Mum's anguish over daughter's condition
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
THE mother of a Kilkeel teenager who was born with a congenital heart condition, says she feels guilty that her daughter was born with eight heart and lung defects.
Brenda Fisher and her daughter Chloe have spoken out in support of a major research study which is being carried out at the University of Ulster in partnership with the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.
The Baby Hearts Study - which will be part funded by Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke - aims to discover why some children are born with problems in the way their heart has formed, and will investigate possible risk factors for developing congenital heart conditions.
Chloe was born with Fallot's Tetralogy, a condition which involves at least three separate faults in the heart's pumping mechanism. At just 10 days old she underwent major surgery and then again when she was 15 months old. When at primary school she often needed to nap or go home early because her brain wasn't receiving enough oxygen from her heart and lungs.
The 14-year-old's mum Brenda, said: "I just ask the question so many times: what did I do wrong? I just feel so guilty for Chloe. I feel it's been my fault that she's been born like this and I would just love if they could find out what causes this problem. It would be great for mothers-to-be to know what to do or what not to do and I just think it's super that this research is going ahead."
Chloe is likely to need another operation once she has stopped growing, as is often the case with her condition. She also suffers from scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, which has deteriorated over the past six months to the point at which she may need surgery. However, there are concerns about whether her heart is strong enough to go through this surgery.
A bright student who loves acting, Chloe is in now in secondary school and said while people are less aware about why she becomes tired or breathless, it just makes her more determined.
“It's made me more determined to push myself harder to try and fit in. I need to be more independent," she said.
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