Before we journeyed to Colombia, we took the brief amount of information we were given and consulted with a pediatric cardiologist in Montgomery. He was so kind and explained what he could. It was also beneficial since the doctor was from South America and could read Sam's files in Spanish. At this appointment, we were given very bleak news and a poor prognosis for Sam's condition: tricuspid atresia. This doctor, while impressive and wonderful, also admitted he only had two patients with this condition. Thus, Brent and I decided we would rather use Dr. Romp in Birmingham.
The appointment consisted of an EKG, chest x-ray, ECHO, and consultation with the cardiologist. Sam seems incredibly healthy, but I was incredibly anxious we were going to receive bad news. We were given only good, incredible, news. We learned while in Colombia that Sam's surgeries were performed at the number one hospital in Colombia, which is a complete and utter miracle since he was a ward of the state. It would be like the difference in a child in America receiving medical care while under the care of DHR as opposed to care while having super good insurance. It's an unfortunate truth in many places.
The ECHO verified that Sam's surgery was done phenomenally, and was on par with the best cardiac surgeries performed in the US. He doesn't have oxygenated and deoxygenated blood mixing, and his oxygen saturation was at 96%. He is doing so well and is so healthy that Dr. Romp wants to wean him off his ACE inhibitor and his diuretic. That means his only medication will be a baby aspirin if he tolerates being off these medications.
He also said Sam has NO activity limitation! He probably won't be able to play college sports or maybe even high school sports because he does tire a little earlier than other kids, but it isn't necessarily a rule. If he wants to play soccer, for example, he just may need a quick breather occassionally. We also asked the doctor what all he should steer clear of while we are in Disney World. He said his only limitation will be because of height restrictions! This is huge because what it translates to is his risk of his heart going into a lethal or even dangerous rhythm is negligible. It always is a risk, but is so minimal at this time that it isn't worth considering.
Good news just kept rolling in, and while the doctor was doing his exam, Sam was being so brave and such a trooper. He was a little antsy, but never fussed or pitched a fit. He is one incredible little kiddo!
Before I close, let me do my best to explain how his heart functions now that he has had two surgeries to revamp his cardiac "plumbing." I am sure I am butchering this some, but I will do my best. The left side of his heart functions great, and if there is a side of the heart that is most important to function properly, this is the side you want. A normal right side of the heart pumps, but due to his incorrect anatomy and now his corrective surgery, his right side doesn't actually pump his blood. Instead, blood gets sent through his lungs passively because of negative pressure when he breathes. This passive circulation is the reason he will always be on some form of anticoagulant because there is a higher risk for clots forming. A baby aspirin should do the trick for a very long time.
We asked what symptoms we should look for if something goes awry. Dr. Romp was quick to tell us he doesn't expect anything to go poorly, but if it does it would be predominately respiratory in nature, edema, or passing out if he experienced an arrythmia.
We are elated at the good news, and we know the Lord orchestrated every bit of his health. A day that we feared became a day to rejoice! The Lord certainly works in mysterious ways, and He never ceases to amaze!
|Leaving his appointment at UAB|
|An old picture, but you can see his scar on his chest from his two open heart surgeries.|