Posts Tagged With: Congenital heart condition

Day 2182: What you have survived

Take a breath, in this present moment, and consider what you have survived.

How does that affect you?

When I look at what I have survived, I feel braver and more hopeful about what I’m facing now.

I have survived

  • many holidays over my almost-66 years,
  • two thousand, two hundred, and eighteen days of blogging,
  • a congenital heart condition,
  • many surgeries,
  • sexism,
  • anti-Semitism,
  • the death of both my parents,
  • other departures,
  • fear,
  • misunderstandings,
  • miscommunications,
  • personal comments (including being called “incapable“),
  • silence,
  • anger,
  • rivalries,
  • the dark,
  • the cold,
  • feeling lost,
  • incompetent leaders, and
  • lots of  crap.

What have you survived?

I assume we’ll all survive my recent photos.













Here‘s a reggae version of “I Will Survive.”

What helps me survive?  Gratitude, all those who help me create these daily blogs, and — of course! — YOU.



Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 1818: Children

Almost exactly three years ago, I published another post titled “Children.”    ‘Tis the season, I suppose, for visions of children to dance in my head.

Also, I saw this yesterday:


Are visions of children dancing in my other photos from yesterday?







That’s my only child, Aaron. When I was a child, I was told it was not advisable for me to have children because of my very unusual heart.   I doubt that outdated advice is in this book …


….which my child and I saw yesterday at a local library.

Children are good for a happy, healthy heart. So is music like this:

Thanks to all the children and adults who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 1513: What’s in your heart?

What’s in your heart as you’re reading this?

What’s in my heart as I’m writing this?

  • Love.
  • Hope.
  • Fear.
  • Acceptance.
  • Anticipation.
  • Curiosity.
  • Blood.
  • Muscle.
  • A mechanical valve.
  • Wires from a 1966 cardiac pacemaker.
  • Wires from a 1987 cardiac pacemaker.
  • Arteries.
  • Veins.
  • Everything I experienced yesterday, including this big heart in the heart of Belmont, Massachusetts:


  • Music (which is on the left in that big heart).

  • Groove.
  • Delight.
  • Fun.
  • Mysteries.
  • Wisdom.


  • Completeness.
  • The results of decades of eating all sorts of food.


  • Appreciation for all who helped me create this post and for you — of course!


Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 1376: What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have ____?

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have my readers and my blog to write every day?

What do you have to look forward to if I don’t have a good enough explanation for the inspiration behind today’s post title?

When I was a little girl, there was nothing I looked forward to more than my mother finally saying “yes” to my repeated requests that we get a cat. One thing I did NOT look forward to, back then,  were all the hospitalizations I needed because of my congenital heart condition. After my first major heart surgery, when I was 10 years old, I woke up from the anesthesia and said to my mother:

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have a cat?

After I fell back asleep, I woke up again and said to my mother:

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have a cat?

My mother looked forward and told me I could look forward to getting a cat after I came home from the hospital.

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have a photo of me and my first cat Tuffy to share with you all?


What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have my iPhone to capture images I find interesting, while I am recovering from recent heart valve replacement surgery?




















What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have music to enjoy, like “Morph the Cat” by Donald Fagen?

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have comments about this post?

What do I have to look forward to if I don’t have gratitude for all those who helped me create this post and for you — of course! — no matter what you have to look forward to, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, staying healthy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 1355: My heart soars

My soon-to-be-repaired heart soars at all the good wishes,  beautiful thoughts, and love I’ve been receiving here in the blogosphere and in the northern hemisphere.

My heart soared yesterday when somebody at work gave me a heart-felt, soaring present.









Like that heart-soaring girl,  I’ll soon be soaring through the air. In two days, I’ll be soaring with my boyfriend Michael to Minnesota for a new valve, which should make my heart soar even better.

What makes your heart soar?

My heart soars  at the memory of this music from Peter Pan.

When I was a kid, my very unusual heart soared whenever Peter Pan soared into my living room.

Whenever comments soar into my blog, my heart soars.

Thanks from my  soon-to-be-sore-and-then-healing heart  to all who helped me create this post  and to you — of course! — for soaring here today.

Categories: heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Day 1352: Forget it!

I forgot my phone at work last night, so if you expected to see any photos from yesterday, forget it!

