THE NITTY GRITTY
As stated in the prior update the issue was tissue, or membrane in front of the aortic valve. The Doctors were afraid it was it was narrowing the opening to his valve, causing his valve to leak and also threatening attachment to the valve which would be a major problem possibly resulting in a valve replacement. It was our main focus to get a good read on what was going on in that particular part of his heart to decide if he is going to need surgery. Every echo-gram conducted by different doctor’s offices showed us the surgery was very likely. There was also a second issue of narrowing in the aortic arch. This was going to be checked out during the procedure. The doctor told us before the day of the procedure that if she can try to balloon that part open she will, otherwise she can leave it to be taken care of during surgery.
On August 28, 2012 we came to Children's Hospital of Los Angeles to have the cardiac cath performed. This procedure had been postponed 2 times already and this was our third attempt to make it happen. The first appointment in June had to be cancelled because of a severe diaper rash that happened to form right before our appointment! Our 2nd attempt in July was postponed because the hospital did not have an anesthesiologist available for him that day. So we moved it to the end of summer in August.
Before the procedure our doctor came to us with papers to sign for consent and told us what was going to be done. They were going to check the narrowing near the aortic valve, check the aortic arch for narrowing and measure all the different pressures around his heart. She mentioned that she will also try to balloon the aortic arch to see if it will help open it up for better blood flow. She proceeded to tell us that there might be a need to insert a stent to open up the narrowing of the arch, even though it wasn't very likely the doctor just wanted to mention it because it is a possibility. We received a call from the doctor about 2 hours into the procedure to tell us that the she wants to place a stent in John's aortic arch. Johnny and I were taken back because we were not anticipating this at all!! But as we learned more we were put at ease.
The arch was measuring at an opening of 9-10mm and at the point of the narrowing it measured at 3-4mm. The doctor tried ballooning the aortic arch at the narrowing, however it was so tough it would just come back to its original narrowed size. She recommended to place the stent in there to keep it open enough for the right amount of blood flow to the body. The Dr. also mentioned that because of Johns age they would be able to use an adult sized stent and not a child sized stent which would not require us to come back soon to have it changed out.
They discovered that the tissue or membrane in front of the aortic valve was actually not really an issue. It was much better than what they had expected, and it ended up not being a problem requiring surgery to correct it. The doctor told us our options are to put the stent in or to have surgery to correct the narrowing, however she recommended the stent. Of course, we agreed! Anything would be better than having surgery again! She went on with placing the stent to correct the narrowing.
After the procedure she showed us the pictures of how blood was flowing through the arch before the stent, and then the pictures after. The difference was amazing. The narrowing was affecting the blood flow to his lower body, which in turn was causing his heart to pump harder to increase the pressure. Just imagine a 3 year old with high blood pressure already. The stent was going to alleviate almost all the undue pressure in John's heart and allow his heart pressure to be normal. The valve did have a little of a leak, however she mentioned that it was not as bad as she thought and not requiring any correction. Praise the Lord!
Our Cardiologist here in Orange County started discussing this procedure for John when he was just 2 years old. I begged him to have us wait until he was three, if possible, so that John would be able to understand more, and speak what he is feeling, and be more calm overall rather than be in the terrible twos! He said it would be ok to wait. And for many different reasons this procedure kept getting pushed back farther and farther. But we know that it was all in the Lord’s timing. And He never lets us down.
We were praying with friends and family for the tissue in front of the aortic valve not to be a problem and that it would just disappear and be made like it wasn’t there. It’s exactly what God did. We prayed for John not to go through another surgery, and that’s exactly what God did! Our God is amazing. I’m not trying to say he is a genie and you can ask him anything and he will do it, but if we ask Him according to His will He will do it and that’s a promise. And God never breaks his promises. He reminded me of that with the rainbow on the way home. Thank you Lord for showing your glory once again and letting us know you are always with us and will take care of us.
1 John 5:14,15
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
On a daily calendar, for August 29th (The day after the procedure) it read:
“I am leaving you with a gift – Peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27