My Heart Story Natalie Jones

My name is Natalie Jones and I am 38. I have a congenital heart condition known as transposition of the great arteries. This was discovered when I was 2 weeks old. At 18 months old I had open heart surgery to correct it. As I was so young, I…
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Emily's Story

Name: Emily Sterling Age: 24 Age when diagnosed: 6 weeks old Condition: Bicuspid aortic valve, mixed aortic valve disease (aortic stenosis and regurgitation) In February 2015 (just after my 20th birthday) I had open heart surgery…
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Liza's Story

Name: Liza Morton Age: 41 Age Diagnosed: At birth Condition: Congenital heart block and a surgically fixed atrial septal defect (ASD) Growing up, I tried to focus on the positives but we are our stories and mine emerged from difficulty.…
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David's Story

Name: David Makinson Age: 54, born May 1964 Age Diagnosed: Soon after birth at The Middlesex Hospital, London – the child of a single mother who wished to put me up for adoption. How has CHD affected your mental health? In a nutshell,…
Patient: Adam Stevens
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Adam's Story

Name: Adam Stevens Age: 39 Age when diagnosed: 2 weeks (originally suspected ToF) Condition: Transposition of the great arteries. How has having a heart condition impacted on your mental health? It’s given a schema of life that…
Somerville Foundation Appeal
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Susan's Story

Name: Susan Manley nee Millard Age: 66 Age when diagnosed: Before 1 year old Condition: Three holes in the heart and faulty Tricuspid valve How has having a heart condition impacted on your mental health? We were the experimental…
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Roderick's Story

Name: Roderick Skinner Age: 77 Age when diagnosed: 44 Condition: Triple bypass and replacement of defective (congenital)  aortic valve with a mechanical heart valve. How has having a heart condition impacted on your mental health? The…
Somerville Foundation
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Izzy's Story

Read an Extract from Izzy's original post... My Open Heart. I started to walk faster, legs shaking, and sheer panic overtook my entire body. As fast as my shaking legs could take me, I stumbled down the escalator of Oxford Circus station, attempting…
happy-hearts

Counselling Support for Children and Young People

Here are some options you can explore to find  counselling and psychological support near you. Youth Counselling Services: Based in your local area, sometimes run by the local authority or by a charity. These vary across the country and…

My life on Warfarin

I have been taking the drug warfarin since I was just six months old. I'm now 23, and when I tell people I take warfarin, they are sometimes confused and shocked. Why would a seemingly healthy 23 year old woman be on a drug commonly associated…
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Getting older with CHD - Part 2

"acquiring" other conditions This is the second of two articles Written by Dr Leisa Freeman, Consultant GUCH Cardiologist, and Toni Hardiman, Specialist GUCH Nurse GUCH Clinic Norfolk & Norwich University NHS Hospital.  These articles…
MRI Scan
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You need an MRI scan of your heart

Written collaboratively by Jonathan Upton, adult congenital heart patient and Helena Francis, Adult Congenital Heart Clinical Nurse Specialist at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust Perhaps these words are familiar to you.…
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Lets chill out

Taking time to relax is an important part of dealing with the stresses that life can throw at us. Learning how to relax is particularly helpful for those times when we get anxious or panicky. Practicing relaxation techniques as preparation for…
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Patients' Experiences of Waking up in Intensive Care

Patients' Experiences of Waking up in Intensive Care Intensive Care can be perceived as somewhere you will only find yourself if you are very sick. I invited GUCH patients and their relatives to share their memories of the intensive care units…
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Ebstein's and me

Ebstein's and me by Margaret Smith I was born in 1952 and diagnosed with Ebstein's Anomaly at birth. The prognosis was that I would not survive with this condition. I spent my first few years in and out of Sully Hospital in South Wales.…
Doctor checking heart rate of female patient
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Getting older with CHD. Part One

This is the first of two articles Written by Dr Leisa Freeman, Consultant GUCH Cardiologist, and Toni Hardiman, Specialist GUCH Nurse GUCH Clinic Norfolk & Norwich University NHS Hospital.  These articles originally appeared in issue 68…
World Cup concept - football in front of world flags

World Cup rehabilitation

My twin sister and I were born on 4th September 1981, I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) and had open heart surgery at the age of three to repair a hole in my heart.  I am afraid I don't remember too much about this particular operation…
Girl dressed for winter holding a little red heart up to the camera

Inspiring others

My name is Ashley. I Love taking part in social events with the Somerville Foundation and especially enjoyed the Bloomsbury Bowling Day and the Michael Jackson thriller Day. I met lots of new people and had a great time. I have also attended…
Kelly Staddon

Overcoming the odds - My Olympic Dream

Kelly Staddon is a truly remarkable young lady. Born in 1995, she was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA), a congenital heart condition which means that the pulmonary artery and the aorta are the wrong way round. This…
Heart shape stencilled on to white socks
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My Open Heart

I started to walk faster, legs shaking, and sheer panic overtook my entire body. As fast as my shaking legs could take me, I stumbled down the escalator of Oxford Circus station, attempting to get home. I carried the ‘panic attack’ label…
Nurse listening to young female patient's heart

My Transition Story

For everyone, growing up is incredibly difficult. From the moment you turn 18, you are catapulted into adult life. This often starts with little changes such as paying tax and national insurance, being able to buy alcohol and being able to vote.…
Paper cut out of family on a table next to a red heart and stethoscope

Irreplaceable Differences

I’m Donna. I’m 49, married, with 2 children; nothing out of the ordinary there - but everyone has a story to tell and this is mine… When I was born in 1967 ante-natal scans were uncommon, so when I was turning blue when feeding at 3…

A Part of Me

At 1:05 am on the 3rd October 2016, it all suddenly hit me.  “Not again”, I thought, as my heart thudded erratically in my chest, “Why me?”, “What are the chances?” – all the clichés ran through my head. It was 4 days after…
happy-hearts

Why I think happiness is a choice

Do you choose happiness? In recent months, I have been amazed by how many people have commented on and expressed how inspired they have been by my optimism and positivity when facing my medical challenges. My usual retort is that I just don’t…

The Power of Breath

Inspiration is all around us. If I look around me there are plenty of people I admire like the young girl who does the paper round every morning to help her mother, Pradyumna Kumar, a gentleman who was so defiant to be self-sufficient and cycled…

Lucy's experience of Surgery

My reaction from the moment I discovered the date of my operation was to cry, panic and worry – right up until the day arrived! I knew I had to get through surgery to survive and look forward to my future. This was a chance of a new beginning.…

My battle with Cancer and TOF

25th May 2016 - I was sat in outpatients waiting to see my specialist cardiologist Dr D. Wilson, even though this was a routine appointment, I felt awful. I’d been to my GP numerous times struggling with my monthlies. I’d been told I was…
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Joanne's Great Trek

I was only in the car for a few minutes when I heard the advert on the radio for a trek on the Great Wall of China with Charity Challenge. I was instantly curious... was I brave enough?  I figured there was only one way to find out and only…
Roseberry Topping Image by Steven Iceton
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Pauline's Roseberry Topping Challenge

Image Courtesy of Steven Iceton Living with a heart condition has always been a challenge and this has had its ups and downs. Since discovering The Somerville Foundation a number of years ago, I have received a lot of help and advice from…
Walking boots
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Walking in Gramps Footsteps

After being diagnosed with what appeared to be an innocent heart murmur as a child, Helen Witt did not think she would find herself facing open-heart surgery in her 40s. “I was born with a heart murmur, but it was never treated as the doctors…

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