When My Heart Defect Made Me Ask, 'Why Me?'

Growing up with a heart defect had a relatively small impact on my life. Thankfully, I was able to play sports and my parents weren’t preoccupied with my health. In high school I started to feel more alone because I didn’t know anyone else like me. At that time I started to have some problems with my heart in addition to some other medical issues. For months I was seeing different doctors and going through tests, only to have no answers. Nobody knew what the cause of my problems were or how to treat them.

I started to wonder if the rest of my life was going to be like this. Was I going to be able to be physical active anymore? How will a guy ever be able to look past my scars? What if the doctors can’t fix me?

Why me?

At first I was asking out of self-pity. I was angry with God and hurt that He seemed to not care about me (which was not true). After seeing all of the rare side effects and conditions I was experiencing, my question transformed. I was less interested in getting answers, and instead figured there must be a bigger reason why my life looked the way it did.

I didn’t come to any conclusions other than deciding the events of my life were not random. There had to be some bigger reason I had yet to see play out. While it wasn’t the most satisfying answer I at least found some comfort knowing there was more going on other than the universe deciding to give me tough hand.

Before going to college, I joined a Transposition of the Great Arteries support group on Facebook. It was encouraging to read the stories of others and to see I wasn’t alone. Two years later someone in the group asked which members were in college. I responded, along with a dozen others. A couple weeks later I received a personal message from a guy in Ohio who was close to my age. We chatted and texted about our hearts for a week or so. Eventually we started talking about our lives and found we had many common interests.

A young man and woman in-love, laying on the grass.

Fast forward to today. The random guy in Ohio is now my husband of two years. A year and a half of our relationship was long-distance, which was great and terrible at the same time. He is a huge part of the answer to why certain things have happened in my life. He isn’t the only answer, because I know more reasons will be revealed in the future.

During times of suffering, asking “Why me?” is a valid question. However, we must be prepared to not get an immediate answer. It might take years to see how our lives will play out and how they will impact others. Having others find hope in my husband and my story has made all of the pain of the past worth it. Sometimes the most terrible events in our lives turn into the greatest stories.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Congenital Heart Defect/Disease

Doctor having meeting with parent and child in doctor's office

Being a Parent on the Front Lines of Overcoming Misdiagnosis in Congenital Heart Disease

“Why isn’t this helping her, doctor?” I asked the tired-looking doctor who stood at the foot of my daughter Sammi’s bed. We were at the end of Sammi’s sixth endoscopy that year, and as she dozed off the last of the anesthesia, I looked at my tiny 6-year-old and wondered aloud, again, whether her trouble [...]
Close-up of parenting holding baby's hand

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness: Our Family's Story

I remember vividly walking into the NICU to visit my daughter Jaycee the day after she was born. I was surprised to see there was a flurry of activity around my baby. Several doctors surrounded her tiny bed focused on a screen connected to something I could not see. A nurse showed me to a [...]
woman and young boy with blonde hair

A Mom's Plea During Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

Today is February 10. Smack dab in the middle of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, which runs from February 7 to the 14. My 6-year-old son, Bodie, was born with a complex congenital heart disease (CHD) called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, or HLHS. The structures on the left side of his heart didn’t form correctly. In [...]
selfie of man's face lying in bed

Carrying the Weight of 'Survivor's Guilt' as a Man With Congenital Heart Disease

Survivor’s guilt — who would think of that? For me, I always I think of survivor’s guilt when you hear stories of September 11th or a plane crash that very few get to walk away from. But what about congenital heart disease (CHD), the birth defect that is more common than any other on this [...]