I tend to forget:

  • my phone,
  • umbrellas,
  • numbers,
  • song lyrics,
  • people’s names,
  • dates,
  • details about movies I’ve only seen once,
  • grudges, and
  • I forget what else.

Stress often increases forgetfulness.  I’m forgetting more than usual this week. If you want me to explain why that is, forget it!   I’d rather focus on what I wish I could forget, which includes:

  • past hurts,
  • past disappointments,
  • past illnesses,
  • past surgeries,
  • cruelty, and
  • politics, if only for a moment.

But forget it! I can’t control what I forget and what I remember. Right now, I remember talking to my friend Megan yesterday about the ups and downs of life and how we wished we could remember to ride them, like surfers riding waves.

I’m sure there are recent photos I’ve forgotten to include in this blog.

Here’s one!


I forget why I took that.  Actually, I think I took it accidentally.

If you want me to come up with a reason for why that photo is a good match for today’s blog, forget it!  I have to leave early because I forgot to get an inspection sticker for my car, and if a cop stops me about having an expired sticker, forget it!

I wonder if there’s anything titled “Forget It” on YouTube?

Forget it!  There’s too many Forget Its on YouTube!  Here’s the first “Forget It” I found:

Here‘s a song I’ll never forget and which I heard yesterday on my way to work:

If you want me to explain why “Love is the Answer” by Todd Rundgren is unforgettable, forget it!

If you leave a comment, I won’t forget it. And I can’t forget to thank all who helped me create today’s post or you — of course! — for remembering to visit, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 769: Wait!

Wait!  Guess how many blog posts I’ve written with the title “Wait” over the last two years!

I’ll wait while you think of a number, between zero and seven hundred and sixty-eight.

Hmmmmm. I’m not sure how you feel about guessing games. Are you OK?  And what number did you come up with?

Do you want me to tell you the answer now, or would you like to wait?*

I don’t know about you, but waiting is not one of my favorite activities.

For example, about ten days ago, after waiting for months to find out whether and when I’m going to need major heart surgery, I got this email from somebody on my vast team of heart specialists, spread out over several Boston-area hospitals ….

Wait!  When I just checked my work emails, I found this new one, instead:

Current weather forecasts call for 12 – 18 inches of snow to fall throughout the Boston area beginning Saturday night and continuing through Monday evening, Feb. 9. The worst of the snow is expected during the day Monday.

Please give yourself extra time so you can travel and commute safely.

Although we have not yet been informed of a travel ban associated with this storm, please remember you must have your ID badge with you to show to authorities if there are any restrictions going forward.

Please also know that the most important factor for you to consider is the safety of you and your family during the storm. Please review and share with staff the information below about arrangements under way at the medical center.

Now you know what New England is waiting for, today and tomorrow. Please wait while I look for that heart-related email, again.

Wait!  That email didn’t go to my work address.

Please wait while I check my home email.

Thanks for waiting.  Here’s that email, dated 1/30/15:

We will get back to you next week after we have been able to review everything.

I waited. Nobody got back to me.

Other things got back to me last week. Those included:

IMG_5284 IMG_5286

  • my son, with this birthday gift


When I am waiting for others, here’s what I do (wait for it) ….







I distract myself. For example, guess how many times I listened to this video I posted yesterday!

I won’t make you wait for THAT answer, OK?

I lost count of how many times I played that yesterday, as a way to self-soothe and distract.

Wait!  Why did I listen to Glee‘s version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” over and over again, yesterday, instead of something else?

Wait, please, while I figure that out.

Wait!  I think I’ve found a good-enough answer to that.

Since I’ve been a child, dealing with my congenital heart condition, lots of people have been asking me, in verbal and non-verbal ways, “Ann(ie), are you OK?” After waiting my whole life, I finally found a song that somehow captures the essence of that life-long experience.

Wait!  Did that make sense to you?

Wait!  It makes sense to me.

Wait!  A few more things, before I publish this post.  After waiting for years (I assume), other people with congenital heart conditions convinced the powers-that-be to declare this coming week …

images (51)

(If you don’t want to wait, you can find that image here, at another blog.)

Wait!  That image, above, tells me that Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week has been waiting for me to find out about it, for a while. My first awareness of it was yesterday, but now I know it’s been around at least since 2011.

