I was so excited to get to photograph Madison Forrester's senior session and even more excited to get to know her better. Her testimony is so inspiring and her outlook on life after all that she has been through is even more amazing. Madison is a high school senior at Social Circle High School and also attending college classes at Georgia State University. During her senior session with me, her mom and dad were both there. I could just see how proud they are of her! Please enjoy her story below as Madison explains some of the trials her and her beautiful heart have been through over past 17 years. :)
"My dad was in the Air Force when I was born and we were stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina. I was born with a heart problem that was so complex, they advised me to go to a surgeon at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), because he was the best and could do all 5 necessary repairs at one time. I was flown by jet while my parents drove 9 hours to get to me. I had my first surgery at 5 days old. Dr. Spray was able to repair my heart and I recovered like a champ.
My dad got out of the Air Force after my surgery so we could move back home to Georgia to be with our family. I had to have another open heart surgery when I was 2 1/2 months old at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. That surgery was also a success and I bounced back in no time. I had to have another surgery when I was 4 1/2 years old. This surgery required me to have a mechanical valve put in my heart. Having this mechanical valve in my heart requires me to take a blood thinner called Coumadin. This keeps my blood from clotting around that valve. Coumadin is very hard to regulate and it's a constant battle to make sure my blood is not too thick or thin. I always have to be very careful, but I haven't let it slow me down. I have to watch what I eat because foods rich in Vitamin K will affect my Coumadin.
I just can't do a lot of things most kids get to do because of possibly having a blow to the chest or risking bleeding out if my blood were to be too thin. I can't play contact sports like softball or soccer, but I found other things to do. I did ballet and tap dancing. I took guitar lessons and I played some tennis for fun. I also cheered for many years. Along the way I found my true passion...cooking! I have been cooking since I was 4 years old.
The doctors told my parents when I was born that I could have a learning disability, but I have always made straight A's with and occasional B and I take advanced classes. I am in my senior year of high school and will be taking all college classes. Sometimes it's scary when my blood gets too thick or thin because I have to be extra careful, but that's ok because I am special. When it's quiet, I can hear my heart valve clicking away. It's a really good sound! I have the best parents and family in the world that love me unconditionally. I have a wonderful boyfriend of almost 2 years that loves me for who I am and is my best friend. The one thing that keeps me going the most, is my love for Jesus and knowing he always has me cradled in his hands. I have never been ashamed of my scars. I wear them proudly because I have earned them!"
Y'all, I was in tears after reading her story. Isn't she just incredible! Two cheers to you Madison!!! I hope you have the most incredible last year of high school/first year of college!