Friday, August 24, 2012

Today I'm 25

Today I turn 25years old... on August 25th! Turning the age that corresponds to you birthday day is called your Golden Birthday... so even more special... only happens once in a lifetime.

I've been in the CHD (Congenital Heart Defect) community for about 6-7yrs, but this is the 5th birthday I'm blogging about. I went back and took a look at the last 4 birthdays I blogged on... my 21st, 22nd, 23rd, & 24th to see what I had to say and how far I've come in just that small few years. Here are some snippets from each one of those past birthday posts:

21st Birthday...August 25, 2008:

"...I'm going to saver today as you only turn 21 once. Though I still have mixed emotions; I know this is just another stepping stone in my journey."

22nd Birthday...August 25, 2009:

"Today I'm 22years old!! Do I feel older? No. I do feel very grateful and blessed to be here, to be able to celebrate yet another year of my life... I was put here on this earth for a reason... I think part of that was to spread hope and awareness for CHDs. I also learned a lo about myself and about how to look at life... I mean I've always looked at life as special and to never be taken for granted... I meant in a way I learned to enjoy myself more and stop worrying about my health so much. I basically learned to LIVE more and boy that was hard, still a work in progress as having an anxiety disorder is hard, but I can't have that be my excuse for missing out on so much! I thank my loving boyfriend, Chris, for that..."

23rd Birthday...August 25, 2010:

"Today I'm 23. Another year, Another milestone, Another miracle as I'm ALIVE! ...I don't feel another year older or wiser, but I have learned a lot. I always seem to be learning. I've been so proud of myself the past couple of years. There are so many things I've overcome and accepted. ... There is not one day that goes by that I'm not grateful or blessed for everything I've been given. ...I don't know what my future holds, but I know more procedures, pokes, prodes, 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..."

24th Birthday...August 25, 2011:

"Every birthday since I have been older, though I'm not old, I've looked back at everything I've overcome. I remember the good times, the bad times, trails I've gotten through, and the triumphs. I have been though more in my short 24 years than most people will ever go through in their lifetime. I can say the things I've been through, my experiences especially living with a life threatening Congenital Heart Defect or "Half a Heart" has had a big impact on the person I am today. I've very proud of the person I am. ...Today is another milestone. Today is a day to remember the past, celebrate the present, and look to the future. I don't know what my future hold, but I will take it one day at a time (I say this a lot, but it's true)." 

**Today... August 25, 2012... I'm 25!!**

Taking a look back at some birthday past and the things I wrote, I can say that it all rings true still. My birthday will always be a special day for me no matter how old I get. I will always celebrate my birthday. I made it another year. Another milestone. Another year of beating the odds and living my life to the fullest I can despite only having "half a heart". I am and always WILL be grateful and blessed for what I have. I take things one day at a time. 

This past year has been a whirlwind for sure! I graduated college and got married in December 2011... one day from each other. Than a week after graduating college and getting married in a small quick courthouse wedding I moved cross country (from Michigan to Northern California) with my new husband for his new job. This was not the first time I moved cross country with Chris (my husband)... but this time it was not just temporary, it was permanent and that was a HUGE adjustment for me to leave family and friends for good. Then I had to adjust to being married and everything that comes with that along with getting adjusted to new surroundings again. I was under lots of stress and had many big life changes. On top of that my heart issues got a bit worse... weird beats, varying heart rate, and chest pain... I knew the stress didn't help.

Then Chris and I researched out a new cardiologist which led me out of state to Georgia. Come April I met him and got more information about what my future heart wise might hold as well as what it will hold. Surgery again is in my near future as mentioned in past posts. That was a lot to take in. Than I has medication and dose changes which messed with my body. I've battled my high anxiety, slight depression, and OCD. Not having a job and being at home all day 5 days a week doesn't always help. I'm sure some would say I should get a job, but that is out of the question with my health at the moment and we only have one car. But I can work from home and I've been looking for a work at home job. 

Let's say this year I dealt with a lot and many new changes and faced many new challenges. I haven't always been graceful or positive in getting through my bad days, but I try to pull myself up and keep moving forward as that is all you can do. 

"When everything seems ok, but everything doesn't feel ok; those are the times when you need to have the most faith, show the most love, and give your biggest smiles because it will give us the most strength to keep going." ~ Me (Lauren Celeskey Bednarz)

Despite everything there has been LOTS of good things this year to. I'm married to Chris, the love of my life, my best friend, my rock, and my soul-mate. Chris is always there for me and I could not have asked for a better husband. I know it's not always easy for him, but he is just amazing. I'm also a college graduate and that feels amazing. I'm SO incredibly proud of myself for that achievement and I will put it to good use as soon as I can. My little brother, Aaron, came to visit for 2 weeks this summer and that was awesome. I'm very close to my little brother and to spend time with him was just great. This year I also learned more about myself ... more so my strengths and my weaknesses. I've had a lot of time to think and ponder, which has helped me in getting my mind into what goals I want to accomplish. I've learned how to clean a bigger apartment and make lists of certain things to do each day. I've learned that I still very much love the simple things in life like spending time with Chris and just relaxing watching TV.

