Hello my name is Gianna Robertson. I am currently 9-years-old. I am in the 4th grade at John F. Kennedy School in New Jersey. I feel what makes me unique are so many different things. But one thing in particular is I have a very special heart. I have congenital heart disease called Tetralogy of Fallot. It is when your ventricles mix blood and oxygen together.
I have survived two open heart surgeries so far, and many, many other procedures in my life already. I was born at just 35 weeks old on May 2, 2007 at 5:16am weighing in at 4lbs, 1 ¾ oz. The doctors knew right away something was terribly wrong because they rushed me straight to the “neonatal intensive care unit” which is also called the NICU. Later that night at midnight I was transported to Philadelphia to be in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). While at CHOP the doctors found many more things wrong with me including more to do with my heart. They told my mom I needed surgery as soon as possible and that I would have to be closely monitored.
Since I was born so little, though, I needed to gain weight and become stronger first if I was to survive open heart surgery. At two ½ weeks my mom told me it was time. When they operated and because I was still so little they were able to put in a shunt (until I got bigger). The surgery saved my life but my mom knew at the time I would still need more surgeries after the first. She would take me to see cardiologists every few months and when I was at ten months she was told I needed another surgery. S, on March 2008 I went back to CHOP and my surgeon named Dr. Spray had to take the shunt out of me that he first put in and replace it with a 14mm conduit. He also had to patch up the holes in my heart walls. Dr. Spray put the largest piece in me that he could for my size and to this day I am in 4th grade and it is still holding up.
Although I know I will be going back for another surgery, I enjoy every day to the fullest.
Also, as a result of all of my surgeries I do have many visible scars. For example, I have a huge scar on my chest where they had to open it up to do the surgeries when I was little. On my wrist I also have a scar where they had to put an A.R.T line for my procedure. They actually cut too deep on my wrist and had to place it somewhere else. No matter what others think of my size, scars, or the differences I have experienced from the other kids, I remind myself that I am so very strong and I can overcome everything. I try my hardest at everything I do and just wish everyone would accept me for who I am. I also wish they would realize we all have our own stories and unique in our own ways.
I understand that I may be different from all the other kids in my school and some may even bully me because of my differences, but none of that stops me from being proud of who I am and who I will become. I have survived open heart surgery twice in my life so far and I have the will-power to stay strong. I remind myself that I am unique and my disabilities make me special from everyone else. I know I am very beautiful no matter what others may think.
In conclusion, I am proud of my scars and I don’t try to hide them from anyone because they are a reminder of how much of a survivor I am.