It all starts with a birth. That baby becomes a child then teenager, and finally an adult who will make their own decisions and their own life. Who the baby is born to, what the child grows up in, and where the teenager has to live is never that person’s choice but the adult this person becomes is completely and totally that person’s choice. President of High Point University in North Carolina Nido Qubein was once quoted stating, “your current circumstances don’t determine where you go, they merely determine where you start”.
I was born with half a heart. Hypo plastic right heart syndrome which includes transposition of the greater arteries, pulmonary stenosis, and disposition of the AV valve to be exact, yeah most people can’t barely blink after I say it to them, including many doctors. I was only the third child to have the surgery performed on them at Shands Hospital in Gainesville to correct the issue. I will always be classified as a congenital heart patient, but I will never allow it to define me.
I have the scar, the zipper is what most call it. It run from the bottom of the my neck to just above by belly button. There is actually two of them and like around 15% of the elderly population in the United States, I too have a heart surgery scar will doctors opened my chest up, broke my breast bone, and performed life-rising and life-saving surgery on my heart, and I’m not even 30. I remember as a child, my dad would always tell me if I ever wanted my scars covered up that he and my mom would make the costly cosmetic surgery happen, but as I grew older I realized the two scar didn’t need to be covered they were my battle wounds, they showed the world just how strong I am.
I will never allow somebody to define me as just a heart patient. I refuse to not try something because it might “be to much to handle”, I thrive for a challenge. I understand I will never be a woman’s weightlifting champion, but I could try for fastest runner (stop laughing). I deliver papers every Wednesday and while most that are in perfect health can’t handle the in and out, lifting, and running that comes with delivering the papers, I absolutely love it. It’s a challenge and I even find myself some Wednesday’s going against the clock to see how fast I can deliver the papers. I will always choose what my name is associated with and as long I live it will be associated with hard worker not sick person.
I am a journalist, I am the daughter of Dylan and Beth Reed, the big sister of Larame, the wife of Dennis and mother of a spunky wild child named Desi. When I think of my life and how I will be defined I know I will work to end of my days to make sure I am defined only by what I choose not by the life I was given by chance. No matter what the circumstance, no matter the hand dealt, it is up to you and you alone to choose what to do with it.
The most successful people come from the saddest, hardest circumstances. Oprah Winfrey had a child at 14 who died, United States president Benjamin Franklin dropped out of school at 10 years old, Albert Einstein couldn’t speak until he was four years old, comedian Jim Carey was once homeless and famous pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton had her arm bitten off by a shark! None of these people allowed harrowing or sad circumstances to determine their lives, when most would have wanted to crawl in a hole and die, these individuals worked harder to make their own circumstances. Everybody in this world is capable of their own greatness. I will never be a sickly heart patient, I will always work to be the person people take a second look at when they hear “she has a heart problem” not because I look so sick but because I’m doing circles around them. Never let a circumstance define who you are, define the circumstance.