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Share Your Story: Holly Haynes

by Christy D. on Friday, November 8, 2013

Holly Haynes Kansas

I was born on Valentine’s Day in 1984, along with an amazing twin sister.  We were tiny preemie babies born about 6 weeks early.  My sister was born weighing 4 pounds, 5 ounces while I weighed only 2 pounds, 14 ounces.  I was in the hospital for 41 days before my parents could take me home. 

Not long after my birth, my parents were told that I had two holes in my heart.  My conditions were Atrial Septal Defect (ASD); a whole in the wall between the two bottom pumping chambers and a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD).  Both conditions can cause severe problems depending on the size and location defect.  The diagnosis can range from minimal effects to severe heart failure.  This type of heart failure, at this young of an age, can result in poor feedings and improper weight gain along with decreased exercise tolerance and shortness of breath. 

At ten months old, I weighed just shy of 10 pounds.  Based on the severity of my condition, the cardiologists suggested open-heart surgery to repair the defects.  The cardiologists choose to wait until I was ten pounds to operate, but unfortunately, I did not make it to ten pounds before I started losing weight.  The surgeon needed to patch one of the holes and sew the other one.  The surgery was a success and after a few days in the hospital, I was home with my twin sister.

Today, I have regular checkups with my cardiologist to ensure I am safe and healthy.  I have to say that my life could not have turned out better.  I was an avid soccer player growing up and even ran my first half marathon in 2009.  I now have a successful career; enjoy traveling, camping and other outdoor activities with my family.  I have not had any restrictions and have leaded a very active lifestyle.

The research and technology advancements that the American Heart Association provides are saving lives every day.  Generous donations and activists are also a huge part of saving those lives.