I'm proud of the person I am and I love the person I am. Ever year hold new life adventures, good and bad, that make you strong and make you wiser. This year has been a whirlwind like I mentioned, but this year has been the beginning of a new life journey with my husband and our life together. I can't wait for what our marriage will continue to hold in store for us. But I'm so grateful to have Chris in my life... we are in this for better or worse. We are our own small family of two and I love that. Plus, I gained more family by marrying him which means more love and support which has been great in the challenges and changes that we have already faced the past year.

Today I'm 25. Today is a special day to me. I still have many things I want to do and accomplish in my future especially writing and publishing my own book. I also will continue living my life to the fullest I can. Enjoying every moment I can. I will continue to smile and laugh whenever I can. I will continue to love my family and people I care about to no end as they are the most important things in my life... they are my support. I will continue to spread hope and CHD awareness.  

I'm excited about that the next year holds...also a bit nervous and scared, but that is OK. One day at time... I'll face the beauty in each new day no matter what that day holds. 

Sending heart hugs to all! 

Chris & I in April this year. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Long Time..No Post. Quick Update.

Hello Everyone! Long time, no post! 
I forget to update this... so sorry for no update in 
a few months.

First off, I have a Facebook community page which 
I update a lot more often. For anyone who wants to 
keep up with me, my Facebook community 
page is called:  
Lauren's Heart: Living a Full Life with "Half a Heart"

**Here are some update on every aspect of my life:**

-I'm not having open heart/the Fontan Revision next year. Chris and I researched the Fontan Revision also called the Fontan Conversion a lot, we also researched hospitals, statistics, etc.... We picked to have the surgery at Texas Children's in Houston as they have done the most Fontan Revisions/Conversions in the country (maybe the world?) and have great statistics. Thing is I need to be checked out by them personally and we just don't have the money this year to fly down there...Chris also does not have anymore vacation days left either. So, we are saving up and going next year...probably in the spring. If they think I need the surgery, than it will be in 2014. So everything is pending. This surgery is NOT an emergency for me... I'm still well and pretty good quality of life even though my heart function has gone downhill a bit in the past 5yrs. I have an older Fontan which are worse than the newer versions even though all Fontans aren't great as the Fontan is not a fix or cure... they aren't made to last a long long time. Doing a Fontan Revision to a newer better long lasting Fontan while one is still doing pretty good and only few issues means less risk to me.

-We are also trying to save up so we can fly to Michigan (and Ohio where Chris' mom lives) next summer to visit our family as if I have surgery the next year, it will be awhile before we see them again. And we miss out family. So it's important we go and visit them.

-The new beta blocker I was put on in April ended up not working out. It was interacting with my blood pressure medication making me feel sick (lightheaded, nauseous, dizzy, etc), so we tried lowering the dose of my blood pressure medication and I still got the effects. I ended up being taken off my blood pressure medication ...but had to monitor my blood pressure by a blood pressure machine. I was fine without it for awhile, but after a few weeks I started getting chest pain, my heart would beat hard, and I had some weird beats here & there.... it threw off my sleep schedule and made me miserable. So last week I started back on my old beta blocker and felt a bit better after a few days. I started my blood pressure medication up again this week, but they said I only needed half the dose I was on before medication changes as off the blood pressure med, my blood pressure did better than they thought it would. So overall I'm feeling better and slowly my sleep schedule is getting better... work in process. Hopefully no more medication and dose changes for awhile... it can sure mess with your body.

-Overall I have good and bad days heart wise and mentally. I'm working on the mental part and looking for a psychologist to see again as they always seem to help me out with my anxiety I have some OCD now. I'm also trying to get back into writing and still plan on writing my own book. I'm also trying to find a hobby I like... going to try making yarn friendship bracelets again as I use to make them as a kid. 

-My little brother, Aaron, who is almost 14 came and visited in early June (he lives in Texas with my mom). He was here for 2 week and we (Chris & I) really enjoyed having him. It was the first time I had seen him in over 6 months. I miss him already. He is a great kid. I love him a lot. We had a great time while he was here. Hope he lived California as it was his first time to California. :)

-Since Chris and I could not afford wedding rings when we got married last year. We are starting to look for  a wedding ring for me now. :) Money is tight, but it will be my birthday, Christmas, & 1yr anny gift kind of thing as wedding rings are not cheap. I'm excited about finally getting a wedding ring! There are so many to choose from... so it will be a tough pick, but I'm glad I get to choose the one I truly love. :)

-I turn 25 this month on August 25! Which is already next week! It will be my 3rd birthday away from family.. so I'll be missing family a little bit more like always. It will just be Chris and I, but it will still be a special day. I don't need anything material or a party for my birthday to be special. I decided that I'm going to start a small birthday tradition on doing a small Random Act of Kindness on my birthday starting this year. I till be small, but something I want to do. I'll post what I ended up doing and how my birthday went. 

****Well that's about it on updates for now. I do plan on a birthday post as well as a few blog posts of topics that might be interesting... when I have time I will... promise... it might take a few weeks to see another post though. Sending *heart hugs* to all!! 

Below is a picture of my little brother, Aaron, and I at Lake Tahoe this June during his visit: