Transitioning to Adulthood

The Changing of the Guard Growing up as a child with Congenital Heart Disease as well as other chronic issues, my mindset is that having the most consistent and dedicated care from doctors is so important. For 33 years, I was fortunate to have one of the greatest doctors around in my cardiologist Dr. Lacina. I had been a patient of his before I was even born. Lacina always spent time with me, went over things in a thorough manner and always give me the best advice. Even when he and I would butt heads from time to time, I always came out the better from it. Not only was he my doctor. He was someone I respected, admired and held in the highest regard. His retirement left a void in me, because he meant so

much to me as a doctor and as a person. It's something that you really can't

replace. Going into this year, I had to find a new cardiologist. I knew that time would eventually come, but I can honestly say I wasn't ready for it. There were times I panicked, I cried and was unsure if I would even follow up this year on my long-term care. The best thing I could have ever done in this situation was to start doing research, and asking others about their opinions and observations of the doctors they have been seeing.

Congenital Heart support groups have been so vital and important in

this year long process. CHD Legacy is one resource that has helped me

a lot. I am not sure what I would have done had friends from my support

groups wouldn't have talk to me about this transition.

The best thing you could ever do for yourself as a patient is to ask

others about their opinions and observations about their care that a

doctor provides them. Going into my most recent appointment at Helen Devos Congenital Heart Center, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was nervous, anxious and was ready for the next chapter. The entire team from the echo-tech, the nurse and my new cardiologist was absolutely amazing. My expectations were met more than I ever thought possible. I was so glad I asked multiple people about the new cardiologist I was seeing. I had made the mistake during other transitions of not asking about who I was seeing, and I was unhappy and unsatisfied with my care. You can learn a lot of lessons in life, but one lesson I can give you, is ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS. Your health, your care and your attitude toward your health and care depend on it.

Author: Joe Williamson

Pulmonary Atresia, 33

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