Friday, February 18, 2011

A Princess and Her Heart!!

I want to start off today by telling you that February is Heart Month which is an awareness of all heart disease and defects.  As a part of Heart Month I would like to tell you about some friends of ours who’s daughter has a heart condition called a congenital heart defect. This amazing little girl is only 5 years old.

Wikipedia:  A congenital heart defect (CHD) is a defect in the structure of the heart and great vessels which is present at birth. Many types of heart defects exist, most of which either obstruct blood flow in the heart or vessels near it, or cause blood to flow through the heart in an abnormal pattern. Other defects, such as long QT syndrome, affect the heart's rhythm. Heart defects are among the most common birth defects and are the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths. Approximately 9 people in 1000 are born with a congenital heart defect.[2] Many defects don't need treatment, but some complex congenital heart defects require medication or surgery.

There is a test that can be done in the hospital after you have a baby with the Pulse Oximeter which can help detect most CHD's. This test which is non-invasive and non-painful can save lives.

Lydia was diagnosed first diagnosis when she was 21 months old and she had her first open-heart surgery when she was 23 months old. Three weeks after Lydia and her parents got home her little brother was born.  For a time all was “normal” for this family until when Lydia was 3 ½ they found out that she had pulmonary hypertension which is high blood pressure in her lungs. In November 2009 they found out that she needed a new heart and was listed for transplant in April 2010.  On Thanksgiving Day last year (Oct 11, 2010) Lydia was playing in the back yard with her cousins when she collapsed and had slurred speech and was unable to walk. Once her parents reached her in the yard they began to make plans to get her to the hospital. She was later transferred to one of the leading hospital in Canada that deals with hearts. On October 29th 2010 she had her heart hooked up to a Berlin heart/LVAD.  During this time in hospital this family of five now (Lydia now has a little brother and sister) picked up and moved to a different province. With the help from Lydia’s Grandma and other family members and friends they were able to have someone with Lydia every day. 

On December 11th 2010 Lydia was given the most precious gift that she could ever be given, a second chance at life with a New Heart!! 

In the days before Lydia received her new heart she was sick with an infection that the doctors where trying to discover where it was coming from. When Lydia was in her heart transplant surgery the doctors discovered where the infection was when they opened her up, they discovered that the cannulas (big tubes going into her stomach from her Berlin heart pump) were infected and full of puss. My friends were told that the infection inside of Lydia would have taken her life in two days and the only way that they would have been able to save her was buy giving her a New Heart.  God perfect timing!!
Now I want to take a moment and say how much I respect the family who chose to give their child’s heart away to give another child a second chance at life. When you are in a situation where you know that your child is not going to live for one reason or another and to still make that choice to give a part of your child to someone else is a brave and heroic thing to do and I want to say a THANK YOU on behalf of Lydia’s family and those who know and have been touched by Lydia’s life.

A couple of weeks ago Lydia and her family came HOME!! Lydia is doing well in her recovery and as a family they are taking it one step at a time. I can only imagine how wonderful it would feel to be at home as a family after living in hospitals and temporary housing for almost four months.

This family I have been talking about is a part of our church here and everyone in the church and the community have been following this little girl’s story and now recovery. It has been a real blessing to see how one little girl’s life has already been such a witness to those around her in what God is capable of doing.

I have to tell you that Lydia is one of the strongest people I know and she is only 5 years old!

When we moved to this town and were starting to get to know some of the people here one of the first families we started to get to know was Lydia’s family. Lydia has two younger siblings and David and Jaclyn were happy to find some friends that just happened to be brother and sister as well that they liked to play with. David immediately liked Lydia and after she went to the hospital there wasn’t a day that went by that we didn’t pray for her to get a new heart. Than after she got a new heart David waited and waited for her to come home to play again. I think he may be a little smitten.
Then last Sunday our church wore pink to celebrate the new heart and second chance at life that Lydia was given.  As a family we went out and looked for some kind of pink clothes for everyone to wear, we found a shirt for Chris, Jaclyn and I had something pink but unfortunately we were unable to find anything pink for David. At first David was sad, but then he came up with a plan all on his own about what he would where instead of pink. He then asked if he could buy Lydia a pink (real) rose and a chocolate rose. He was really cute about how much planning he put into Sunday. He started calling last Sunday “Lydia’s Sunday”.

I wanted to share a picture of David and Lydia



Carrie Funk said...

what a great story she has !!
Well written Katherine

Linda said...

Aww! Thank you for spreading the word about CHDs and Heart Transplant! :)