Yasmin living with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)

Yasmin is from the US.

Hey There. My name is Yasmin and I am 25 yrs old, and I was born with a heart condition callled Tetrology of Fallot. I have had two open heart surgeries and I had my first one at the age of three and my second at the age of twenty.

When I was born, my parents were wondering why I wasn’t a pink baby! I was a “blue baby” and I stayed blue for a very long time. My Drs ran all the tests such as X-rays, ECHOs, EKGs, and CT scans; they didn’t find anything in the X-rays, but when they did the ECHO and the EKG they discovered that I had VSD (Ventrical Septal Defect also known as pinhole) and ToF (Tetralogy of Fallot).

I was closely monitored whilst growing up and I was fine until the pinhole in my heart didn’t close on its own and the Drs had to surgically close it. My first surgery was at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles in 1988 and the Drs closed my small VSD (ventrical septal defect) and they put a homeopathic conduit it to connect the left and right side. I was told that because I was growing that the child’s size wouldn’t fit and this is why the Drs put an adult conduit in. On a return visit for a check-up I got the petal stuck on the sink (they had the ones where you stepped on the petal and washed your hands), and so they moved us to a new room. In the second room I was playing on the bed and my Dr had his hand on my head so that I wouldn’t bump it. The bed had a storage area under it. I was doing great, and the Drs said ” I would have to have a second one at the age of thirteen” but I didn’t need it then because I was growing perfectly.

By the time I was twenty I was already showing signs of needing another open heart surgery, and the reason that my Dr and my parents came to that conclusion was because I was pale and my blood pressure rose (it was 300/91, or 200/90). I was 20 years old and on blood pressure meds. In November of 2005 I went in for my second open heart surgery where they replaced my conduit and they also put a metal stent in. They used the stent to widen my arteries that were small and narrow and they also replaced my pulmonary valve. This was performed at UCLA (University California Los Angeles) by my surgeon, Dr. Hilal Laks who did a wonderful job. However, during my second surgery I had a few complications: like my heart was sticking to the sack that holds it in place so it doesnt hit the ribs, and that was bloody. Then a few days before I was supposed to be released my white blood cell count flew through the roof. I then somehow had gotten an infection and my left lung filled with fluid and collapsed. The Drs drained it and I was released November 25,2005. a.k.a Thanksgiving Day.

I am currently doing great health and spirits.

I have just married my soulmate on July 10, 2010 and living life one step at a time.

I found my heart as a blessing, and it has taught me compassion, love, and wisdom.


Wrote by Yasmin Southwood
July 2010

Yasmin Southwood has kindly given CHD-UK permission to use the photographs on this page.