Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety and Survivor’s Guilt in the Congenital Heart Defect Community

November 19, 2013
Hosted by Anna Jaworski

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Guest Information

Episode Description

It only seems natural that people who have survived extremely stressful situations should have some kind of backlash to endure. How do members of the congenital heart defect community deal with the stress involved with surgeries, waiting between surgeries, surviving while others around you don’t make it and, perhaps the most insidious of situations – how to survive seemingly “innocent” environments or questions from friends, loved ones or even strangers that all of a sudden pull you back to a dreaded time and place, perhaps best forgotten? Today’s Episode deals with these questions and more as two adult survivors of congenital heart defects, Lauren Bednarz and Yasmin Southwood, discuss dealing with Anxiety and Survivor’s Guilt. Brybe Bagwill, the father of a child with a serious congenital heart defect discusses how he discovered he had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how he’s coping with it.

Heart to Heart with Anna

Heart to Heart with Anna

Archives Available on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel

Heart to Heart with Anna is a program specifically for the congenital heart defect or CHD community. Our show will address issues of concern to the CHD community. Topics revolve around some of the special needs of the child born with a CHD, how to become an advocate for the CHD child, parent and CHD survivor and what it means to be part of the CHD community. The show addresses issues of concern to the CHD community. Members of the CHD community will serve as Guests to share stories to encourage others. While the topics will be especially pertinent to the CHD community, they also have a broader appeal to any community dealing with chronic illness since many of our topics are faced by other communities dealing with chronic illnesses.

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Anna Jaworski

Anna Jaworski

Anna Jaworski is the mother of a son with a severe congenital heart defect (CHD). Alex endured two open-heart surgeries in his first year of life. His surgeon told parents Anna and Frank that Alex was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome a.k.a. HLHS. Alex underwent a revision of his last surgery at age 17 and had a Maze Procedure to stave off future arrhythmias.

With a lack of information for parents, Anna decided to write a book about HLHS and start a publishing company for the CHD community. She also helped start a support group for CHD parents in Central Texas and became a public speaker. Joey, Anna’s heart-healthy son, inspired her to write a second book, My Brother Needs an Operation. After a while, Anna started sharing stories with other CHD parents to educate and inspire them. Encouraged by these parents, Anna then became the editor of two books, The Heart of a Mother and The Heart of a Father. The books provide hope, encouragement, and support to the CHD community.

Anna has been a public speaker for many CHD events. She is a Distinguished Toastmaster, earning the highest level of communication and leadership awards Toastmasters offers. Anna has given speeches all over North America.

With a B.A. in speech pathology and MEd in curriculum and instruction, Anna helped Alex after he suffered a stroke and vocal cord paralysis following his second surgery. She also homeschooled her two sons. Anna still loves to teach and share stories with others.

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