Nicole Sanchez is Surviving CHD

August 25, 2012

My name is Nicole Sanchez and I was born on January 4th, 1983 with tricuspid atresia. With TA also comes normally related great arteries with a small ventricular septal defect and rudimentary right ventricle. Basically this means that I was born without a tricuspid valve, and because the valve did not form, neither did my right ventricle. I had two closed-heart surgeries as a baby including a BT shunt placement. In November of 1988, I had open-heart surgery, a Fontan procedure.

Since my Fontan, I have been fortunate enough to not need any more surgeries. I do see a cardiologist every year for an EKG and Echo, and there’s the occasional heart monitor or stress test, but so far, so good…Not to say there haven’t been a couple of tiny bumps in the road, but at the end of the day I have led a relatively normal life. I grew up with two brothers (one older, one younger- both heart healthy), went to public school, had a job since I was 14, traveled with friends and studied abroad during college, and have even walked in a half marathon through the streets of San Francisco.  My mother once told me that when I was a baby in the hospital, she would tell me “one day we will be dancing at your wedding”; In August of 2008 her promise was fulfilled as I married my husband Jose. Having children was always a question mark, but in December of 2010 I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy (and hope to have at least one more!).

Mended Little Hearts came into my life this past March when I received an email from Andrea Himmelberger telling me a group was starting up in the Bay Area. I have always wanted to give back to the CHD community, to give hope to parents of children going through the same things I have. I am so grateful to MLH for giving me this opportunity. Although I am just 29, I feel like my CHD journey has already come full circle. I’ve survived, I’ve thrived, and now I am ready to share my experiences with all of you.  I have already met so many wonderful people, and am so excited for what the future holds for me, the Silicon Valley group, and for Mended Little Hearts everywhere.

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4 Responses to Nicole Sanchez is Surviving CHD

  1. Shannon Hutcheson
    August 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story Nicole! I have a 2 yr old son, Dylan, that has CHD (tricuspid atresia and transposition of the great arteries). He has undergone 2 surgeries so far and we are hoping for the 3rd and final one within the next year. I always enjoy reading stories such as yours because it gives me hope that he will have a relatively normal life and will be able to accomplish great things! Thank you again and congratulations on your healthy baby boy!!

  2. Jen
    August 25, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing. I have a heart mom friend whose young daughter (with Tricuspid Atresia too) was sad that she couldn’t get married because of her scar. I will forward your story on to her. Thanks for giving us hope for our little heart warriors and proof that the life we dream of for our children is possible.

  3. perronservices
    August 26, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Hi Nicole, I was born in 1963 with Tricuspid Atresia and am always grateful for my care at Boston Children’s Hospital. Stay strong and remember you are a survivor who is very resilient. Please feel free to keep in touch!

  4. Scott Mitre
    August 27, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Nicloe, Thanks for shareing your life with us. Uncle Scott