Hello lovely readers. Today I just wanted to stop by quickly to ask for your help and shed some light on a subject very close to me. This year I have decided to take part in the MyMarathon challenge, raising money for The British Heart Foundation, a simply amazing charity. It is time for me to finally share some details with you about me that a lot of you definitely aren’t aware of, making it clear why this challenge is so important to my family and I.
Just before doing my GCSE exams in the summer of 2014, in fact I think it is almost exactly three years ago, I found out that I have a heart problem. I found out by complete fluke, and am extremely lucky that I discovered it at all. I went to my GP after having quite a heavy cold for a few weeks – I had put it down to exam stress and lack of sleep, however my grandma wanted me to have it checked out as it was going on a little bit. When having my check over with my GP, she did all the normal things that everybody has quite often, as well as having a quick listen to my heart. When listening she told me she could hear a very slight murmur, but said it was probably nothing to worry about as it is so so common in women. Needless to say, I had nothing to worry about it terms of the cold. To be on the safe side, I was referred to a heart specialist in Bristol where I had an ECG. This was a normal procedure for people in my situation and would almost definitely show if there was anything particularly wrong. All you do is have these little sticker put on you that wires attach to. You literally don’t feel a thing. I also had an ultra sound, which I think was used for a rough image on my heart. Unfortunately for me, the ECG did come up with a red flag. I could see my heart beat all along this piece of paper, and as each beat went up, there was a slight dip at the top. For a normal heart, this should be a perfect angle at the top, almost like a spike. Due to the results, I then had to have a small operation a few weeks later, where they could basically have a proper look at my heart through a camera. Luckily I was under general anaesthetic, so didn’t know a thing. Apparently it used to be done under local… my gosh I couldn’t even tell you how distressed that would have made me! Obviously once the operation was over, the doctors then knew exactly what was wrong with my heart and how it had to be fixed. It took me a few hours to come around afterwards, so I didn’t actually have the conversation until the evening. I’m not going to tell you what is wrong in technical terms, because you nor I will actually have a clue what I’m talking about.
In your heart there are two sides. On the right side you have four arteries that push blood through your heart and into your blood stream, allowing oxygen around your body. On the left side, the blood goes into your lungs. Mine is different. On my right side I have two arteries which are absolutely fine… yay! However, in the middle of my heart is a hole and through that hole is the third artery which is pushing the blood into the left side, meaning that it is ending up back in the lungs. My fourth artery is being very difficult, and has decided to go right on the other side of my heart, again pushing more blood back into my lungs. This means that essentially my heart is only half functioning and there is too much oxygen in my lungs. This is a problem that doesn’t effect me at all during everyday life, apart from maybe running up stairs too quickly, however it will slowly start to creep up on me as I get older. So this means that it has to be fixed, and the only way to do that is by a very clever heart surgeon moving everything back into place. If it were just the hole in the heart it would be easily fixed with key hole surgery, but it isn’t, which now means that it has to be open heart surgery. Can you imagine how daunting this sounded, finding it all out in a day at the age of 15? It took me quite a while to come to terms with this, and the operation is still causing me a lot of anxiety, but it must be done. I feel very healthy and have no problems everyday, which I guess is mainly down to the fact that I was born with it and don’t know any different. I am so so grateful that I have a problem that can be fixed and is very much under control. So the reason that I have decided to raise money for the British Heart Foundation is to make that a possibility for everyone. Not only have I got a heart problem, but both my grandfathers also have had heart attacks, one of whom did pass away. I have seen first hand the effects of heart disease, and want nothing more than for it to be a distant thing of the past.
I am now 12.7 miles into my 26.2 mile challenge, which will be finishing on the 31st May. Due to my heart problem, running is the one thing that I do actually find really difficult, so wanted to set myself this challenge to push myself and really feel like I have done something slightly hardcore to raise money for an incredible cause. I want to raise as much as possible to help everyone out there who needs support from the charity and the chance of a brighter future. Every single penny counts.
Thank you so much for reading x