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    SUPPORTING CHILDREN WITH CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE

    Lesley Meek

     

    My Story - by Lesley Meek

     

    My Name is Lesley I was born in December 1966 to My Mother and Father and I am their only child. I was born in the local Hospital on a Tuesday afternoon 2.30 pm looking ok but the Doctor put me in a little Baby incubator because I was slowly turning blue.  And I was  born 11 weeks early I was due on Valentine’s Day 1967.

     

    They told my Parents that I may not see out the rest of the day But I did and on the 28th of December 1966. My Father had me christened in the Hospital church Lesley May that was my name..My grandmother was also called May she was my Dads mother...however my Mother did not like this one bit. But it was done no going back.


    On or around the 29th of  December I had a angioplasty to help me breath better the doctor made a small hole in my heart for my blood to flow better it was fine for a few days but the little hole close by itself so it had to been done again .. (Just my luck)


    So I was getting better putting on a bit of weight and on 11 meds a day every 3 hours. I was still in the hospital 2 years later never came home at all.


    At the age of 3 years I was getting ready for school (in Wales children start school at 3)


    The local school would not take me because I was still on lots of meds and they would not give them to me. So I went to another school where I was very happy.  At the age of 6 my parents were going through a divorce they were having problems and the stress of me didn’t help. So my mother and I stayed with my grandmother for a few years I still saw my Dad and his mother the one I was named after. (May)

     

    So in 1978 my mother remarried a lovely man called Brian. And in that year at Christmas time I was getting worse with my chest all the time so my doctor  Dr James said to my mother you must get her to London or you are going to lose her soon.  I was now also most 12 years old and more or less knew about what was going on.


    So in January 1979 I was taken up to London by car to the Royal Brompton Hospital London for heart surgery.. It was New Years Day 1st of January 1979 and it was snowing.          

     

    On the 2nd of January I was having open-heart surgery it took 7 hours and it saved my life. I had Transposition of the Greater Arteries also known as the Mustard Procedure. Two weeks later I was allowed to go home back to Wales with my mother..


    I was told no more meds anymore so had a great time flushing them all down the loo.

     

    At the age of 13 years I was off to comprehensive school (Big school)..


    I just loved it I met a girl on the first day called Valerie she was my best friend from then on we went everywhere together the swimming pool, discos shopping and of course watching the boys!


    I was still going for my check–ups every couple of months only in a Cardiff Hospital now not up London.
     
    In 1982 still in school I met this boy he was older than me he was also 19 his name was Byron he was from a big family he was the 3rd child of 7 he had 3 brothers and 3 sisters.  We went out for a few years and then I told him I may not be able to have children because of my heart condition. He said He didn’t mind. So in 1984 I was now 18 years old I was told my Doctors at the Hospital that they would sterilize me not to have children because it would be dangerous. I and Byron agreed and on the 11th December 1984 I was sterilized. That year we also got engaged. (Also my Dad had remarried in 1985)


    I was feeling very low at this time but just had to get myself together and think of the future. In 1986 we got married in a registry office and bought our first home. We both found jobs and we were doing ok.  In 1993 my step-dad Brian was told he had cancer and later that year he passed away. Myself and Byron sold our house and went back to live with my mother.  We put the money for our house into another house and we rented it out for a while. After a while my Mother met a man and they were living together in her house so I and Byron went in to our house.  My friend Valerie had moved to London to work has a nanny and had married and had two children but she was in the middle of a divorce was coming back to Wales with her children. They were 4 and 6 at the time.


    Many years ago when I knew I would never have my own family Valerie said to me don’t worry I’ll have a Baby for you we were 14 and 16 at the time..
     
    So when she came back to Wales and got a house and was settled in it she said to us “come on then let’s has this Baby”. I and Byron were so shocked!!  So in 1997 Valerie had giving birth to our Son weighting in at 8lb 4oz. We were over the moon.


    But sadly in January of 1998 my Mother pass way with massive heart attack in her sleep my son was 9 weeks old.  I was so shocked she was 57 years old.  I have also lost my Dad to cancer in 2008 he was 75  ...Well has you can see being a CHD has not stopped me doing much ... My son is now 15 years old and doing ok and understands that I’m not  always 100 % all  of the time  myself and Byron have been married almost 27 years now ..  There is hope you do have a life but sometimes it is not easy.   I’m still here to watch   my Son grow up. That is what keeps me going. Oh and my Nana May lived until she was 92..  She is watching over me I’m sure. (My motto is onwards and upwards !!  )

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