I’m still waiting for a word I like better, though, instead of “Defect.”

Wait!  I think I’ve seen some CHD images, where “D” stands for something else  (like “Disease”) (which is also not one of my favorite words).  Wait while I check Google Images for “CHD Awareness Week”:


Wait!  The D-word there is slightly different (“Defects”), but I don’t like that word any better.


“Defect” is still the word, in that image found here.


Wait!  When I read that last one (found here), I THOUGHT IT SAID “CONGENITAL HEART PERFECT AWARENESS WEEK!”  I was going to write, just now:

That last image was worth waiting for.

I guess we see what we’ve been waiting to see, sometimes.

Anyway, I’m not going to wait for somebody else to replace the word “defect” in CHD with something else. Here are my suggestions:

  • Perfect (see above, but that’s not perfect because it should be a “D” word, for “CHD”).
  • Condition (see above, blah blah blah blah blah).





Wait.  I can NOT, here and now, think of another D-word, that fits.  Can you?

I’ll wait.

WAIT! How about this?!?!?

I don’t have a Congenital Heart Defect. I have a Congenital Heart Distraction.

Wait!  Have you been waiting for songs about waiting?

(“Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer found here on YouTube.)

(“She’s Waiting” by Eric Clapton found here on YouTube.)

(“Wait” by the Beatles found here on YouTube.)

I can’t wait any more!  I have to publish this post!

Many thanks to all who have ever waited for anything in their lives, including you (of course!).

* Thanks for waiting. The number of posts I’ve written with the word “Wait” in the title is exactly







zero (according to WordPress).**

** Wait!  I don’t want WordPress to get the last word!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 149: To Tweet or Not to Tweet (is that the question?)

(This post is dedicated to my good friend, Newell.)

Like most people my age (I assume), I resist some new things.

Like most people (I assume), I resist some new things.

Resistance to new things is pretty common, isn’t it? I mean, it would make sense, that we would resist something unknown.

Change engenders both hope and fear. How could it not?

I’m not sure whether I’m any more resistant to new things now, than I was when I was younger.

I can’t remember!

That’s not exactly correct. I can remember a lot of things. I’m just not sure how to interpret all that data, regarding this particular question: Am I more resistant to change — now that I’m older — than I was before?

My guess, right now, is that I’m more resistant to change if I have some fears about the changes.

And the more secure I am in my competence and skills in adapting to change, the less fear I will have, and the less I will resist a change.

And, actually, dear reader, I’ve been thinking lately that the trend, for me, is to become MORE secure as I get older.

I confess: I like getting older. Whenever somebody asks me, what age would you like to be? I always answer, “This one.” I never name an earlier one.

This makes me feel weird, to tell you the truth. Because I hear so much noise, out there, regarding fear of aging. And I understand it. I do! Because the more we age, the closer to (the big D) we are.

(I didn’t want to freak people out, by using the D-word.)

But, for some reason, aging doesn’t make me feel closer to death, for the most part. (Ooops! I used the d-word.)

Actually, I know the reason. It’s because I was born with a heart “defect”, and I got that message loud and clear from people around me: You probably won’t live very long.

And about two years ago (when I was 58 years old), a doctor finally said to me, “You know what, Ann? I think you’re going to live as long as anybody else.”

So this unusual life of mine has given me several gifts (I assume):

  • I am often in the moment.
  • I am grateful for being alive (almost always, although I lose track of that sometimes)).
  • I enjoy aging.

Just so you don’t think my mind is filled with rainbows and unicorns, I will say this: I’m still afraid of death (although I’m working on that). And there are down sides to being as much in the moment as I am. (I have trouble planning ahead, for one.)

However, I do see My Unusual Life as bringing many more gifts than drawbacks.

Now, some of you, at this point, may be thinking:

What the hell is the deal with the title of this post? What does THIS have to do with Tweeting?

Good questions, astute readers!

Well, my intent when I started writing this was to discuss how I have resisted getting on Twitter, and to wonder whether this reflected (1) resistance to change, in general and (2) resistance to a (relatively) new-fangled technology, from me, an older person.

But, as Dr. Seuss said ….


Thanks for reading, everybody.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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