What are My life changing experience

What are My life changing experience;My name is Melissa Losada. I was born in Michigan in the year 1995. I lived there with my mom until my younger sister Rebecca was born. Soon after we moved to West Virginia to be with my grandmother, it was 1996 I was two years old when I moved to the city of Beckley, West Virginia and that is the only place I have ever lived since. Beaver elementary is where I went to elementary school, I lived directly in front of the school so I was never really far from home. Back then my mom was our girl scout troop leader and we were the “Brownies” which was our group name. I enjoyed school as a kid. As I moved up to middle school I started going to Shady Spring middle school. I ran track for the school, usually the two hundred meter race and I was also a part of a volunteer club. While volunteering we did a lot of different things, usually fundraisers to raise money for various causes and we often visited nursing homes to play games or have conversation with some of the residents. Within a few visits I eventually made a new friend, Francis. She lived in Greystone nursing homes. I was in eighth grade when I met her. She spoke quietly and she had a heavy accent which I found difficult to comprehend at times.

One Sunday my group was visiting the residents so I decided to invite Francis to attend the church service they were having at the home and she told me that she would not go with me and wanted to stay home. A few weekends later we visited the home again. Francis was among some of the residents that were eating lunch so I decided to sit and converse with her for a bit. As I did she began to inform me that she was Jewish -not Christian. I apologized and she proceeded to tell me about a sensitive chapter of her life. She said when she was young she lived in Germany, she told me stories about living in the country under Hitler’s control. She said that Hitler took over her home and her family and forced them to work for days with little food so she would eat the grass on the ground yet she then explained that she was very grateful to have lived her life. This confused me because although she had been through a lot of awful things she was optimistic. She was 94 when I met her. Years later after my volunteer program ended I tried to visit with Francis again but I received upsetting news that she had passed away at an age I am unaware of.

After that, I started school at Shady Spring High school. I didn’t play any sports and I pretty much always made good grades. As I was in my sophomore year of high school when I noticed that I didn’t really feel well, psychically.
After having chest pains on two different occasions I went to the hospital, they told me I had anxiety. After the third hospital visit doctors told us to go to a hospital in Charleston for a second opinion and we decided we would. I had an appointment at I saw a cardiologist and spoke with him about how I felt and he started running a few different tests. Eventually I was getting an ultrasound on my ribs and chest. After that, I remember I was sitting in the room with my mom when he said that I have atrial septal defect or also known as ASD. ASD is a heart defect that is present at birth, meaning I was born with it. When humans are babies in the womb you have a hole in your atria to let blood flow around the lungs and whenever you are born this hole closes. For me, it never closed therefore I have an abnormal opening in the dividing wall of my heart. This means oxygenated blood from the left chamber of the atrium flows through the hole to the right side where it mixes with oxygen poor blood. He explained to us that it was dangerous because when I get older I could experience shortened life expectancy, heart failure, increased risk of stroke and heart rhythm abnormalities.

He said that my heart was already enlarged and the hole in my septum wall was large also and that I would need to have it repaired or I was less likely to live past forty years of age. Now, I am sixteen years old and being told I have a congenital heart disease is an huge surprise and applying all of this was difficult for me and even more difficult for my mom. And then he said in order to repair it I would have to undergo open heart surgery. He explained that open heart surgery is a major surgery but it is a simple fix that some surgeons probably repair three or four times a week. After that I was put on homebound in order to have an open schedule to set a date for the surgery and to ensure that I could finish the tenth grade. I was really bummed that i could not continnue to go to school and see my friends but I knew it had to be done. The surgery date ended up being set for my last day of school, that way I would have all summer to recover. Before I knew it my surgery date was here. I was in Morgantown, West Virginia. As I prepared for surgery I spoke to my mom and my sister, the only two people that were there. We were all considerably scared and it was in that moment that I realized how precious they are to me and how fragile we all are. Then I got taken back to the operating room, I was talking to my anesthesiologist as he is putting on my epidural and after that I was given anesthesia and was out cold. Waking up the next day I was greeted with smiles from my mom and my nurse. I immediately told them I was cold and thirsty but the nurse would not allow me to consume anything because I hadn’t had anything to drink or eat in well over 25 hours other than my IV.

She allowed me to have one ice cube every thirty minutes to quench my thirst. I was very uncomfortable and sad. There were no complications with the surgery but I felt a lot of pressure on my chest. I don’t remember much due to the amount of morphine that was in my system at the hospital. Before I was admitted from the hospital I was given strict guidelines to follow after surgery. I had to practice my breathing to build my strength back up and I could not lift anything heavier than a fork for three months. That is what my rules were. That’s a tough task, after three weeks of your family doing everything for you, lifting everything for you and watching you like a baby it gets kind of old. I felt like I was incredibly weak and helpless. The sad truth is that I was but all I wanted was to be healed up and healthy. During this time in my life I started to really appreciate the fact that I still had my life, the idea that life is a gift and you should never take it for granted. I then started to look at life in a whole new aspect. I appreciated the few people I had in my life, I started to take pleasure in sentimental things rather than luxury things. I started spending time and cherishing my family, I realized they were most important.

I began to generally appreciate and enjoy life more. I thought of Francis because I finally understood how she was really happy with the smallest of things. In the end, I personally believe that life is kind of like a roller coaster. Everyone has their highs and their lows. Sometimes when your at your lowest that means your can only go up from there and that can add a new attitude to your life. For me, my lowest point taught me to cherish my wonderful life, family and friends and that you should also enjoy it to its fullest extent because you only live once. A year after surgery I made a full recovery, my heart went back to a normal size with normal heartbeats. I had no restrictions as to what I could do and my doctor even said I could be a marine if I wanted to!