Bridget McGaughey, 37, has Long QT Syndrome and Brugada Syndrome.
She was diagnosed in 2012 at age 32. Her treatment is an ICD.
How/when were you diagnosed?
I was diagnosed after a syncope episode in 2012. I did a face plant (ouch) in a parking garage after walking up a flight of stairs. I had a brief moment or shortness of breath and then I was out like a light. I luckily awoke from this syncope and was then diagnosed in the ER with prolonged QT. They also found Brugada on an older EKG from 6 months previous. That abnormal EKG was done after I visited an Urgent Care experiencing shortness of breath and light headedness. My diagnosis was missed then. I am forever grateful and blessed I had a syncope episode and not a SCA.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in living with your diagnosis?
My biggest challenge I have faced yet is dealing with my emotions! After diagnosis, you go through a wave of emotions like a rollercoaster. You question your mortality and life in general. Although this was and sometimes remains a struggle, it has given me the strength and passion to live each day fully!
What is one positive thing that has come out of your diagnosis?
The best thing has been community! The SADS community is awesome, both online and in person. Facebook pages, the SADS conferences, etc are a great way to connect and feel a part of a group that understands.
What encouragement or advice would you give someone who has just been diagnosed with your condition?
Reach out! Do not be afraid to contact SADS (they are great!), join a few Facebook groups and create your space in the wonderful community!
What does your day-to-day life look like?
My day to day life looks normal! I pride myself on still participating in the same activities and hobbies I had pre-diagnosis. I do not let my diagnosis effect my life significantly. I am still active and love to shop, exercise and go out.
What are your favorite hobbies and activities?
I love connecting people! I started a social support group for fellow SADS friends in 2012 called “We Have Heart.” At the time, I was based in Los Angeles, CA and we had a few fun social support events! It gave an opportunity for others to share their stories, fundraise, contribute with suggestions and educate themselves further. They also love the SADS swag of bracelets and pens! I relocated to Atlanta and am beginning to start a “We Have Heart” chapter here. I cannot wait to see what this brings. Anyone interested can contact me at: wehaveheartLA@gmail.com,wehaveheartATL@gmail.com or tweet @wehaveheartLA.
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