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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

You Can STILL Do Anything...

pediatric surgery, cardiac surgery, aortic stenosis, aortic insufficiency
2007 heart surgery
My son has a bicuspid aortic valve, mild aortic stenosis, and severe aortic insufficiency.  

Bi-cuspid valve means having only two valvular leaflets.  The aortic valve should have three.

Aortic stenosis means that the aortic valve doesn't open as far as it should therefore it decreases blood flow from the heart.  

Aortic insufficiency means that the aortic valve doesn't close down all the way therefore blood leaks back into the heart.  

The stenosis and insufficiency can cause the pressure in the last chamber of the heart to rise and can cause enlargement of the heart or at least the left ventricle of the heart.  He has both.

Five and a half years ago surgeons tried to repair this valve.

In 2007, not long after my son turned 8, the surgeons felt it was time to attempt to fix his valve.  They went in expecting to repair the valve which they found was much worse than they thought.  It worked..... for the first 24 hours.  But after that it started slipping.  At the end of a weeks time everything was back to the way it was before the surgery.  It didn't work.
The surgeon was upset about it, he didn't understand why this didn't work.  He's done this same type of surgery many times.  This time however it didn't hold so he apologized profusely to me.  But it was OK, God had surrounded me with his peace.  HE had taken care of my son this whole time and a surgery not going the way the doctors expected wasn't going to change that.  A lot of people, had they been in my shoes, would have heard the doctors apology as an admission of some kind of guilt but I didn't.  What I heard was a man taking on the guilt for something that was out of his hands.  After asking him some questions it was easy to see that he had treated my son as if he was his own.  He had done his best so there was no place to lay blame and I let him know that.  I let him know that I didn't, couldn't and wouldn't blame him for the fact that my son walked away the same but with a scar to boot.  Because of the severity of my sons issues with that valve, the doctor stated that he didn't think that he would make it another 12 months without another surgery.  

It has now been 6 years since that first surgery!  

Things with his heart are continuing to gradually get worse but he hasn't had another surgery yet.  Though some of his issues are severe.... he is stable... so we wait.  Eventually he will have to have another open heart surgery and this one will have to replace the bad valve with a mechanical one.  When that happens he will have to go on blood thinners for the rest of his life.  He has been banned from roller-coasters and restricted from any coached sports by his doctor.  He has to be careful about getting a hard impact on his breastbone since surgery because it will never be as strong as it was before.  He also has asthma and allergies and has had to be on maintenance medications pretty much all his life to try and keep it under control.


In spite of all of this, within months of recovering from heart surgery in 2007, he began to take traditional oriental TaeKwonDo.  He worked himself up through the belts and earned his 1st degree black belt along-side his brothers and sisters.  It was officially awarded to him in February 2010, only months away from his 11th birthday.   

I can't say that I've never told him what he can't do because I have but I've tried to always counteract that with all that he can do.  I've tried to make sure that he knows that he can still do anything.  He can still be whatever he wants to be.  I've taught him that these medical issues are only "stuff" he has to deal with but they don't define him.  They don't make him who he is.  

We all have to take a look at this.  How many times do we let the "stuff" that we go through define who we are?  How many times do we define others by the "troubles" that they are going through or have gone through?  That's not what God meant for us.  When we start defining ourselves and others by what we are going through we limit ourselves. And by extension, we start to limit God.... we start deciding in our hearts what he can and can't do with us because of this "thing" that happened to us or is still happening.

But you can still do anything and God can still do anything through you.

2 awesome comments:

  1. I'm praying for your son. What a wonderful lesson you are working to teach him-and it looks like he's really got it! I'm working on that with my 12 year old daughter who has a fairly severe case of Crohn's Disease. It's so difficult, especially when they are so young, to not allow difficulties to define or limit them. You've got one tough young man.

  2. Thank you for your prayers, I do very much appreciate them.

    As you say, it is difficult and it starts with us. That sometimes can be the hardest... to deal with our own thoughts for them. We want to protect them so much that we can go overboard. That's when we run the danger of defining them ourselves by what they go through and not as a person with this disorder or disease.

    You daughter has to be one tough cookie as well... I'll be praying for her.


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