Steffi's story


By Steffi.

“I enjoy life and appreciate every little opportunity I encounter.“

As a young adult, I enjoy life and appreciate every little opportunity I encounter, especially exploring the world and seeking new horizons. My outlook on life came about after I was diagnosed with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy when I was only 18 years of age.

It was Saturday 30th August 2014, and I went to my local hospital for an echocardiogram and this is when they discovered my condition. I had an ICD implanted later on that week. It was a lot to take in within the space of a week, for both myself and my family.

Once I came out of hospital a week after the operation, I was mentally drained, embarrassed of my appearance and in lots of pain. This caused me to push some people away as a coping mechanism. I felt that being in hospital I was safe and protected, and being at home I was scared and over-thought many things. However, I had to put myself in the mind-set that “I am going to get through this” and that is it happening either way. This made me look at the diagnosis more positively: I used it as an excuse to live my life to the full. I was supposed to go to University that year, but my plans had to change due to exams.

The next couple of years I felt it helped to speak to my friends, my family and people at the hospital, and no question was a silly question. When I was diagnosed I didn’t have many places to turn to, but my cardiac nurses were incredible and they encouraged my development as a young person with a heart condition.

Self-belief was a massive part of my recovery as I was my own best motivator to carry on with life. I am now 21 years old and it’s nearly 3 years since my surgery. Although I have a lot of challenging roads ahead of me, I am not alone and am able to rely on a network of people.

Now my life is back on track as an apprentice. I travel, I work full-time, I volunteer and I still have time for adventures. I am thrilled to have shared my experience and encourage others to share theirs.