Snowflakes: How Each Heart Is Unique

December 24, 2013
Hosted by Anna Jaworski

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Today’s episode is called “Snowflakes: How Each Heart is Unique.” The heart is an extremely complicated organ. The muscle on one side of the heart differs from the muscle on the other side of the heart. There are valves that open and close allowing blood to travel to different parts of the heart, to the body and/or to the lungs. The heart has its own unique electrical system. There are structures inside the heart separating different chambers from one another. In babies with congenital heart defects, something goes wrong and there are a lot of places where something can go wrong. We will discuss the noninvasive and invasive procedures doctors currently use to obtain a diagnosis for children with congenital heart defects. We’ll talk with the mother of a child with a very unique heart and how having that child has affected her. We’ll also meet a nurse who is working on developing a feeding protocol to help babies born with congenital heart defects survive when they are between surgeries.

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.

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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