding me in her lap. The tube in my side blew out and blood got all over the floor and the walls. After they rushed me to the operating room, the doctors said that there was nothing they could do for me, it was up to me and God. I was operated on again after the stroke and almost didn't make it.  I was in the ICU for two weeks, and then was moved to a regular room where I stayed another two weeks.  When I came home from the hospital, I was unable to see or walk, but in time and after intense therapy, I got better but I was left permanently handicapped.  Even though my vision eventually returned, it has never been the same.  Due to my medical condition, I was not able to attend school the next year. I had a homebound teacher, Mrs. Pat Bradbury.  Another side effect of my stoke was the shortening of my Achilles tendon, which stretches across the back of your heel. I have had two leg surgeries to try to get my legs to straighten out, but neither helped, so my legs are bent and it is hard for me to walk.

I also had a hole between the 2 upper filling chambers, or the atria. This remained open until my Fontan operation, which connected my body veins to my lung arteries, never passing through my heart.

At the present time, my heart operates on 1 of 2 filling chambers and one of the 2 pumping chambers. This should work for a long time to come. However, it is rare for patients who have had the Fontan operation to surpass the age of 50, so future problems with my heart are unknown at this time. The main determining factor will be the strength of my pumping chamber muscles, which so far are working fine.

Now days I don't feel as good as I used to. Some days are worse then others and I get tired very fast, even when I don't do very much.  My legs are causing me many problems now days.  My legs have started to swell due to venous reflux - common with Fontan patients.  I also have to use my scooter more frequently due to weakness and pain in my legs.

I was one of the first patients with the problems I have, so essentially, they used me for an experiment to learn more so they could help other people with my kind of heart trouble.

My Previous Surgeries are:
1970 - Waterston Shunt
1979 - Glen Shunt, after which I had a stroke and
almost died, and was left permanently handicapped
1985 - Blaylock
1988 - Fontan
1998 - Electrocardioversion to get my heart back into rhythm.

I have to give thanks to GOD and my family especially my grandmother for supplying this information and all of my doctors who have
given me a new chance at life.

A special thanks goes to my doctors:
* Dr. Bruce S Alpert
* Dr. James G Porterfield
* Dr. Thomas P Graham, Jr

Much Thanks to LeBonheur Hospital.  I was at the hospital  more than I was home growing up and there is no telling what shape I would be in,  or if I would even be here if it was not for the expertise of the doctors and nurses there .
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