Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Let him live."

Ethan's visit with the cardiologist went exceptionally well!

We were only there for an hour, and I'm pretty sure that must have set some sort of record. Dr. I. was so pleased with Ethan's overall appearance and "vigorous nature" that he decided an Echo was the only test he would need today.

After looking at Ethan's growth charts and realizing that he has fallen off of his curve a little, there was a period of time, while waiting for the Echo results, that we all wondered if his heart was doing something (even more) funky to be eating up all the calories he's taking in.

However, it was nothing but good news when Dr. I. came in to share the results with us! In short, Ethan's heart function is great and his ventricles have a strong squeeze to them. The narrowing of his conduit, where it is sewn into the pulmonary artery, hasn't gotten any worse, either.

The technician and Dr. I. are looking at something called the gradient, which measures the pressure of the blood that's pushing through the narrowing in the conduit. Before Ethan's 2nd heart surgery, that number had gotten into the 100-120 mmHg (severe) range. After the surgery last September, it went down to 20-25 mmHg (normal/acceptable), and now it's hanging out around 55-60 mmHg (moderate-to-severe). This has remained unchanged since his last Echo in March, and even the one before that at the beginning of 2010. Given that it spiked so quickly between his 1st and 2nd heart surgeries (6 months to go from 20ish-100ish), we're looking at a good, long time before his heart should need any surgical interventions (cath or conduit replacement). This, my friends, is very good news!

Dr. I. will continue to monitor the narrowing via echo, and will also be checking to make sure his right ventricle isn't showing signs of being over-worked. (The right ventricle is the part of his heart that is pushing the blood through the conduit. The tighter the conduit gets, the harder the right ventricle will have to work to get blood out of the heart.)

Right before we left the office, we had a talk about the upcoming cold and flu season. Dr. I. reminded us to get our flu shots, which then brought up the question of how secluded we should keep Ethan this winter. Obviously we won't be taking him around anyone with the flu, or severe cold symptoms, but Dr. I. said six little words that shook my core and reminded me that I'm not protecting a fragile, sick baby anymore.
"You've got to let him live."
Play groups, church nursery, Target ... there are no restrictions for Ethan this winter! Even more than being able to take him out and about, this means that our once sick child is thriving in every area. He's holding his own and making it known that he's going to fight this nasty beast called Congenital Heart Defects. I really don't think I could be more proud to be his mama.

Dr. I. changed Ethan's next appointment from three months to four and, as long as all goes well, he'll be moved to every six months after that!

Thank you for the prayers you've lifted up over the past few days; I didn't feel all that anxious and Ethan cooperated beautifully. What a mighty, mighty God we serve.


Faith M. said...

It's wonderful to read about all of your answers to prayer. It's hard when our dr.'s tell us to "let them live". It's great to hear because we know that means they're doing well, BUT it's so hard to do. So many questions now come in to play. Am I letting him do too much? Am I protecting him too much? Use your mama instinct and go with it. Thanks for sharing your good news!

Jennifer said...

Such great news!! So glad that everything went well today!

Stefenie said...

Great news Joye!!! That is wonderful that Ethan is doing so well and your doc feels confident that he will not need any surgeries any time soon. Enjoy it and live it up!

kirsten michelle said...

Great news!! :o)

Jenn said...

This is all such good news!

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