I have a broken heart.
An atrial septal defect (ASD) – consisting of a fairly big hole, and a bit of unusual plumbing.
The type of ASD I have is called a Sinus Venosus ASD. This defect is in the upper part of the atrial septum, near where a large vein (the superior vena cava) brings oxygen-poor blood from the upper body to the right atrium. Sinus venosus defects are rare, and they don’t close on their own.
I was born with it that way, but didn’t find out until 2011 exactly what is wrong. Pretty amazingly, despite not always looking after it as I ought to have (understatement of the century), it has pumped me all the way to the young side of middle-age, and for that I am very grateful. But now the steady hands of the cardiac surgeons are beckoning me towards the theatre, and I don’t mean the all singing, all dancing musical kind of theatre.
In December 2016 I will be having major surgery.
At the moment, about 45% of the deoxygenated blood that is removed from my lungs gets pumped back into them again, and the right side of my heart is more than double the size it should be. This means I get breathless more easily as my body tries to suck in more oxygen. I also get funny palpitation things, and can tire out quickly. This can be really frustrating and upsetting, as it make lots of things harder.
But the surgeons say they can fix it.
I am scared. And I am excited.
And I am going to share my journey with you.