When I was five days old, I turned blue and wasn’t breathing well. Doctors at Children’s National Hospital told my parents I needed open-heart surgery for a condition called “transposition of the great vessels.” It basically fixed the tubing in my heart. I recovered and had a normal childhood filled with good times like playing street hockey with my dad, grandfather and cousins.
My time at Children’s National, however, wasn’t over yet.
Doctors diagnosed me with Hodgkin's Lymphoma after I turned 20. That day was really scary. I had to withdraw from college soon after and began regular visits to for chemotherapy and scans plus cardiology and oncology appointments.
I always appreciated the kindness of the staff and doctors. Everyone made me feel loved and special which I believe helped the healing process. Their warm smiles and upbeat attitude made having cancer a lot less frightening. They helped me stay positive and kept me from doubting that I was going to be OK. Their care helped me get back to playing street hockey.
Other things I love about Children’s National include the stars on the ceilings in the radiology department. Looking at those stars helped me feel peaceful when I was scared. I also love the beautiful hot air balloons hanging in the hospital’s main atrium. There’s something hopeful about them that say “the sky’s the limit.” A kid might see them and feel like everything’s going to be all right.
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