Meet Madison in Scott City Kansas
My name is Madison Braun and I am 14 years old. I was born on December 23, 1997, and according to my parents, I was a healthy child, never having to go to the doctor more than a few times for common things, like ear infections and colds. But all of that changed in July 2010.
I started a summer weights program and did fine with the lifting, but when we had to start the conditioning part of the program at the track, I noticed that I would get real tired and run out of breath easily. We had to run sprints, longer distances, and run stairs, and I could not keep up with my friends. My coaches told me that I was probably just out of shape and I needed to run more to increase my stamina, which I did, but I didn’t seem to get any better.
When I started my 7th grade year at school, in August 2010, I had a P.E. class and I also went out for volleyball. It seemed like whenever I ran I would get weak and short of breath. My P.E. teachers told my mom and dad that I could only run about a minute before running out of energy. I went from running a 9 minute mile the year before, to a 14 minute mile, so they knew something was really wrong.
My mom took me to our family doctor & it was then noticed that my blood oxygen levels were really low. I had a chest x-ray which showed a little bit of a heart enlargement, so my doctor called and got me an appointment in Denver to see a pediatric cardiologist, a couple of days later. After some tests, we found out that I had at least one hole in my heart, my blood was flowing backwards, and that my right ventricle was abnormal. My cardiologist scheduled an MRI as well as a diagnostic heart catheterization, and a biopsy of my heart tissue to test for any heart disease.
After my MRI and the 3 hour long catheterization, I was diagnosed with 3 holes in my heart, called Atrial Septal Defects, which are birth defects that are caused when the heart is being formed in the womb. One of the holes was as big as a half dollar, and my doctors were amazed that I had never shown any symptoms before.
In addition to the holes, I was also diagnosed with Pectus Excavatum, which means that my breastbone was sunk in and pressing down on my right ventricle, causing my blood flow problem. It was then that we found out that I would need open heart surgery to patch the holes and repair my pectus. Now I was really scared! I knew that once my heart was fixed I would feel better, but knowing that someone was going to open up my chest and hold my heart in their hands was not easy to think about. It helped a lot though that my doctors and my parents talked to me openly and honestly and explained what was going to happen. That helped me be a little less afraid.
On December 17, 2010, I had my surgery and was in the hospital for 7 days. The pain was the hardest part, but every day I seemed to feel a little bit better and get a little bit stronger, and I was able to go back to school with my classmates on January 3rd, following Christmas break.
On March 18, 2011 I had an exercise test to see if my heart could handle the stress of competitive sports, and I am happy to say that I passed with flying colors and was cleared to go back to participating in my favorite physical activities, which include volleyball, basketball, track, softball, and dance.
I will go back for a check-up once a year, but there is no reason to believe that I will have future problems. Every day I thank God for my awesome doctors and all of the people who prayed for my family and I during that very scary time.
I have made the decision to go to medical school after high school to become a Pediatric Cardiologist, so that one day I can give back and help children who face heart problems.
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