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  • Writer's pictureHole Hearted Catherine

How I Learned I was Hole Hearted

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

Lots of prayer, purpose and passion has prepared me for a whole (hole) new way of life! I kept asking myself…What is holding me back from living a life I would love? I was always struggling and complaining that my lack of energy and stamina was really in the way of me pursuing my dreams after working full-time for the last 35 years and being a single mom to a child that the both of us together endured more than any mom can bear. I’ve been a heart patient since the age of 12, when I was first told I had a heart murmur. At 23, I failed my new hire physical at Torrance Memorial Medical Center and required a Cardiologist to clear me for employment. In 1997 as a newlywed, I had a Trans Ischemic Attack (TIA), or a mini stroke. I had my baby in 1999, and in 2002 after tremendous stress, I begged my Cardiologist of the last 20 years to “dig deeper” – I simply can’t breathe – I can’t carry my baby – or get groceries from my car to the kitchen. I got resistance everywhere I turned from being called a hyper-ventilator to a hypochondriac, until finally I was diagnosed with Heart Failure. Yippee. At age 42? WHAT? As time went on, I was getting worse, shortness of breath, debilitating edema, my legs felt like concrete pillars, my digestion was horrible, my heart was pounding outside my chest, passing out, visual disturbances, missing out of so much of life – it was never-ending. I ended up having not 1, not 2, but 3 Cardiac Ablations, with an additional 3 Cardioversions thrown in here and there. The ER knew me all too well. I was also on a home oxygen tank for a bit, that was fun. My lung function was always about at 52% with no known cause. My heart failure had no known cause. I thanked God every day for my Handicapped Parking Placard and my parents still ran circles around me. I finally bought a used electric scooter to take my son to places like Knott's Berry Farm and the zoo, and I excluded myself from anything physical for the last 15 years, which also meant losing friends and opportunities.  And then I found my SPARK! I started working with Certified Life coach Cathy Alessandra, and I came away with better than I could have ever expected..….making a commitment to my self-care and to“Be bold” and seek out a new cardiologist after over 30 years. Within a week, my new doctor found a very large hole in my heart, called an Atrial Septal Defect – something I have lived with my entire life, undiagnosed!!!!! The hole is so big, I will be having Open Heart Surgery to patch the hole, and will soon have a whole new normal and energy for life, — filled with plenty of oxygen, stamina and wellness to fully become a YES I CAN woman!!! THANK YOU, Cathy, for helping me uncover what’s been holding me back and getting in my way of achieving my goals…. I’m excited to “feel” my future, which may actually include walking, talking,  laughing and breathing all at the same time!


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Frank Paour
Frank Paour
Aug 12, 2020

My beautiful daughter... so proud of her.

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