Thursday, July 11, 2013

Just One Month Ago...

It was one month ago today that my almost-perfect life hit a major speed bump. I was sitting in the doctor’s office with my son as the cardiologist was telling me that my otherwise healthy little boy had a congenital heart defect and would need open heart surgery. I never would have imagined that either one of my children would have anything wrong with them. They’re both very active, hardly ever get sick, and eat well. There were never any signs of anything like a heart defect in my son. But there we were.

George was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect know as Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC). In addition to the defect, he also has something that the cardiologist had not seen in his 30+ years of experience. He explained it very well to me, but I tend to butcher the relaying of it to others. It has something to do with a hole in his right atrium, where there is some flow, but also some obstruction (this is what the cardiologist had never seen before—the presence of both).
Two days ago, we met with the cardiologist again who was able to get more ultrasound images of George while he was napping. He was very pleased with what he got and sounds very optimistic about the surgery. We have not met with the surgeon yet but he did tell the cardiologist that he wants a cardiac CT and an angiogram done before the surgery to get an even better look at George’s heart. Were all very nervous about the surgery, and it’s difficult to find any good in this situation, but I’ve tried hard to come up with a few things to remind myself that things could always be worse.

-          The cardiologist and the surgeon believe that everything can be fixed in just one surgery. I am so thankful for this, because I really don’t want to have to go through this again.
-          The surgeon is one of the best in our area. He’s the only pediatric cardiac surgeon, but also operates on adults and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the outcomes of his surgeries.
-          The surgery will be done within 5 minutes of our home. I was worried we would have to go all the way to Duke (almost 2 hours away), but Vidant Memorial Hospital has a new heart institute and a new children’s hospital, and the East Carolina School of Medicine is also right here. I think it is safe to say that they are “up to speed” on their medical knowledge.
-          George is a very strong and healthy boy. I believe he will be a fighter and will bounce right back to his normal self within weeks.
-          As much as I would have preferred a vacation instead of a medical crisis, I’m glad that my husband didn’t use up his vacation time yet. He still has about 2 weeks left so it will be great to have him home during the surgery and for George’s recovery. (Honestly, he would probably take off work regardless, but at least this way he still gets paid.)
-          My parents live in our same neighborhood, just 6 houses down from us. Bridget will be moving in with them temporarily during the week of the surgery and for a short time afterwards, so that my husband and I can focus all of our energy on George. But with Bridget being so close by, I’m glad I’ll be able to visit her every day so she knows we still love her.
When I think of those things, I think about how lucky we are, in spite of this diagnosis. Obviously I’m still scared, still worried, as any mother would be. But I’m also doing my very best to be optimistic. Everything will be okay.

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