Hello CCHD! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. In the spirit of giving, here are a few short anecdotes on the most memorable gifts that life has brought us. Happy Holidays!!!
The best Christmas present I received in recent years was family abandoning our usual Christmas traditions and coming to visit me after I was re-admitted to the hospital. My Mom having brought Christmas dinner to the hospital, gifts from my family, neurosurgeon and nurses alike and still being able to watch Christmas Eve service on TV. I was just grateful to have family and a good medical team.
– Erica Thiel; MPS I Hurler Scheie Syndrome w/aortic valve stenosis and insufficiency and Mitral valve stenosis and insufficiency, 35 years old.
One of the best gifts I have ever received came in a small blue paper bag with handles. The contents escape me, except for the full bag of chocolate candies. What this gift represented was a reminder that I was not alone. That in one of the most challenging series of events in my entire life – placing my newborn baby first into a helicopter, then into the hands of doctor to perform life saving heart surgery – when all of my being was being poured into my baby, someone was thinking of me. That is a gift I pay forward every single moment that I can.
– Amy Basken; mom to Nicholas, almost 14 years old, now.
The best Christmas gift my husband and I ever received was our baby twins coming home from the hospital. One has a CHD and the other is heart healthy but because of both the CHD and other complications, odds weren’t great for survival. They were born in mid October. One came home in late November and the other came home a couple of weeks before Christmas and we were finally all home together. The road ahead was/is still long, but it was magical.
– Meredith Rasmussen Atkinson; mom to Mirabel and Sofia Atkinson, 14 years old, now.
The best gift I have ever received was a Newfoundland puppy. I was in the hospital after my fourth open heart surgery, and my parent’s friends, who were breeding Newfoundlands, just had a litter of puppies. They told me that I would get to bring home a puppy when I got out of the hospital. Just knowing that when I got home I would have a brand new puppy, kept my spirits high, and provided a huge distraction from my current situation. I am forever grateful to that family for gifting me such a beautiful dog, and ultimately, a great friend.
– Lauren Wells; Ebstein’s Anomaly, 24 years old.