Monday, November 3, 2008

Why I'm Writing This

I'm writing this blog so that I can keep my family and friends posted regarding my heart condition and how my doctors plan to fix it so that my parents can stop worrying about me. I'm actually pretty healthy otherwise, but this hole in my heart has made my body work overtime to keep me going, and I'm ready to get it fixed. I copied a good summary that my Mommy wrote below for all of you who might be interested.

From: Jeannie Miller []
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008
Subject: Audrey Update

Hello, all. We just wanted to update you on Audrey’s condition.

As most of you know, Audrey has a congenital heart defect called an ASD (atrial septal defect, or hole in the heart). This is something that developed in the womb, and we have been monitoring it every six months. Typically, an ASD is repaired in children between the ages of two and five if it doesn’t close on its own. However, Audrey’s cardiologist expressed some concern and suggested that we move forward with the surgery now. Her weight, compared to her peer group, has steadily declined from the 25th percentile to the negative 15th percentile, and the right side of her heart is significantly enlarged due to the excessive amount of blood flowing through the hole into the right atrium. Her heart is about the size of her fist and the hole is a little more than 7mm. Although this is considered to be a mid-sized hole, it is allowing blood to flow as though it were a large-sized hole.

Mark and I met with her pediatric thoracic surgeon today and he is wonderful. Dr. Eric Mendeloff is the director of the Congenital Heart Program at Medical City Children’s Hospital, where Audrey’s surgery is scheduled. The process is a follows: they will have to go in through her chest, as she is too small to go in through a vein in her leg. They will put her on a bypass machine, cut into the right atrium, and patch the hole with a piece of pericardial tissue (the sac that surrounds the heart). This patch will become grafted into her existing heart muscle in about 3 months as if the hole had never existed.

Post-surgery, she cannot have significant pressure applied to her chest and she cannot be picked up under her arms for at least four weeks, as that would put pressure on her breastbone and cause her some discomfort. Like any other bone in the body, her breastbone will take about six weeks to completely heal back together. But other than that, her recovery is amazingly short for open heart surgery.

We are scheduled for November 4th (yes, Election Day). The surgery will begin at 8am and will last approximately four hours. Barring any complications, she will spend 1 night in the Pediatric ICU and another 2 nights in a regular room. We should be discharged on Friday. Dr. Mendeloff said that children are incredibly resilient and that she should be feeling basically back to normal by that weekend!

We appreciate all your prayers and we will keep everyone posted on Audrey’s progress.

Jeannie, Mark & Alexander

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