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The Girl With Three Hearts {CHD Awareness}

Update :: It is with our deepest condolences and tears in our eyes that we update this post… 
Angela Moore passed away to be with her Lord and Savior on February 4, 2015.  In her all-too-brief time on earth, she left an indelible impact on our community and touched the lives of so many.  Houston Moms Blog feels absolutely privileged that she took the time to share her life story with us and all of you.  If you feel called to do so – donations in her memory are being collected at Heritage Christian Academy to assist with her beautiful son Karsten’s ongoing tuition.  But most of all, we ask that you keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve the loss of an amazing wife, mother, and woman.

There’s an old adage that says the third time’s the charm.  I hope and pray that is the case for me, at least when it comes to the number of hearts I’ve had.  My name is Angela Moore and some call me the girl with three hearts.

I was born in 1975 in St. Louis, MO with a congenital heart defect that was undetected at birth.  At seven months old, I began turning blue and after a few tests it was discovered that I had corrected transposition with a VSD, a rare heart defect which caused a hole between the bottom two ventricles of my heart.  Doctors at St. Louis Children’s Hospital performed open heart surgery and placed a band around the hole.  I recovered and led a completely normal early childhood.  At five years old, I underwent a preplanned open heart surgery to remove the band, and from the ages of 5-11 I led a completely normal life.

At 11 years old I became very weak and it was discovered that my mitral valve wasn’t working properly.  They performed my third open heart surgery and replaced my mitral valve with a mechanical valve.  Within a year I was in complete heart failure and the doctors realized that my tricuspid valve wasn’t fully pumping blood due to part of my original birth defect.  There was no other choice than a heart transplant.   I will never forget my parents taking me to a nearby park to tell me that I had two options; to have a heart transplant or not.  It was entirely my decision, but there wasn’t a choice.

In that moment I felt God speak to the deepest place in my soul and promise me that I would someday marry and become a mother.  At 12 years old, I had a glimpse of my future, and I held on tightly to His promise to me.  I was on the waiting list for my new heart for 2 months.  On May 18, 1988, I underwent my fourth open heart surgery…where my sick, basketball-sized heart was removed and a healthy new heart was put into a new home.  In the months following, I had to learn to walk again, and my body had to learn how to operate with a new heart.  Other than battling some water weight, I led a normal teenage life.  I survived high school, flourished in college, and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education.  The only transplant related issues I suffered from were some minor side effects of the anti rejection medication and the fact that I carried 3-8 lbs of water weight with me almost all the time.

God pulled up my Midwest roots and moved me to Houston the summer after I graduated from college.  I quickly became active in a local church’s singles Sunday school class.  I loved my new life in Houston!  In 1999 I met this cute guy in our Sunday school class, and in 2002 we were married.   Very early in our relationship I told Brian my life story, knowing that it could make or break our growing relationship.  He had zero issues with all of my health issues, and I knew he was the man for me!  The first part of God’s promise had come true.  I was married!  Brian and I both knew that adoption would be the best way to grow our family due to some of the anti-rejection medication I still take.

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In early 2006, we talked about beginning the adoption process and even met with our adoption consultant, but we still had some money to save.  Later that Fall I began having some extreme water retention issues, like 10-15 lbs of water weight!  I looked pregnant!  After meeting with my cardiologist, he recommended that I meet with a heart transplant cardiologist for further review.  I will never ever forget being told in that sterile doctor’s office that another heart transplant was recommended.  The right side of my heart was enlarged due to a leaking tricuspid valve I’d had since the original transplant.  {During the first transplant, my tricuspid valve was torn which caused the water retention I had been battling since that surgery.  Over time the tricuspid valve grew weaker and weaker.}  I was hysterical, furious, confused, crushed…and quite literally, heartbroken.  THIS was NOT in my plans!!!  After about a week of being truly depressed, I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and started the uphill journey towards another heart transplant.  I knew what transplantation entailed….a hard, long, painful road. I steadfastly prayed and believed that God had not whispered those 2 promises to me in vain.  I held onto God’s previous faithfulness to me with every fiber of my spirit.   I received a new heart on October 23, 2007…just 4 months after being formally placed on the waiting list.

