Kate's VSD was first detected when she was six weeks old, and we have monitored it closely with cardiology appointments at three months, six months, one year, and eighteen months of age. All the news up to this point was positive. The defect was still there, but there was no cause for immediate concern. Hopefully the hole would heal itself eventually. In the meantime, we watched and waited.
Last week we had Kate's two-year cardio exam. The news wasn't what we were hoping to hear. Kate's heart is enlarged, blood is pooling in her lungs, and there hasn't been any improvement in the last six months. On the positive side, her organs are all a-ok, her growth and development is perfect, and none of this stuff (heart enlargement, blood in the lungs, etc) is life-threatening. But we need to start trying to be proactive and take care of the situation. The time for watching and waiting is over.
It begins with a catheter procedure.
Kate's surgery is scheduled for August 31 at Mainz Uniklink in the Kinderkardiologie unit. During the procedure the doctors will measure the pressure in both sides of her heart, get an on-side measurement of her defect, and evaluate her situation to see if she is a candidate for repair.
Ideally, the surgeon will find that Kate's heart is perfect for a catheter repair and will use an "umbrella device" to close the hole completely right then and there. If Kate's heart doesn't allow for this -- if there is any danger whatsoever of damaging the valves of her heart -- the surgeon will not attempt a repair and we will go back to the old drawing board.
As our pediatrician told me yesterday, we should "tuck our thumbs" (the German version of "cross our fingers") and hope that they can repair the defect with a catheter because the other repair method is not so nice.
I am tucking my thumbs, crossing my fingers, and praying with all my might that all of this will be behind us this time next week. Kate's VSD has been a constant source of concern for our whole family ever since it was first detected. Even though Kate's heart is the one with a physical hole, this mommy feels like there is a figurative hole in my own waiting to be repaired along with Kate's.
So this weekend we're packing our bags again. For a week-long vacation in the hospital. We'll be there, trying our best to entertain a very independent, active two-year-old in a hospital bed. Please pray for Kate...and for Nick and me too.
A huge thanks to my awesome girlfriends Janelle, Felicity, Jenn, and Tiffany, who have taken a huge load off my shoulders by offering to watch Ella during this time as often as necessary. I trust these ladies to make Ella's life easier next week, because it won't be easy for her. Not only is Ella going to worry about her sister, she will also worry about her parents being gone. On top of that, she is bound to be disappointed that we cancelled our 10-day trip to Greece -- she was really excited about spending her birthday on the beach. I don't want her fourth birthday to be a huge let down.
Please keep us all in your prayers.
|Nick and his Lizzie Kate|