“I haven’t mastered teaching with half a heart, but each day gets a little easier” Sophie’s Story

If there were a book called “How to Survive Teaching with Half a Working Heart”, I would read it front to back. However, no such book exists (to my knowledge) so, I am taking it one day at a time…

My name is Sophie, I am twenty two years old and I was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome or, in other words, half a working heart.

In September, I began my first year of teaching. Being a class teacher to thirty four primary school children can certainly have its challenges, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

When I began teaching full-time in September, it was certainly a shock to the system, I was the most exhausted I have ever been.

I had to find ways to adapt to this new life of getting to work for half seven and returning home ten hours later. I am fortunate that both my boyfriend, Jamie, (who I am living with) and my Mum are teachers, so could support me through this transition.

Teaching is a tiring job, and there is no getting around that.  Before I started at the school, I made sure to find a flat within half an hour, as travelling can be very tiring. My fifteen minute journey means that I can get up slightly later, making for a more relaxing morning.

In order to stay alert during the day, I make sure to stay hydrated with water (and lots of tea), and eat healthy snacks throughout. The school has been extremely supportive with regards to my heart condition, and has made allowances where necessary. I would therefore encourage anyone working at a new company to make their colleagues aware of their medical history, where appropriate.

During the afternoon, I encourage my children to partake in some “quiet time”, which can be just as beneficial for me as it is for them.

 As tempting as it can be to order a takeaway when I am feeling tired from a day at work, I know it is extremely important to eat healthily. Therefore, I try to meal-prep as much as possible for dinners, by preparing huge batches of food. Additionally, I try to be honest with Jamie when I am too tired to cook; honesty about the limits of my heart condition was difficult at first, but something that is hugely important in a relationship.

Thank you so much to Sophie for sharing your story. Click here to read more Little Hearts Matter Family Stories. 

As always, you can keep up to date with us on Facebook by clicking here, we’d love to hear from you 

Teaching with a heart condition.

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    “Thank you very much for Chris' card. I cannot believe he is 18 and am so proud of the lovely young man he has become, overcoming the many challenges we have faced over the years, especially in the first 4 to 5 years. Thank you Little hearts matter for always being there.”

    Thank you to Chris and mum Philippa for sharing this fantastic news with us, we hope this brings some inspiration to the many families out there who are at the start of their half a heart journey.

    With YOUR help, we can continue to support the amazing young adults living with a single ventricle heart today, just like Chris here. All you need to do spare 30 seconds of your time every day to vote for LHM in Persimmon’s ‘Building Futures’ initiative.

    They don’t ask for any details, you simply click our logo on this page; biy.ly/support-lhm

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    So pleased to see Amelia here, DILV, enjoying some cycling along with her sister Evie…

    “We’ve been doing a lot of cycling this week as both girls have grown in confidence. I’m amazed at Amelia’s stamina on the bike, doing much more exercise than she’s ever done. This is the girl that needs a buggy to get home from school (in normal life). She’s found a sport that she can comfortably do. She says she feels free when she’s cycling. That makes me happy and sad at the same time ❤ “Cycling makes me feel free, happy and like nothing is in my way””

    Riding a bike is great exercise for children, teenagers and adults with half a working heart. It helps get you from A to B but is also is supported exercise for the lower body and therefore provides good support for blood returning to the lungs. There are many incentives to help get you on a bike, at the moment.

    Learn more by jumping to our ‘get fit for winter’ resource here: www.lhm.org.uk/information/lifestyle-information/get-fit-for-winter/
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