Donations provided lovely toys, DVD players, family rooms and much more to my family while Henry was in the CVCC and we are grateful.

In February 2012, I brought my 17 month old son, Henry (Hank) to his pediatrician, Dr. Lutz, for a strep throat culture. During the routine visit, Dr, Lutz heard a heart murmur that he had never heard in Henry before. He did an x-ray of his heart and noticed that it was borderline big. He suggested that Pete (my husband) and I take him to a cardiologist, which we did the very next day. While at the cardiologist, an EKG was performed and Henry got a good listening to. The doctor told us that everything was fine and that we would not see him again…

A few days later, Dr. Lutz called and asked us to come back for another x-ray because he wanted to make sure Henry’s heart didn’t still look borderline big. We brought him back in for the x-ray as Dr. Lutz suggested. A few days later, Dr. Lutz called and told us that Henry’s heart still looked a little big and that he would like us to go back to the cardiologist to get an ECHO of Henry’s heart, so of course we did.

On March 2, 2012, after a 30 minute ECHO, our lives changed forever. Dr. Burton (a different cardiologist than the first visit) came into our room and informed us that there was “something wrong” with Henry’s ECHO and that he needed to have heart surgery. I am pretty sure Pete’s jaw and my jaw are still on the floor at the CHC (Children’s Heart Clinic) as if you know our Henry, he appeared completely normal with no concerns. Henry had coarctation of the aorta, which is a narrowing in his aorta http://www.childrensmn.org/web/cardiovas/115293.asp. With this condition, Henry’s blood was flowing normally to his upper extremities and was barely flowing to his lower extremities causing his blood pressure to be 160/110 in his arms and 60/40 in his legs and the doctor couldn’t feel a pulse in his foot-pretty scary stuff. Dr. Burton was tremendous to us that day and throughout this whole process.

On March 7, 2012, our son, Henry had heart surgery to repair his aorta. Henry went into surgery at 7:30 and we didn’t see him until after 11:00 that morning. It was the scariest 3 plus hours of my life. I knew he was in good hands with Dr. Overman and his team, but he was having HEART surgery!! Post surgery, he was admitted to the CVCC (Cardiovascular Care Center) at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, where he stayed for 5 days and received phenomenal treatment and care. The doctors, nurses and staff could not have been better to our family during this difficult time. They prepared us to see him on a ventilator and explained the different IV lines and tubes coming out of his body. Additionally, they explained the gradual removal of these things and how it would impact him etc. They walked us through the process of his stay and what to expect. When we had questions or concerns everyone was responsive, respectful and attentive. Our stay there was eye opening for us, there are so many kids who need to have heart surgery and many more than just one time. The family rooms, the toys, the resources, the doctors, the nurses and the staff were all accommodating and comforting to all of the families, whether they were on surgery number 1 or 5. Our 5 year old daughter, Nora, was treated like royalty when she was visiting Henry. She had access to the family rooms and the volunteer staff that took her around the hospital and entertained her, they also eased her anxiety about what was going on with her little brother. Many of the resources made available to the families and the children are made possible by donations. I am forever indebted to the team at the CVCC and want to help, please consider making a donation in Henry’s name to the CVCC. You consideration and generosity is more than appreciated. To gain more information on the CVCC, check out this link http://www.childrensmn.org/Services/Cardiovascular/cvcenter.

I am participating in the IronGirl Duathlon on September 23, 2012, I figured I should strenghten the bank account for the CVCC while I strengthen my body and my heart!

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