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God poured His abundant grace over me.  I’m not going to lie, recovering from open heart surgery is hard, but it wasn’t nearly as difficult as the first few times.  My body adjusted more quickly, and I had no complications.   I just had a six year, annual check-up, and everything looks perfect!   The transplant doctors call me the poster child for transplants!  I’ll take that title any day!

If you are a mother of a child with health issues, I want to encourage you in a few areas.  I know I would not be the strong woman I am today if it weren’t for my parent’s influence during those really hard times.

  1. Give your child to the Lord and know that He has a perfect plan for them.
  2. Give your child things to look forward to when times are tough.  Plan fun activities to do that will get their minds off of the rough patches, even if for just a few hours.  Movies, crafts, outings with friends, anything that makes them feel normal for even a few hours!
  3. Don’t let them wallow in self pity for too long.  This may seem harsh, and you may be having a pity party with them…but look for something every day to laugh about and to be grateful for.  I believe my ability to pick myself up, dust myself off, and prepare for the battle as an adult was ingrained in me from childhood.
  4. If your child is in the hospital, and it’s allowed, bring them pajamas from home to wear.  I could only wear “gucci gowns” for so long!!  Seriously!  Those awful things will make anyone feel worse!

The rest of the story ::

So, you might want to know about that second promise that God whispered to me…the one about being a Mom…well, He is faithful.  On April 7, 2011, Karsten Edward Moore was born, and on April 10, 2011, we met him and brought him home.  He has been our greatest joy and delight.  He is everything I ever wanted in a child.  I love being a mommy to such a sweet, happy, caring, spirited little boy.  I love him more than I could ever express…if you’re a Mom, you know exactly what I mean.

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I’ve learned a few lessons in my 38 years of life that I’d like to share with you.

  1. God’s plans are never what you expect, but they really are perfect.  I wouldn’t change my story one bit because it’s led me to where I am today.
  2. Don’t sweat the small stuff…it really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
  3. Treasure your kids even when you’re at the end of a very frayed rope. Children’s hospitals are brimming with parents who wish their biggest stress was sorting through the heaping pile of dirty clothes, while mopping the floor, for the second time before 9 am, while the naked toddler continuously yells for the same episode of annoying toddler show #113.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story.

Many Blessings,

Angela

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Today Houston Moms Blog is dedicated to spreading awareness about congenital heart defects.  Please join us as inspirational local moms share the journeys of themselves and their little ones all throughout the day.  Our hope is that through this series, we can shed some light on CHDs and that these courageous fighters will become the voice of heart defects here in Houston.  To read more, please click here.

 
headshotAbout Angela M.

Angela is a wife of 12 years, adoptive mom to a precious little boy, and full time teacher.  She welcomes any questions you may have about her or her story and encourages you to visit her blog or email her [email protected]

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5 Responses to The Girl With Three Hearts {CHD Awareness}

  1. Jenn
    Jenn February 13, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    What a beautiful family! Thank you for sharing your story and that life lesson #3 really hits home today! We have to cherish this little gifts from God!

  2. Michelle Tanner February 13, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    Such a gorgeous mama & such an amazing story and a mama I look up to!

  3. Left 4 Dead 3 February 14, 2014 at 3:47 am #

    I do believe all of the concepts you have presented to your post. They’re really convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for beginners. May you please extend them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

  4. Amber February 8, 2015 at 8:16 pm #

    As a mom of a beautiful little girl with Tetralogy of Fallot, ASD, discontinued pulmonary artery and pulmonary artery stenosis I am truly grateful for wonderful survivors such as yourself that take a moment to share your experiences. I hope I am able to instill a similar love for life and optimism in my children. Thank you!

  5. travis rule February 11, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    It is with great sorrow i pass along information about Angela. This is her brother Travis. On Feb 4th 2015 Angela was called home to God due to recent complications. She was at home and though it was very sudden, she went painlessly when her Aorta ruptured. Her faith in the lord was unwaivering and im sure she was welcome into heaven as an ever faithful servant.

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