Everyone goes through negative and positive things in their life. I believe some people have worse luck than others. There are people who deal with more pain and heartache then other people do. It sucks. That’s life — an ongoing lesson, for life is the teacher and you are the student.

On the other hand, it also seems that some people are able to enjoy life more then others.

I am currently learning how to adjust to the same life with a new body. I had a cardiac murmur since infancy, as well as a congenital cleft in the leaflet of the mitral valve, which caused mitral valve prolapse and mitral valve regurgitation.

I am 19 years old and I hit my two-month mark following open heart surgery — and it’s been sort of mind-boggling.

For my whole life, all I have known was my heart condition. Through thick and thin, it has never left — even though I wanted it to. How does someone grieve a medical condition? I feel a little crazy for saying that, but that’s what I have come to terms with. I am grieving the loss of my condition, even though that means joy for the rest of my life.

My medical condition would have continued to have cost me extra stress and damage to my body. The symptoms were dizziness, lightheadedness, palpitations, chest pains, and a strong/loud heart murmur. I started having issues such as numbness, and it probably would have started to affect my circulation. It would have led to heart failure and a short lifespan. I still get upset, because I can’t believe that my condition is gone.

How do I restart my life? I never got to start college because I was diagnosed with such a severe malady. I stopped doing the things I love, such as dancing, and I feel as though I have fallen behind. Leading up to my surgery, all I have been doing is keeping a light, steady job and trying to keep myself healthy and keep up with my medical appointments. I took my blood pressure and my oxygen regularly just to be on the safe side. It was so exhausting. In the past year I’ve been to a cardiologist, cardiovascular surgeon, pulmonologist, neurologist and sleep specialist.

A couple months before I was diagnosed with severe mitral regurgitation, all I knew was hard work, school and extracurricular activities. Despite my limitations, I tried to work around them. I was always busy making sure I got to experience the opportunities that were available to me.

Now I feel like I move like a snail. I still feel like I have the same issues, even though the disease is gone. I know it takes up to a year to feel the difference. But I have no job, no schooling, no dancing and nothing with which I was familiar and comfortable.

Over the years, I learned that the more I slowed down, the harder it was to get back up.

I am truly grateful to not have the disease, I really am. I am just so surprised at how much it truly is affecting me. Do people grieve things like this? Is it normal?

There are so many things I want to do and love doing, but I have been in a funk lately and I just have to learn how to be myself again.

A passion for travel will always be a part of me, so I am planning a trip to Colorado! Life is to short mope around. If traveling is something I can do that will make me happy and get me back in the swing of things, I am going to pursue it!

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Lauren Adele Davis is 19 years old and from New York. She has three amazing puppies and a wonderful husband who has helped her tremendously.

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