As our summer fun starts to wind down, we will hear from Trinity, a heart warrior who knows how to have a good time and beat the heat during the summer!
Summer is one of the best times of the year. No school, beach time, and warm weather (which is something that Wisconsin could use a little more of). In the three months that I’m out of school, I spend my time doing what is difficult to fit in during the school year. My favorites list includes traveling, hanging out with friends, learning new things, playing sports, and an occasional binging of a television series. I like to stay occupied during the summer so I don’t just sit around the house. Some of my greatest memories have come from my favorites list, and believe it or not, working!
In the summer of 2017 I went to Chile for an entire month to be immersed in a world of the Spanish language and Chilean culture. I had 3 hours of class each day, I went out into the community and communicated with people who lived there, and I lived with a host family. I met a lot of interesting people. I learned new things not only about Chile, but Latin American culture in general. We learned to make traditional dishes, danced, sang and had lots of laughs. We strolled the streets looking at Chile’s best known features like historical houses and huge murals. By the end of it all, I didn’t even want to go home.
In the summer of 2018, I enrolled in a program called Apprenticeship In Medicine (AIM). It’s a summer long internship sponsored by the Medical College of Wisconsin. I learned about the human body, conducted experiments and labs, and went on field trips. I was even able to shadow an orthopedic surgeon and observe some of his surgeries. One of the biggest takeaways were the lessons I received from professionals about life in the medical field, ways to cope with stress, college applications, and processes and tips on how to navigate learning as a medical student. I’m grateful for this opportunity because I want to become a heart surgeon. As a bonus, I met people who I consider my best friends to this day.
Playing summer sports was one of the best decisions I ever made. Being a CHD patient, I never thought I would be able to play, or be good at sports. That all changed when I started to play in a summer softball league in the 4th grade. I knew that because of my condition, I had limits when it came to physical activity. Sports that involved heavy wouldn’t work for me. I tired easier than other kids and I couldn’t run as fast. Athletics such as soccer or basketball were off the table. Softball was different. The only time running was needed was when we had to run from base to base or when we were chasing after a ball. As soon as I played my first game, I was hooked. It didn’t matter if I was playing catch with my dad, at practice or in a game, having a glove on made me feel like I could take on anything. I played for 7 years in summer leagues, school leagues and traveling fall leagues. I got so invested that I even took private lessons to improve my pitching skills. I made lots of friends playing softball and because my dad coached for a long time, I got closer to him as well. It was empowering for me as well as fun. I have always gotten questions or looks about the scar on my chest, and sometimes it made me feel insecure. Playing softball made me feel like a was a part of something and like I was no different from anyone else.
Summer has always been my favorite season. I realize that school is important, but summer is a time that I consider just for me. For me to do what feeds my soul and brings me joy. A time for me to recharge before the next school year starts. Swimming, being a beach bum, cookouts, Six Flags, you name it… I do it all, and I won’t let my CHD stop me from living and being my best self.
Trinity was born with Ventricular Septal Defects (VSDs) and had three open heart surgeries at the ages of 4 months, 5-years-old, and 6-years-old. She also has mitral valve insufficiency as a result of a surgical complication. She enjoys traveling, learning new things, music and sports.