Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Orlando, I HEART You

A few months ago, I was scrolling through my emails and found a subject line that read, "Join Us in Orlando!" Of course, I clicked on it! It was from the Adult Congenital Heart Association, which I had just subscribed to receive their emails fairly recently before. I looked at the date and, unfortunately, it was at such a bad time for our family. Josh was taking the CFA the same day and I knew I would continue to be busy with life. After reviewing the subject matter, I knew I needed to attend. I talked to Josh and he thought it would be important for me to attend. I wanted someone to go with me for moral support and an extra ear to hear everything. I asked my dad and he didn't hesitate. We started planning the trip.
On Thursday night, Charlotte and I flew to Orlando. I didn't have anywhere for her to go, but since I have a Southwest companion pass, she flew for free. My dad picked us up super late. We arrived at the hotel around 1:00 am. The next morning start early!!  

We had to be at the first class at 7:30.  I walked over to the hotel (we stayed next door), had a heart healthy breakfast and headed to class. Charlotte did not like any part of the conference, but you cannot blame her.  A lot of it was information I already knew but there were more clear explanations of other subjects and just overall, much needed information.

This is the condition I have, Transposition of the Great Arteries.  

When I had my second open-heart surgery, my tricuspid valve was replaced with this!  

After the conference ended on night one, we headed over to Disney Springs!  If you haven't guessed by now, I lOVE DISNEY!!  We walked around and ate at T-Rex.  There was quite a wait to be seated, but there was nobody in the bar.  So we ate there!!  It was awesome.  We loved the food and entertainment.  All the dinosaurs come to life, the lights go crazy...it was a great experience.  Think, Rain Forest Cafe meets Jurassic Park!  I would highly recommend it to those of you who have kids!  

We left the restaurant, walked around for a few minutes and made it to the World of Disney store just in time to get stuck before the storm hit.  The rain in the south never ceases to amaze me.  It did not let up AT ALL!!  We finally ran back to T-Rex to get the less expensive ponchos.  haha.  We were able to make it back to the car dry!

Day 2 of the conference started super early as well.  This was the day I was most looking forward to with a couple classes on building your family.  This was the main reason I wanted to attend the conference.  I want to hear other patients stories and get more opinions.  It was very encouraging, but I did learn every one has a different experience!  No two heart problems result in the same thing.  It was so crazy to me!!  It just goes to show what a huge decision it really is to make.  What happens with one person, doesn't necessarily happen to another!!  

One class discussed other options, aside from actually getting pregnant.  I honestly felt like I could have taught the class with all the research I have done over the past 3 years!!  But it was great hearing from other women who have gone through the different processes themselves.  So much to think about, pray about and discuss.  

There were a few classes about exercise and diet.  I have been trying to exercise more consistently and now that I am not working, I will be cooking dinner.  I am not thrilled to do so, but I know it will be better for my overall health!!  If you have any heart healthy meals, please put them in the comments!  

There was one more class I would have liked to attend, about mental illness and the relation with heart defects, but Charlotte could not have sat through another hour!!  So we left and went over to eat at Fuddruckers, walked around Outdoor World, until the parking was free at Universal Studios.

Around 6:00 pm, we went over to the Universal City Walk and saw, "Captain Underpants."  Of course it was pouring buckets of rain, so it was a great indoor activity.  And if you have young children (elementary age), they would love the movie.  Charlotte was hysterically laughing!  

Around 6:00 pm, we went over to the Universal City Walk and saw, "Captain Underpants."  Of course it was pouring buckets of rain, so it was a great indoor activity.  And if you have young children (elementary age), they would love the movie.  Charlotte was hysterically laughing!  

Overall it was a great conference and I am really glad I was able to attend.  I have come a long way in the last 32 years.  Beating the odds and surpassing doctors expectations.  I cannot wait to see what my future holds.  

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