Sleeping Beauty had been asleep for nearly a year. The witch’s curse had worked. Only Prince Charming’s kiss could save her now.
However, Prince Charming was nearby. Tackling all the obstacles in the forest, he had finally arrived at the castle with his horse. Time was running out and he prayed there were no more tricks inside. He opened the door, and started to run up the stairs, but they seemed endless. On every floor there were at least ten rooms. He decided to start from the top and work his way down. Thus, he continued to climb.
Panting and gasping for breath, the Prince arrived at the top floor. Luckily, there, near a spindle, Sleeping Beauty lay fast asleep, looking as beautiful as ever. He sat down beside her, grabber her hand, and kissed her passionately.
Moments later, Sleeping Beauty slowly started to open her eyes. ‘P-P-Prince Charming! Thank you!’ and she gave him a huge kiss back. ‘Please can you explain to me what has been going on.’
‘My dear Sleeping Beauty, your step-mother is horrible. Knowing you have this heart condition, her jealousy led her to cast a spell on you and put you to sleep forever. Only my kiss could save you, and for that she had many adventures set up in the forest. I’m sorry it took me so long to get to you’, Prince Charming explained.
‘Oh, my love, I’m sorry you had to go through all of that! I wonder how my father felt. Did you manage to find out any more about this heart condition? Will I be okay? You should have just let me stay asleep forever…’ Sleeping Beauty said mournfully, as if someone had stabbed her in the heart.
‘Yes my sweetheart. You will be fine. Your heart condition is called cardiomyopathy, and it is a disease of the heart muscle itself. This is where the walls of the heart chambers have become stretched, thickened or stiff, and it affects the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body. In some individuals, it is inherited, and can be seen in children and younger people’, Prince Charming clarified. ‘There are four types: dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophy cardiomyopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. You, my dear, have dilated cardiomyopathy’.
‘Oh, I see. My love, which type do I have?’ asked Sleeping Beauty.
‘You have dilated cardiomyopathy, dear. This is where the heart muscle has become stretched and thin so it can’t pump blood around the body properly. Because of this, you can feel out of breath and extremely tired. You can also get irregular heartbeats, blood clots and ankle swelling. This explains how you were feeling before that evil witch cursed you!’ continued Prince Charming. ‘Restrictive cardiomyopathy is rare and mostly affects older adults and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy has more rhythm problems’.
‘So, does it run in my family?’ asked Sleeping Beauty.
‘The condition is diagnosed by a genetic test to see if the individual has a mutated gene, which is what the doctor carried out on you. You have the mutated gene, and the doctor believe it runs in your family, which may also be the cause of death for your mother too. I’m sorry, my dear. For the other types of cardiomyopathy, an ECG and echocardiogram can also be used’, Prince Charming sympathised.
‘Oh, I see! I guess it all makes sense now then, right? Will I be okay?’ queried Sleeping Beauty.
‘Yes, of course you will, my beauty. There is no cure, but there is treatment to control symptoms and prevent any further complications. Life style changes are necessary, such as healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and stress, no smoking, gentle exercise and sleep. You’ve had plenty of sleep now so you will definitely be fine!’ laughed Prince Charming. ‘There are also medications such as blood pressure tablets, beta-blockers, diuretics and anti-coagulants, but as you have the mild form, you do not need any medication treatment, and lifestyle changes are sufficient. However, if your condition deteriorates, then it may be necessary for you to take some tablets.’
Sleeping Beauty smiled. She felt relieved that her symptoms could be controlled. She had woken up from a really long sleep and yet she still felt exhausted. She closed her eyes and hugged her Prince Charming. If only she could sleep like this forever…
For more information about cardiomyopathy:
The Children’s Heart Federation (CHF) is the leading UK children’s heart charity and the main umbrella body for British CHD charities and voluntary organisations.
Mission to improve the lives and futures of those affected by Childhood Heart Disease by providing high quality, caring support, information and advocacy and to give hope by driving world class research.