5 New Year's Resolutions to Make If You Have a Congenital Heart Defect

Happy New Year!

It’s almost 2018. 2017 has flown by with all of its ups and downs. Good news! I finally got my next heart catheterization scheduled so I’m ready for that to be done and over with. I’ve been impatiently (have you ever noticed impatient says “I’m patient” but you aren’t… the irony!) waiting for it to be rescheduled since I wasn’t able to get my dental work done in time.

It’s time for all those New Year’s resolutions we all make that usually end up a distant memory by Valentine’s Day. Although we all have great intentions, let’s face it: unless you have a lot of discipline, most of the time it doesn’t work out. How many of yours have you kept over the years?

I would like to share with you five resolutions people with congenital heart defects should make for 2018!

5. Practice self-care and self-love. Taking time for yourself to recover or rest is not selfish. It is something everyone needs. Do things to take care of yourself and make yourself happy.

4. Get that second opinion. Listen to your gut. If you are not confident in what your doctor or doctors are telling you, do not be afraid to reach out for a second or even third opinion. I did and it’s the best decision I have ever made.

3. Embrace your zipper family. Your zipper family are the only ones who truly 100 percent understand your daily struggles. They walk the same path you do each and every day. I admin a group for women with CHD and it brings me more joy than you could imagine.

2. Follow up on your follow-up. Transitioning from pediatric to adult care is a tricky process. When my original doctor left the practice I was being followed by, I lost my follow-up. I fell by the wayside and went without medication I needed and without follow-up that could have possibly prevented issues I have now or things could have been caught earlier. If an appointment is made for you, make sure to keep it and follow through!

1. Respect your body’s limits. We all have limits and those of us with congenital heart defects may have more than others. Growing up I was never told my limits; I was always told “you know your limits.” When I was younger I feel like I respected my limits more and listened to my body more. I think now that I’ve gotten older one of my biggest struggles is accepting my limits because first off, I’m stubborn, and secondly, as much as I try to encourage others with my condition, I feel like my condition gets in the way too much so I do not like to be left out of things or feel different, and I will push myself further than I should and put myself in bad situations. If you are tired, stop and rest – do not push yourself. You will only hurt yourself in the long run.

I resolve to be better with all of these! What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2018? Share them in the comments!

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Photo via Cn0ra on Getty Images

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