Photo captured by Amanda Barker, Vivitography

June 23, 2010

Bradley's Visit with Cardiologist

Just a quick update....Yesterday, Bradley met with his cardiologist about the clots in his lung.  He has 3 clots in his right lung that are causing him to be short of breath and fatigued.  His doctor is hoping that by adjusting his blood-thinning medication and making his blood thinner, it will break up the clots.  And it should also lower the pressure in his pulmonary artery, which is the goal in all of this testing, and will make him breathe better and feel better. 

If that pressure gets low enough, then he could still have an ablation done, which was the procedure planned last week that was canceled when they discovered the high pressure.  That procedure will help with his flutter that he has, but he hasn't been in flutter for 3 weeks, so that will all depend on the pressure and how he's feeling.

We were also really encouraged when his cardiologist said that if the pressure gets low enough and stays low, then he might not have to have a heart and lung transplant, but rather just a heart transplant.  This was such good news to hear, because when I searched for heart/lung transplants, I read on one website that those are only done about 20 times a year in all of North America.  If we can rule out a heart and lung transplant, then that would be such a praise.  So, that's what we're praying keep his pressure down so much that a lung transplant wouldn't need to be considered.

Overall, it was a great visit and we were really encouraged.  He has to have his blood levels checked every week to make sure they are within the range required to break up those clots.  To hear that this has such an easy solution was such a blessing (and that the pressure wasn't coming from something like an undiagnosed disease).  Thank you for all of your prayers in this.  We know and rest in the fact that God is in control!!


June 20, 2010

Update on Bradley/Mini-Story of His Life

I know, I know it’s been a long time, since I last posted.  Give me a little grace. :) I’m writing this post about Bradley because some of you may have seen my Facebook or Twitter statuses about him lately, but don’t really know what’s going on.  So, for those of you interested in his life story or just wanting an update, read on...

Bradley was born with a congenital heart defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries.  For those of you who know heart stuff, it’s where the aorta and the pulmonary artery are switched and the blood in his heart can't get to his body.  (If you want to look at a picture of a heart like his compared to a normal heart, click here.)  When he was born, he was a blue baby (fingers, toes, lips, etc. were blue) because not enough oxygenated blood was circulating through his body.  At 11 months old, he had open-heart surgery to correct his heart, using a procedure called the Mustard Procedure. (His heart now looks like this.) It was a success and he grew to be a healthy child.

He got this first pacemaker when he was 4 years old (and one day he actually died but was revived quickly - true story), and has had several replacement pacemakers, including one when we had only been married 3 months.

When he was 22, he received news from his cardiologist that he had developed congestive heart failure because of the procedure that was done when he was 11 months old.  In that procedure, while they fixed the circulation problems so oxygenated blood could get to his body, they made some parts of the heart work much harder than naturally intended.  The right ventricle (*corrected as Bradley pointed out) is designed to pump blood into the lungs (low pumping action), but Bradley’s is now pumping blood to his entire body (a much harder job).  So because it’s working much harder than intended, his heart muscle is slowly giving out.

There are other things associated with heart failure that he deals with, like atrial flutter (where his heart beats funky and makes him really tired), fatigue, shortness of breath, ankle swelling, and other things I’m sure I’m forgetting.

Currently, he just found out this week that he has pulmonary hypertension, which is pretty much like high-blood pressure in the artery that leads to the lungs.  If left untreated, it could lead to things like very difficult breathing and having to use oxygen.  This week, we have been in the hospital doing tests for a procedure called an ablation that was supposed to help relieve his flutter, and they discovered that the pressure in his heart was too high to do the ablation.  He did some more tests on Friday and found out that he has some blood clots in his right lung, which I think is causing the high pressure.  The doctors didn’t seem too worried about it, so we’re waiting to hear from his cardiologist on Monday.  (It certainly worried us...try searching “blood clots in lungs” and see what you get. Lol) It is our prayer that however they treat this, it lowers the pressure.  After all, he does have 2 little boys to chase after. :)

Right now, they just plan to treat the symptoms of heart failure as they come up.  The doctors say Bradley’s heart, and possibly lungs, will probably continue to decrease in function and most likely end in a heart or heart/lung transplant.  But, that will probably be years and years from now, we hope.  However, we know that God is sovereign over everything and is the ultimate Physician.  He may allow all this to happen, or may choose to heal Bradley.  While we wait, we pray for healing.

So, that makes you current with everything that’s going on with Bradley’s heart.  I am amazed at how he has handled himself throughout all of this (or at least what I’ve seen the last 6 years I’ve known him).  His response to being diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, “happy and hopeful.”  Only someone resting securely in Christ’s hands can say that. :)  (How to rest securely in Jesus)

That’s it, for now.  Sorry if that was way  more information than what you came for. :)  I will update any new information on here when we get it.  If you have any questions, please just ask and we’ll be happy to answer! Love you all.

March 21, 2010

Blake 7 months!

A few days ago, Blake turned 7 months old.  It's hard to believe that the time has already gone so quickly.  Now that Cade is grown (2.5 is grown to me), it's really made me look at having a baby in a whole new light.  I really, really don't want Blake to grow up.  He is a very laid-back, easy-going baby and always seems to be smiling or talking, squealing or spitting.  Unlike with Cade, I haven't constantly looked forward to the next milestone.  I have seen how quickly a baby can turn into a toddler and a toddler into a preschooler.  I am just fine with Blake being a baby.  In fact, it makes me sad that one day he won't be a baby.  Yes, I still look forward to the days when Cade and Blake are playing baseball and soccer and Bradley can take them camping.  But, for now, I will savor every moment that I have with my littlest one until he gets too old to want to cuddle or be held or asks me to "get down."  I may just go wake him up so I can hold him.  :)