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Share Your Story: Liz Tatham

by Christy D. on Saturday, September 8, 2012

Liz Tatham Kansas

I looked healthy, so I had ignored what I did not realize were the signs and symptoms of heart disease. I dismissed the rapid decline in my energy as the busyness of being an overly tired homemaker.  In just a few weeks I went from being in the best shape of my life to being so short of breath I had to crawl up the stairs in my home.  As a full time wife and mother of four children with a passion for volunteering in my community, across the country, and even overseas I was shocked to learn just a few weeks before my 42nd birthday that I’d been living with heart disease my entire life.  I thought I had been taking excellent care of myself and my family. We were all shocked when I was diagnosed with a failing heart valve in October 2009 and would require open heart surgery on January 7, 2010. 

I was born with heart disease, but I was determined to survive it.   I was referred to an excellent hospital whose research was saving lives.  I was grateful to be in good hands.  My surgeon had given me 4 options to have my heart fixed.  Because I had been diagnosed in time, my 4th option was not one available to many: a repair of my bicuspid valve that would not require me to be on any medications, such as blood thinners.  This option is the one I chose. I have since recovered and focus on staying strong and healthy.  I require no prescriptive medications for my heart.  I want to be here for more adventures with my husband and children and remain hopeful that scientific advances will offer new options to those with heart disease.  Research is giving me and many like me chances to live impactful lives.  My adventures have only just begun.