Heart ambassadors

"I felt like the crocodile in Peter Pan."

Tanja, educator, 39 years old. © Nationales Register | privat


I didn't know about my heart defect until I was seventeen. My childhood was completely normal. I wanted to leave school after eleventh grade to train as a nurse. But then everything turned out differently.

I had a cold, as I often do. When I suddenly fell asleep sitting down and my left arm hurt, my friend persuaded me to go to the doctor. The doctor immediately sent me to the hospital. Actually, my professional training was supposed to start here soon - now I was sitting in the waiting room with my mother, waiting for my diagnosis. The news hit us like a slap in the face: "Your child has a heart valve defect."

I can forget the training for the time being.

From that day on, many things changed in my life. Fortunately, my family always supported me. Of course, I could forget about training to be a nurse for the time being. I had to undergo surgery. There was only the way back to school. The operation went well. I caught up on all my exams, graduated from high school and started an internship in a clinic. A short time later, our son was announced. When he was born, I wanted to stay at home for the time being.

My next professional attempt turned out to be more complicated than expected. Either the illness was seen as an obstacle or my child. Finally, I was able to start an apprenticeship as an optician. But then my heart spoke up again. A second heart operation was necessary, mechanical valves had to be inserted. At the time, I had no idea how loud they would be. I felt like the crocodile in Peter Pan who swallowed the alarm clock.

A 1-Euro job helped me gain a new perspective.

After the operation, I prepared for the exams and completed my training. However, due to the economic situation, I never practiced this profession. I was unemployed and dependent on Hartz IV until finally a one-euro job helped me to find a new perspective. At that time, I worked in a kindergarten and decided to train as a state-certified educator, which I did. I have been working in a daycare center since 2011. I love my job. It sometimes presents me with physical challenges with my heart. My quiet hobbies like reading, painting and crafting are a good balance.

It's good to know: I'm not alone.

After all these years, I have learned to live with and accept my illness. I can even make jokes about it. I determine my own life as much as possible. Time and time again, I find that I set my priorities differently than many of my peers. I am more relaxed in many respects and wait to see how some things develop, so as not to waste energy unnecessarily. Together we, my husband, our now grown son and I, have overcome all hurdles. I always find it interesting to read the many posts here. It is good to know: I am not alone.

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