I know that I don’t always post a lot of serious things, but I’m going to post one now. March is Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Month in many states across the US. In some states, they have made March 31st CDH Awareness Day. Now, I know you might be asking, “What the heck is CDH?” and “Why should I care?” Well…I’ll tell you.
Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia is a birth defect that affects about 1 out of 2,500 children a year. The total ends up being around 1,600 children a year. Only half will live to see their first birthday. Some may not even last the night that they’re born.
Basically, the condition happens because a child is born with a hole or an opening in their diaphragm. Intestines and other organs go through the opening and enter the chest cavity. It can affect one lung at a time or the organs could push on both lungs. Every case is different. Some children have different organs that go into their chest cavity, some have genetic defects as well as CDH, some have heart conditions, etc.
Yes, kids do and have survived CDH. Some of them have later complications such as acid reflux, bowel obstructions from the scar tissue, hearing issues (usually only if they were put on ECMO), or most commonly, asthma.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because ladies and gents, I am a survivor of this. I believe that people should at least be aware of this condition. Know that it happens and what it is. There’s no known cause for it, so it can happen to anyone.
Now, I’m not telling you “omg here’s this birth defect, shell out some money to this organization to help find a cure.” Because frankly, I’m not too sure about the two organizations that I’ve found that help out with this stuff. Strides are being made to find the condition before birth, sometimes even fix it. But no matter what, kids are going to be born with this. And they can have a chance of surviving. If anything, I’d recommend donating money to your local children’s hospital. They do some absolutely amazing work for all children. (Heck, our local children’s hospital saved my life twice and is helping me kick my asthma’s ass. (They were the ones that discovered it too.))
CDH: Are you aware?
The scars I have from the condition
An example of what happens
The awareness ribbon