E.g., 09/2017
E.g., 09/2017

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Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week: Living Happy Within



“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” – Dr. Seuss.

I find this has been a longstanding slogan for our patients visiting the Adult Congenital Heart Program clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital. Many say they are walking medical miracles.

Our cardiologists who specialize in complex adult congenital heart care can attest to our patients’ strong wills and positive attitudes toward life. These patients have undergone amazing life-saving open-heart operations and they have been living well into adulthood. Each heart is a uniquely crafted engine. An engine that must be monitored its whole life. Our patients quickly learn the power of their existence and how they impact everyone in their lives in a meaningful and special way. As Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week kicks off, I wanted to take this time to bring awareness to the amount of strength and courage we see in our patients every day.

While patients experience the best quality of care from health providers, going through such effort is no walk in the park. Our patients tend to be knowledgeable and engaged in their care and are, therefore, aware of the realities of their condition. There are times when keeping up spirits can be a challenge. Which is why many patients choose to surround themselves with excellent social and emotional support. Additionally, others have found it beneficial to seek outside professional help when things start to pile on top of each other or if they just know something is wrong.

Professional help can mean many things, including counseling, support groups, and psychiatric medicine. Professionals conduct therapy or medicine so their practice is regulated. Some licensed professionals accept medical insurance or self payment. Mental health professionals can help build positive coping skills with patients and may refer to other specialists who deal with something outside their scope.

Our patients have unique hearts inside. They know they were born to stand out. They also know when things are not going right and are not afraid to elicit others to help them move forward again. There is much strength and courage when one acknowledges they are struggling with mental health. Taking that first step to reach out to a professional is the start of the healing process. It is a beginning for hope and living happy within.

 For more information about the Adult Congenital Heart Association visit, http://www.achaheart.org.

A. (Sarah) Leonardo-Hsu, LMSW