Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Today I'm 23!!!

Today I’m 23. Another year, Another milestone, Another miracle as I’m ALIVE!

This year has been one with many changes that have put me to the test. The biggest is leaving my family behind and moving across the country with my boyfriend, Chris. Chris got a one year internship at Intel in Northern California and I’m super proud of him, but him getting the job gave me one big decision. It was hard, but my heart is with my boyfriend and so is my future. I know my parents didn’t want me to go especially because of my heart, but you have to take chances and adventures in life whether or not you have a heart defect. I’m so proud of myself and of my parents for letting go over the past couple of years as I'm sure it’s been hard giving me the responsibility of my health and my life. I think with everything that has gone on this past year it just flew by! I miss my family since moving. I’m so use to a big birthday bash every year since my very 1st birthday whether I wanted a big bash or not. The past like 8yrs I haven't wanted a big bash, just to be surrounded my my loving family. My parents have always celebrated my birthday as another big milestone, another year of beating odds. I now celebrate that too, I just don't need the party. Though I won’t have my family here with me this year, I know my birthday is still very special and is yet another milestone and celebration of my life for beating more odds. I will receive phone calls from family and my parents will speak their heart about how happy they are to see me another year older like they always do. I will most likely tear up, but though far away a celebration of my life will still be thrown.

I don’t feel another year older or wiser, but I have learned a lot. I always seem to be learning, that’s a part of life. I’ve been so proud of myself the past couple of years. There are so many things I’ve overcome or accepted. When I was 16 I learned more about my heart defect, how serious it is and my unknown future. It was hard and with learning that came coping and a few minor health issues along with family and money issues. I have accepted a few years ago that my heart defect will be the thing that will most likely kill me one day that I will always have challenges, but in the end my heart will win. In all of that I have decided that I will LIVE to the fullest, throw away statistics, and take chances (not the bad ones like doing drugs). I continue to cope with fear and challenges, but most of the time I feel “normal”. For everyday I wake up I feel grateful for the new day and every night I go to bed feeling so blessed for the day I got to be apart of. I have come along way in my short 23 years of life and have beat many odds. From being the very sick 11week old that they gave a slim chance of living to the small child they thought would never reach adulthood, here I am at 23. There is not one day that goes by that I’m not grateful and blessed for everything I’ve been given. I’m SO VERY grateful to my parents whom I love SO VERY much and had such a HUGE part in getting me where I am today. I’m also SO VERY grateful and owe my life to the doctors and nurses that saved my life. I’m so grateful to have an amazing family which includes two brothers, a niece, two grandparents, and very much missed grandparents and great-grandparents in heaven. I’m also grateful to have one amazing and loving boyfriend who does a great job at taking care of me. Lastly, I’m grateful to my faith in God as he has given my strength to help cope with everything and helped in my positive attitude.

I plan on living to 80, I like to aim high. I don’t know what my future holds, but I know more procedures, pokes, prods, surgery, and pain will be part of it, BUT I also know happiness, love, kindness, great times, wonderful people, family, and new exciting adventures will be a BIG part of it too. I’m ready for whatever else life has to throw at me. Today though, I will take the day to remember birthdays past and to look forward to birthdays to come as well as enjoy the moment, the precious thing called life!

I’d like to say a HUGE HUGE “Thank You” to YOU my AMAZING CHD Community, the community I call me second family! Thank you for the ongoing support you give me, the love, the much heard prayers, and the kindness. Thank You to those who have sent me cards, birthday comments, birthday wishes, birthday prayers, and birthday gifts as well as a BIG Thank You to ALL of the kind birthday wishes & birthday comments I will receive today; ALL of which means SO SO VERY much too! My heart has been touched in words I can’t describe. I have NEVER asked for anything, all I ever wanted was to support, pray, spread Hope, and spread Awareness, but what I got in return is something that I will be eternally grateful for. So “Thank You” all of you amazing, inspirational, kind, and sweet CHD parents, Adult CHDers, CHD kids/babies, CHD grandparents, CHD Angel Parents, & the sweet CHD Angels. Let’s keep supporting, fighting, learning, praying, and inspiring!

I have a dream to impact the world in some small way, but I think my dream has already has come true. My next dream is to cure CHDs… Who is with me??

Today I’m 23, tomorrow is a new day and the adventure of another year awaits me.

Me on my 1st Birthday in August of 1988

Me on the Eve of my 23rd Birthday, August 2010

Praying and thinking of SO many!
Sending LOTS of **Heart Hugs** to ALL!

With LOTS of Hope, Love, and Faith,
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