Monday, July 03, 2006

Tolbert family heart story.

As many of you know it has been a long hard journey to get to this point. I was born August 29,2005 at 3:10 p.m. To everyone's dismay I was born with a very complex heart defect. I was born with an Interrupted Aortic Arch (IAA) and a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) When news hit my mommy and daddy they were so sad and scared. My cardiologist, Dr. McGovern, told them that from a 1-10 my heart problem was a 9. He also told them that I might not make it on the flight to Duke. If I did make the flight, It was very likely I would not make it through my first heart surgery. I sure surprised everyone. I had surgery when I was 4 days old which lasted 6 1/2 hours. The surgery was a success. My surgeons, Dr. Lodge and Dr. Jaggers fixed both my IAA and closed the VSD. I was in the hospital for the first 25 days of my life. 7 days of that I laid with my chest wide open in the PICU because I had to much fluid around my heart and lungs. What a fighter I was. We finally made it back home September 22. Home sure was a lot different than that scary hospital.

I went to the cardiologist almost every week when we came back to Asheville. Things were looking good until a visit we had in the middle of October. During a routine echocardiogram Dr. McGovern saw that I had something called Sub Aortic Stenosis ( SAS). In other words... I had a piece of tissue growing in my heart making it difficult for blood to flow out of my heart. This grew so fast that I had to have my second surgery one month later. November 23, 2005 was when I had the operation. Yes, I did spend my first Thanksgiving at Duke. The surgery was yet another success with hopes that this tissue would not grow back. My surgeon told mommy and daddy that there was always a chance for this to come back, but it would probably take 5 or 10 years. Guess what...... It grew back in 7 weeks. My whole family was so sad. Mommy cried a lot and daddy was really worried. It's not often that you see a baby my size make it through 2 open heart surgeries, much less, have a third. The Dr.'s were so concerned about opening me up so soon. I didn't have much time to recover from my first 2. We had a few heart caths during this wait for the next operation. During a cath they saw that not only would they have to remove the tissue again, they would have to do a total reconstruction of my aorta. What an invasive surgery. Dr. Lodge wanted to wait to the last possible moment before he had to open me again. We finally had it on March 27, 2006 just two days before my 7 month birthday. Dr. Lodge and Jaggers both had to help during this surgery because it was so complex. They told mommy and daddy that this surgery would be harder than the previous two because there was more scar tissue and a bigger chance of bleeding. But guess what? I surprised everyone again! I was off the ventilator within a day, and I was out of the PICU in 2 1/2 days. I would have got out of the hospital in 5 days but I caught the Roto virus. God truly blessed me during this surgery. When I got home, Dr. McGovern gave us news that my diaphragm was not working on the right side. Mommy and daddy were worried again, but they knew God would provide just like he had in times past. On May 5, 2005 I had my much dreaded 1 month post-op appointment with Dr. McGovern. We received GLORIOUS news. Everything was fine. There was no tissue found in my heart, my aorta was wide open, and all other problems had resolved. I was doing great! All I can say is... I've been touched by the mighty hand of God. He's done so much for me and my family in these past 8 months I just can't praise him enough. There has been so many faithful people praying for me, I just know God has heard a prayer. I can't wait till I get older and can tell people that Jesus came in and touched my heart and made me whole. I sure have a good story to tell. I hope everyone can see that I am a living miracle, and I want you to see God through me.

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