Name: Tasha Kempton
Age: 43
Which SADS condition do you have? LQT2
When were you diagnosed? 1992
How are you treated? Beta Blocker & ICD

How/when were you diagnosed?
I was diagnosed with Long QT in 1992. My cousin Josh Sergio, passed away in his sleep on October 31, 1991.  He was only a teenager. My father’s sister Evelyn also passed away in her thirties in 1979.  My family knew there was something wrong.  Young and healthy people don’t just pass away without reason. My family came across an article in the Orange County Register about a family who shared a very similar story. The family in the article were the Goldmans and they had several young and healthy family members pass away in their family for no apparent reason. They explained that their family had an inherited heart condition called Long QT Syndrome. That was the first time we ever heard about Long QT.  We were put it in touch with the Goldman family and they referred us to Dr. Michael Vincent in Salt Lake City, UT.  Dr. Vincent conducted DNA testing on all my paternal family members. He confirmed that our family was a carrier of Long QT Syndrome.  My sister, brother and I as well as a cousin and aunt were diagnosed with Long QT.  At that time, I was put on beta blockers as well as my sister and brother. The beta blockers seemed to be working fine until 2001. I went into cardiac arrest while I was at work. By God’s grace, I came out of it.  I was transferred to 4 different hospitals because they didn’t have a doctor who was very educated on Long QT Syndrome.  Then Dr. Kelly Tucker walked in my hospital room.  He was an electrophysiologist and was very knowledgeable about Long QT.  Before Dr. Tucker, I always felt that I knew more about Long QT than the doctors I had seen. I went under a few examinations. During one of the procedures, I flat lined, but by God’s Grace, they were able to revive me.  The next day I received my first defibrillator.  All of my family members who were diagnosed with Long QT have had defibrillators implanted.   

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in living with your diagnosis?
I haven’t had any physical challenges, but I have experienced depression and anxiety issues.  I had my first anxiety attack shortly after my first defibrillator was implanted.  I still struggle with anxiety.  I’ve experienced my defibrillator shock several times and it’s a scary thing to experience. Each time I have been shocked, my anxiety is at an all-time high because I fear that it’s going to shock me again. I try to be pro-active by seeing a therapist to help with my anxiety.  I also started Yoga which has really helped. 
Another challenge for me personally is dealing with the fact that my children have inherited Long QT.  Right now we are just monitoring their hearts with EKGs and heart monitors.  It’s very scary thinking about your children having any type of health issues. I just remind myself that I have lived a full active life and they will continue to do the same. 

What is one positive thing that has come out of your diagnosis?
The most positive thing about being diagnosed with Long QT is to appreciate life fully.  I really don’t think of having Long QT as a negative thing. Everyone in life has certain things they have to deal with.         

What encouragement or advice would you give someone who has just been diagnosed with your condition?
My advice would be to seek a good electrophysiologist.  I have had great experiences with my doctors and I believe that has helped my journey with Long QT.  Also, you have to remember that this is not a life ending condition if you have the proper treatment.  My ICD is my life saver!  It has saved my life several times. I feel grateful that I was actually diagnosed with Long QT rather than living with it and not knowing.

What does your day-to-day life look like?
I am a mom who works full-time.  I’ve been married for 15 years and have 2 children, Caleb is 5 and Paige is 3.  I’ve been an Administrative Assistant for 20 years.  I’ve worked nearly 12 years at my current job. Working full-time and having 2 young children consumes most of my day-to-day life.  

What are your favorite hobbies and activities?
I recently started Yoga and Pilates. It has been such a positive experience.  It has helped with my anxiety due to breathing and mediation techniques.  I LOVE music! I love seeing live music and we always have music playing at our home.  I enjoy many things, but my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family. Family is my number one priority. 

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