Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cain's cath

We are home!!!  We got home Tuesday morning from a cath that I have known would take place since September 2008.  Since our first conversation with Cain's heart surgeon we always knew he would require 3 open heart surgeries and a heart cath at the end to complete his Fontan.  It is an odd but awesome feeling knowing we have all of those procedures behind us.  Cain's heart will never be completely fixed and he will always live with just half a heart but knowing Cain has undergone and survived all of these procedures that I have dreaded since September 22, 2008 is a feeling that can't be explained in words.

For a while now we had expected Cain's heart cath and fenestration closure to take place next spring.  All of that changed at his last cardiologist appointment when we realized his oxygen sat's were declining and his blood pressure was a little high.  I'm so thankful his appointment fell when it did and his cardiologist decided to go ahead and schedule his cath.  Cain tolerated the cath very well and Cain's pressures looked good.  Dr. Janssen had been concerned that Cain's pulmonary artery could be narrowing and causing his blood pressure to increase.  During the cath, the narrowing was confirmed with a section measuring only 4mm, which is only half the size of what the artery measured before and after the narrowing.  A stent was placed to widen the narrowed area and to support it from narrowing any further.  Unfortunately, the stent won't grow with Cain so he will need another stent placed in approximately 5 years.

Picture before the stent
Picture after the stent
They were also able to close the fenestration (hole) during this cath.  We were able to see sample devices to see what was used in Cain's heart.  It was so crazy to see how they actually "plug" the fenestration.

The device on the left is what they used to close the fenestration and the device on the right is the stent. Both of these devices are stretched out into a tiny tube and then threaded through the catheter.  From what we learned from Cain's cardiologist, Cain's cath took a little longer than expected (around 4 hours) because the stent that was used to widen Cain's pulmonary artery did not go exactly where they wanted it.  The stent had to come partially out of its sheath and they had to use a snare catheter to get it into the proper positioning.  I'm so thankful all of this turned out okay and that Cain's cardiologist was eventually able to get the stent exactly where he wanted it.  

Cain's new stent implant card that I am to carry with me at all times.  
Cain's oxygen saturation levels stayed around 94 after Cain's fenestration closure.  We have never seen Cain's oxygen so high!  Once tissue grows over the patch and completely seals off the fenestration, he will have even higher oxygen levels.  I asked the cardiologist if he thought Cain would feel better immediately and he explained it wasn't so much that Cain would feel better but we should certainly see a difference in Cain's stamina and he shouldn't get as out of breath while he is playing and running.  Oh how I can't wait for that!  It always broke my heart to hear him breathing so hard while he was playing.  

For the most part, Cain had a great recovery.  Throughout the afternoon of Cain's cath, we really noticed him getting very swollen.  We hated seeing him so puffy but thankfully he started having good urine output in the evening and the swelling looked much better by the next morning.  Really the only problem we had was getting Cain to take his meds but that was thankfully back to normal when I gave him his meds at home.  Speaking of meds, nothing changed with his meds after this cath so we went right back to twice a day enalapril, once a day lasix and once a day baby aspirin.  

I still can't believe Cain has been through 3 open heart surgeries and 3 open heart caths.  At one point Brad looked at me in the hospital and said, "momma, we sure have been through a lot".  He is certainly correct about that but I wouldn't change it for the world unless that meant it could be me going through all of this instead of Cain.  Words cannot express how blessed I feel about how far Cain has come.  Thank you for all of your prayers and a HUGE thank you to my parents who dropped everything and traveled to Nashville to help us with Callie.  We are so grateful for everyone's support.  And I don't just mean the support we have received over the last week.  It is the love, support and most importantly prayers over the last 4 years that have helped us get from this....

to this.....


Melissa said...

So beautiful!!!! Praise God! What a relief for you guys to be through these major surgeries! Praying for much more energy for your precious boy:)

Dawn Maynor said...

Thanks for sharing all of those details. So nice to know!