To those of you that know me, or even if you don't personally know me, but have read my blog in the past, you know that my oldest son has a heart condition. Last April he had his third open heart surgery to replace both his aortic valve and his pulmonary valve. Actually, they took his pulmonary valve and moved it to the aortic valve position, and they replaced his pulmonary valve with a donor valve. While performing the procedure, his surgeon saw that his pulmonary valve was bicuspid (has two leaflets instead of the three that a normal valve would have). Normally at this point, in this particular procedure, you'd abandon that procedure and move forward with another plan. Cain's surgeon felt like the valve was in good enough condition to be able to use it successfully.
After the surgery, my son did incredibly well with the healing. He was home a few days later, walking around, and stopped taking his pain pills. We thought that things were great until he went for his follow up a few weeks later where they found that both valves were partially obstructed. When I say obstructed, I don't mean there was something in there obstructing it, but the valves had thickened significantly so the blood was not flowing through at 100%. Also, we were told that the arrhythmia's that they expected to go away after surgery were still present. They felt that with time, they'd still go away, once his heart had healed and it was used to having fully functioning valves. We were told we'd continue to follow up every few weeks to keep an eye on it.
A few appointments later and a few at home heart monitors later, they realized the arrhythmia's weren't going away and put him on a daily beta blocker. At the next appointment there was still no change so we increased the dosage, but even with that, there was no change. He was having an arrhythmia with every single heartbeat.
Two weeks ago, I got a call from his cardiologist and he told me that at this point, if we do nothing these arrhythmia's will cause long term damage. He said they have to do another heart cath and cardiac ablation. (Cardiac ablation works by scarring or destroying tissue in your heart that triggers an abnormal heart rhythm. In some cases, ablation prevents abnormal electrical signals from traveling through your heart and thus stops the arrhythmia.).
I have high hopes of this working for my son. I cannot adequately explain what it feels like to see him struggle to breathe after minimal physical exertion. Walking up a flight of stairs leaves my 11 year old gasping for breath like someone who has been smoking for years. He cannot keep up with other kids physically and he cannot play sports, the one thing in life he REALLY desires. If this doesn't work, I have no idea what the next step is. I asked them not to tell me because now I am just owning that this will be the procedure to get him back to a healthy kid. I can't think about what ifs at this moment.
Cain isn't scared at all. He never is. He always takes things as they come and he has a very positive outlook on life. He is such a trooper and although I HATE that he has to go through this and he has to miss out on activities due to his heart, I know that having a heart problem has taught him to be strong.
- Some of you know me from my old blog "Moving to Morocco" where I wrote about meeting my husband and, you guessed it, moving to Morocco. Well, we're back now, and I want to write about other things (but yes, we're still happily married). There's no real subject to this blog. I just want to write. If you have a subject you'd like my opinion on, just let me know. I also plan on doing advice posts. If you have something you'd like an outside opinion on, e-mail me anonymously at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks for reading!