the St. Catharines Standard, from the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder; Saturday, April 21, 2012
Kris Ross sits with her dogs Tiny(left) and Maizie at her Cornwall, Ontario home. Ross has a hole in her heart and pulmonary hypertension which will one day lead to a heart and lung transplant. Though the thought of not having the organs available when the time comes doesn’t consume her thoughts, it is a very possible situation. ERIKA GLASBERG/CORNWALL STANDARD-FREEHOLDER/QMI AGENCY
When Kris Ross found herself getting constant bloody noses and fatigued while she was in university in her 20s, she knew there was something wrong.
Now at 39 years old, the full-time high school teacher finally has the problem under control — for now. Ross has a hole in her heart and pulmonary hypertension which will one day lead to a heart and lung transplant.
About 10 years ago, Ross competed in a students-vs.-teachers basketball game at St. Lawrence Secondary School, when her colleagues noticed that her lips were turning blue.
A colleague suggested that the problem might not be asthma, the condition that she was diagnosed with for years.
“I was playing with some (physical education) teachers, so I guess they’d know what asthma looks like,” Ross said smiling.
After multiple doctor visits in previous years with no improving results, Ross was hesitant to go to another, but made her way to a Cornwall walk-in clinic, where she would immediately be sent for heart and lung tests.
In 2002, she was sent to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and was told she had a hole in her heart which had led to pulmonary hypertension.
“Initially you’re relieved because you’re trying to insist (to everyone) that something’s wrong with you, or at least, you believe there is,” she said.
“You’re relieved because now you know what it is so you can move on. But then there’s anger… Then, a little fear about what it all means. It’s kind of weird having your body be your enemy,” she said.
Though her condition can become fatal, for now, she is in better health than a lot of people in her position and continues to see the positives in her life and taking things slowly — one step at a time.
“I don’t go running with the girls,” she joked.
“I can’t be as active as I’d like because I don’t have the energy. Instead of focusing on the things you can’t do, you have to focus on the things you can (do) and value them. I’m lucky to have a lot of good friends and a supportive network (of people). This whole thing isn’t something that consumes my thoughts on a daily basis.”
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