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Would you date someone with heart disease?

(63 Posts)
JuliaGulia Sun 21-Apr-13 21:43:40

Hi all,

I'm divorced with 2 young kids.

Is it short sighted to dismiss someone who had this condition or should I protect my children from the uncertainty of what may lie ahead?

He's a nice chap, prepared to consider life with me + my 2 kids and seems really keen on me. I like him a lot, we have a great time but I'm just weary of getting involved with someone with a life restricting condition. It's congenital so he's lived with it all his life but there's no cure.

He can't do any sport, must walk slowly and sometimes sleeps with oxygen at night. He also has clubbed fingers which sometimes people stare at but they don't bother me.

Any words of advice? This is my first date since divorcing so I feel a bit inexperienced!


Honsandrevels Tue 23-Apr-13 21:28:58

Thanks Noddy, that's helpful.

Sorry for butting in op.

noddyholder Tue 23-Apr-13 21:21:58

He was 6 not 4 as I said in previous post

noddyholder Tue 23-Apr-13 21:21:19

Well I had the first one may years before he was born. I had another when he was 6 and with that one he had seen me on dialysis and we explained it in very simple terms to him and he just accepted it. He is aware of my health issues but is 18 now and seems so far to accept it as part of me. I think it is easier when they are teens tbh or at least 10 for the actual facts as they can understand the different body parts and terminology by then. It is a hard one as you want to protect them from the pain of it all but also want to be honest.

Honsandrevels Tue 23-Apr-13 21:06:30

Op Maybe if you felt strongly enough about this man then his illness might not be a deciding factor in whether to pursue the relationship.

Noddy Did you have any help with helping ds understand the transplant? I had a liver transplant 8 years ago and all dd (4) knows is that I have scars on my tummy from a big operation. I'm not sure when/how to broach it.

weebarra Tue 23-Apr-13 20:43:23

Londonjax - couldn't have said it better myself. Where our DSs differ from the norm is that they had acute problems fron birth (DS2 had a coarctation of the aorta) and other issues which are relatively common but have just been picked up and monitored because of their rocky starts.
I hope to be able to educate my DS as to what his condition may mean and then he can do the same with whoever he wants to spend his life with.

noddyholder Tue 23-Apr-13 16:55:40

This is sad for me to read esp for the children and the 27 yr old who may face this. I had kidney failure at 19 and had a transplant I met my then dp about 6 months later and we were together 6 years travelled the world etc and it was not the cause of our break up. I then met dp and we had ds and my transplant failed when ds was 2 and I had another when he was 4. After the 2nd transplant they discovered I had been born with a heart problem and we had to just accept it and keep going! They fiddles aroud with my drugs to get the right combination and now 13 yrs on I ma fairly stable. W ehave been together 21 years and in that time have sadly lost about 4 friends to various illnesses that they were diganosed with in their 30s and 40s. I believe in being honest from day one but in the years between aged 18 and now 47 things have progressed so much and continue to and I hope to be around for many years smile

LondonJax Tue 23-Apr-13 16:15:54

As the mum of a 6 year old with a congenital heart defect, I'd be disappointed in him if he didn't tell a girlfriend about his heart defect and wasn't prepared to answer her questions. It's that bit I'm slightly concerned about. To me, it would seem as if something were being hidden. DS's condition is related to the valves and one in a thousand new borns have valve problems. So, by discussing it with a girlfriend, he'd be able to show her that she's actually got a pretty good chance of meeting someone who actually didn't know they had a 'dicky ticker' as we call it in our house. She could then weigh up the odds. I'd be encouraging him to take her along for his next check up so she could see what his issue could be and could speak to someone about it. We were told, when DS was born, that without his procedure he wouldn't live a month. He had the procedure, he's still with us. We were told he may lack energy - he was up on the dance floor until 1am when I celebrated my birthday recently! We were told he may need a new valve when he was 3, then when he started school...he's had no procedure since the one he had when he was a fortnight old. We were told he could get poorly if he caught a cold. He's had 2 days off school since he began Foundation in September 2011 (not last year, the year before). But a girlfriend wouldn't know this. She'd need to be reassured.

Put it another way, if your new man mentioned to you, at the start, that he couldn't get involved with someone who had children, would you hide them? Because you and everyone else knows that won't make the problem go away. He needs to let you discuss your fears. He's lived with this all the time. You're new to that life and he needs to respect your fears.

xxdriftwoodxx Tue 23-Apr-13 15:05:14

My son has a congenital heart condition, he is 27,. He won't get attached to anyone incase he is poorly and having his dad die at an early age after an accident this put him off more so.
From a mums point of view I am devasted that he won't share his life with someone , have fun, children and share his worries. Life is unpredictable, but this man deserves happiness and if he is anything like my son he will live life to the max!
If you are unsure though follow your doubts because I am sure he would rather you spent time with him because you wanted too, not out of pity.
It is a difficult one but I would hope one day my son funds someone he can share his life with , what ever it throws at them, instead of him being alone worried about burdening someone...just follow your heart xx

Lucylloyd13 Tue 23-Apr-13 10:20:33

I think this is less about his condition and more about this being an early date.

If you care for someone enough, then so long as they are alive, it can be worth it!

But when you are just returning to dating and working out what you do and dont want, then caution is wise.

blueshoes Tue 23-Apr-13 09:56:15

I would not go for a man who was not prepared to totally lay his cards on the table in terms of telling you the extent of his medical condition.

