As I have stated; I am a husband and a father of three beautiful children, 2 boys and a girl ranging from 9.5, 8, and 2.5. It has almost been 10 years since my oldest had to go into Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to find out that he would need to have open heart surgery. He was just a month old, didn't have any complications during his birth or nothing out of the ordinary. Til this one night where my wife and I decided we were going to go eat diner with the baby at Eat N Park. We had to rush him to the emergency room because he was breathing to hard. His stomach was just pulsating in a way that was very scary to brand new parents. The doctors were running test and checking in on him all night, one thought he had pneumonia but it couldn't be because there were no fever nor any other symptoms that would be geared towards it.
Early the next morning the doctors walk in and explained how he had two holes in his upper and lower ventricle of the heart and that his aorta was very narrow and needed to be stretched. As brand new parents we didn't know what to do, how can we look at our baby and not feel his pain and not think it was something that we did or something that was hereditary? Luckily we had friends and family that were there to help support us in our time of need. The doctors told us that everyone is born with a hole in the heart but it is to close at the time of birth usually within the first few weeks, but unfortunately this was not the case for my son. So they patched him up and stretched out his aorta and thanks to Dr. Lee Beerman, MD and his staff my son has been able to live a normal life with no meds and a yearly check up.
This was in 2002, it is now 2012 and about 6 months ago we were told during his annual checkup that they found a small tiny hole and wanted to monitor it. So he was prescribed cozaar a blood thinner to try and help with the blood flow. Just yesterday he went back for his 6 month check up to follow up with an EKG and Echo and it has been determined that my child has to have another surgery because his aorta has enlarged.
Now how does one cope with this, I know we were prepared for this because we were informed after the first surgery but are you ever truly prepared for anything of this magnitude. This is my child, my first born son we are talking about. I am here to protect, guide and shield him from harm so how can I when I feel helpless at this point. My wife and I have the support of family and friends still, we talked with our son and tried to explain it as best as we could. He is very intelligent and loves science, anatomy, technology, Astronomy, etc. He seems to be ok with it and ask questions here and there, but at the same time I am trying to hold back my fears, my tears, and my worried looks so that it doesn't affect him. I don't want him to stop being a kid and shield him more but what else can I do. One of my favorite movies John Q reminds me of this situation and it frightens me that one day my kid could be out playing and suddenly collapse and I think this is what has me distraught. But as the man of the house I have to stand up and be the protector of this family and not show my fears and be strong for my wife and kids. So I pray, I pray that the swelling goes down, I pray that the surgery won't be needed, I pray that he is protected and that he lives a long and healthy life. I pray that he out lives me. I pray that I can show him every day how much I love him and his siblings and that he knows daddy will always be here. I pray...And so I ask you to pray for us in this time of need.
To learn more about Heart Disease and what you can do to help click the links below and find your local branch by typing in your zip code
This link will take you to my local branch here in Pittsburgh, PA