Thursday, February 28, 2013

Heart Awareness Month

I've been trying all month to figure out what I wanted to say about heart disease and congenital heart defects. I wanted to do something special for Heart Awareness month (February) or Congenital Heart Disease Awareness week (February 7-14) or National Organ Donor day (February 14th).

Lately I've read posts on Facebook containing all the statistics about heart disease. I could've shared those numbers. As the month sped by, though, I realized that I didn't want to just share interesting facts.

When I learn about a condition that I'm unfamiliar with, I'm not interested in statistics. What I'm interested in is the personal stories. I want to know about a person with that condition and how they live their lives.

And so, tonight, in honor of Heart Awareness month, I'll share a few tidbits about what Lauren's life is like these days. She's now three-and-a-half years post-transplant and is doing very well.

Lab draws become "no big deal." Our transplant team in Arizona checks her labs every month, and if the medicine levels comes back a little too high or a little too low, we go back weekly until they stabilize.

blood draw, heart transplant

Bathing suit shopping is a struggle. Lauren wanted a one-piece, but Mom wanted one that would better protect her scar from too much sun-exposure.

Medicine time is such a normal part of our routine that we sometimes forget that many kids only take medicine when they are sick.

transplant anti-rejection medicines

Picnics require a camp stove because all of Lauren's meats must be served hot. I can't just pack ham-and-cheese sandwiches.

Sometimes a virus means extra visits to the doctor and even an afternoon in the Emergency Room.

As I was running this afternoon, I saw a tricycle parked on someone's front porch. It brought by memories of a similar tricycle that Lauren used to ride. She's come a long ways since the days when she rode laps around the sixth floor of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia while she waited for her "new, strong heart."

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

I'm celebrating Heart Awareness month by sharing smiles, thanking God for our wonderful gift, and looking to the future with hope.

I bought Lauren a new t-shirt too.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, cardiac transplant

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  1. In my mind, she's still the preschooler that came to the KFA Expo. It's hard to believe she's so grown up!

  2. Our middle boy had Tetralogy of Fallot when he was born and major open heart surgery at 2 months old. Thankfully he only has to have yearly checkups now.

  3. We've been so blessed to have 7 years of health since my son's open heart surgery. My prayers are with you and Lauren. She has a beautiful story and testimony.

  4. I love reading stories about how well she is doing and what her life with her strong heart is like. I guess we can't refer to it as a "new" strong heart anymore, but that is a good thing. :)



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