LBB To Contribute to CHD Twitter Chat 2/26

Join the American Heart Association (@American_Heart), The Children’s Heart Foundation (@TheCHF), Everyday Health (@EverydayHealth), and LBB (@LauraBellBundy) for a congenital heart defects twitter chat on 2/26 at 12pm CT. Follow along with the hashtags #LifeisWhy & #HeartWarriors..

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Actress Laura Bell Bundy Goes Red for Heart Disease

lbb heart quote

Mediaplanet: What was life like growing up with a congenital heart defect?

Laura Bell Bundy: I was born with a ventricle septal defect (VSD). In laymen’s terms I have a hole in my heart. It’s a fairly common defect to have and cases vary depending on where the hole is located as well as the size of it. I’m not sure I know what life would be like without a congenital heart defect (CHD), but I do know that there were differences in the precautions my parents had to take with me as opposed to parents who have children without a CHD. I had to be very closely monitored as a baby. Surgery was on the table, but due to my size, the question was whether it was worth the risk. Doctors and my parents were trying to understand the nature of my VSD and if the hole was closing.

Between infancy and about 5 years old, it did begin to close up a bit, which kept me from having surgery. I would get an EKG and sometimes an ultrasound every six months. As I got older, I went to get it checked out every year to make sure there were not significant changes that may indicate the need for surgery. I had to take antibiotics before all dental work—which I had a lot of—and it really wreaked havoc on my digestive system giving me a healthy number of issues in that department. My family and I had to always be aware of my cardiovascular activity as well as making sure I ate healthy, didn’t take any substances that would speed up my heart and never put a cigarette near my mouth. I have also had to warn every single doctor who put a stethoscope on my heart because it is abnormally loud, and often frightens them. It also sometimes keeps me awake at night because it is so loud.

Click here to read the full interview on www.hearthealthawareness.com!.

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HuffPost: Learning I Had Congenital Heart Disease

It was the spring of 1981, I was 3 weeks old and my 27-year-old mother brought me in for a well-baby check up. After listening to my outrageously loud heart beat the doctor told her, “I don’t think your baby’s heart has formed properly.” He then took me away from her for hours of tests and shortly discovered that I had a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). In layman’s terms, I have a hole in my heart, a condition that many Americans are born with. I have to be monitored throughout my entire lifetime and find doctors who intimately understand my case for possibly over 90 years (I expect to have a long life). The likelihood that my doctors retire or kick the bucket before I do is pretty strong. In fact, it’s already happened. My transition from my beloved pediatric cardiologist to my series of adult cardiologists has been a 15-year struggle causing panic, frustration and a whole heck of a lot of confusion.

In 1981, doctors didn’t really understand the extent of my problem. In fact, to this day they are still learning about it. Back then, doctors would have had to cut open my chest and crack open my rib cage to get to my heart. As a newborn, doctors felt that surgery would have been more fatal than living with the condition itself.

I was fortunate to have a cutting edge specialist in pediatric cardiology in my hometown at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Jackie Noonan. Dr. Noonan closely and intimately monitored my condition for my entire upbringing. She believed the hole would begin to close over time and was not too eager to cut into me in order to fix it. She was right. However, it never completely closed. She continued to see me once a year for EKG’s and ultrasounds to check my condition for changes or improvements. She discussed the possible need for surgery, but being a believer in science, she encouraged my parents and I to wait for medical advancements before operating.

To read the full blog, click here!.

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