I would suggest you ask him point blank. If he is cagey, it is as if he is tricking you into getting too emotionally involved to extricate yourself. Be very careful in that instance.

littlecrystal Tue 23-Apr-13 09:53:50

I would if the man was worth it. I would even have a naïve expectation that he would be more committed as he wouldn’t have the energy to lie, go for affairs or do stupid things in general.
However, OP you don’t sound that keen.

Moominsarehippos Tue 23-Apr-13 09:20:19

I suppose if we were all rational beings we wouild take a good hard look at our potential partners...and run a mile!

You could be run ovwer tomorrow, oir live to a healthy 100. Life is too short to not try for happiness.

happyfreeconfused Tue 23-Apr-13 08:28:17

I think you should grab a chance of happiness when you can. If you really like him and it's fun go for it. If it's heavy or intense or dull, call it a day as you would with or without the health issues.

verytellytubby Mon 22-Apr-13 22:31:50

This is making me sad for my DD who has a congenital heart defect. She's well at present (aged 10) but who knows what the future holds. I too was born with a congenital heart problem (Fallot's) and my parents were given no odds for my survival. I had groundbreaking surgery and I've had a total recovery. Anyway if I was you I would have a frank discussion with your DP, book a visit to see his consultant and find out everything you can.

I always think about my friend who met the love of her life and he was knocked down by a car and killed. Life is very short. You can't possibly make a decision until you are more informed about his condition. I'm a firm believer in medical advances.

Good luck.

crazyhead Mon 22-Apr-13 22:22:47

I think it is reasonable that this man is very upfront about his condition before you commit heavily, in the same way that I think it would be fair if he wanted to know all about your children, how you were now co-parenting and cooperating with your ex etc. Both are parts of your lives that will have a serious impact on the other person if you stay together, so therefore it is better to be honest.

When I read about your situation - someone walking out on you, very young twins, I feel very sympathetic and a bit tired on your account - that sounds like a lot to handle. If this is your first dating experience post divorce, then it sounds to me at least as though fun, a good laugh, a bit of passion etc might first and foremost be in order for you right now. I suppose my main question would be whether this situation IS actually able to be light and fun or whether you are being pushed into heavy territory too quickly? only you know that.

NorthernLurker Mon 22-Apr-13 22:22:19

I know what you mean. There are some bits of dialogue where you just find yourself saying 'NO, NO, NO - go back to Oxford JPW and try harder'

Apologies for the hijack OP blush

NutraxForNerves Mon 22-Apr-13 20:03:36

That's very kind of you, killerrobot.

Northernluker - I have read Jill Paton Walsh's efforts but she hasn't Sayers' gift for language so while I quite like them, I don't LOVE them.

killerrobot Mon 22-Apr-13 19:41:52

Wonderful post, Nutrax.

killerrobot Mon 22-Apr-13 19:38:59

It seems cruel that someone has been dealt a bum deal in life and then loses out again because someone doesn't want to commit to them because of their 'defect'. But you are a person with wants and needs too, not a charity.

The fact that you are asking yourself the question is perfectly natural, and doesn't necessarily mean you aren't that into him. You need to know what you are dealing with.

I wish both of you happiness, however things turn out between you.

NorthernLurker Mon 22-Apr-13 19:22:48

I think the need for oxygen may suggest cyanosis doesn't it?

Nutrax - have you read any of the Jill Paton Walsh LPW books? They're not bad.

NutraxForNerves Mon 22-Apr-13 19:17:37

Sorry, Noddy, I'm assuming cyanotic because of the clubbing but the OP hasn't specified so I may be wrong!

NutraxForNerves Mon 22-Apr-13 19:16:56

Thanks, NorthernLurker - reading it at present - after a spell of needing Nutrax!!

noddyholder Mon 22-Apr-13 19:15:06

I didn't realise it was a cyanotic condition I assumed cardiomyopathy like myself Sorry x

NorthernLurker Mon 22-Apr-13 19:12:53

Very sensible post nutrax - and I LOVE your user name. I adore that book. One of my favourites.

'Are you taking too much out of yourself?' illustrated with...........grin

NutraxForNerves Mon 22-Apr-13 19:05:53

I'm another with a congenital heart condition. Emotionally I want to just say "how dare you consider turning him down because of this", because that's how I'd feel about it.

But putting that aside - because this is not my emotional life - some practical things to think about, if you're unsure just on this issue:
- see if you can go with him to see the cardiologist, who will be able to explain the condition and the various possible ways it might or might not progress.

- I have known quite a few youngish men with congenital heart disease and small children. Even those that can't run around after them are fully able to be dad; they cope because they find a way around the limitations.

- as other people have said, anyone can get ill, there are no guarantees. That said, someone with a cyanotic heart condition are probably less likely to make old bones. But again, there are no guarantees: heart surgery is so new that the really long-term outcomes aren't known.

- technology advances so quickly; if he's not a candidate for transplant at present or doesn't want to go down that road, there may be something amazing coming along in 5 years. Or there may not.

- better that you decide no now than that you leave if the going gets tough later.

- there is a saying that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I have also known a number of people widowed young as a result of their spouse's congenital heart disease. Perhaps they wouldn't admit it to me anyway, but I don't know of any that wished they had never married their spouse.

- he, or you, or both, might find it helpful to call the Somerville Foundation helpline. That is staffed by people who know all about these issues and may be able to put you in touch with someone who decided to go for it, so you can talk honestly about the things that worry you and how they deal with it. The Somerville Foundation has an annual conference and various events in the year, and I know that the spouses, as well as the patients, find the opportunity to talk to others with the same condition to be invaluable.

Good luck with your decision.

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