Friday, September 17, 2010

Praise God - good news!

The title is a bit of a spoiler for the rest of the this update, but I couldn't resist!  We are SO thankful for the way that God answered our prayers for Gloriana's heart. =)

First things first, the cardiologist was explicitly surprised at how good Gloriana looked.  He was further surprised to hear how well she has been since the last appointment: good apetite, putting on consistent weight (up to 7 lbs, 4 oz today!), no difficulty breathing, and no bouts of sweating.  He said any or all of those characteristics would have been warning flags that something is wrong.  Not having any of the above problems shows that things are going quite well.

The doctor listened to Gloriana's heart and said that her heart murmur was significantly quieter than 3 weeks ago, which indicates that her VSD (hole in her heart) is reducing in size.  Praise God!  The rest of his exam left him impressed, too - her respiratory and heart rate were both right where they should be, which are even more good signs.

I asked what the prognosis/possibilities/probabilities are from here on out.  He said that there is a 30-40% chance the hole in her heart will continue to close and won't have any problems.  There is a 50% chance that the hole will close more, but not completely - and then surgery would be necessary sometime after her first birthday to make sure everything is fine.  There is a 10% chance that the hole would close incorrectly, causing problems in the tissue around the hole and resulting in surgery to correct that.  Overall, we were encouraged with the set of news that he gave us about the VSD.

I reminded him that 3 weeks ago there were concerns with the mitral valve.  "What's the status of that concern?"  He said that it's likely NOT a valve issue at all - in fact, if it were, we would be seeing difficulties in the areas I mentioned above.  "What, then, caused the enlarged chamber three weeks ago?"  Most likely, he said, it was the change in bloodflow because of the VSD healing, along with the increased volume of blood in that area of her heart from the VSD - "an artifact from the VSD" were his exact words.  "So what about the valve, then?  Any need for treatment?"  He said that valve problems are best avoided and said that they were quite certain we could rule out that problem.  Instead, the chamber has likely already reduced in size due to the VSD reducing in size... and both that chamber and her entire heart should eventually go back to their normal size on their own.

"On their own" is a funny phrase because we know that nothing ever happens "on its own."  "In him [Jesus] we live and move and have our being."  So does Gloriana.  We'll never know whether there actually was a valve problem 3 weeks ago... whether it was merely an artifact from the VSD... or whether - seen through the eyes of faith - that the valve didn't require surgery because the Great Physician Himself healed Gloriana.  Amazing.

We are moved beyond words.  This day - along with so many through the journey of the pregnancy, surgery, bedrest, NICU stay, and the rest of the roller coaster ride since - is one of those "immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine" kind of days.  We were cautioned that we're "not out of the woods yet" by the cardiologist, but this is still very good news.  If all continues to go well - and we don't see any of the abovementioned concerns - we'll see the cardiologist again in about a month.  Incredible. =)

Thank you again for your unwavering prayer support.  I think of the old African-American spiritual song: "If it had not been for the Lord on my side... where would I be?  Where would I be?"  This journey has been - and continues to be - unceasingly marked with grace.  We're reminded today of what Gloriana Joy's first and middle names mean: "God's glorious grace brings JOY."  Praise God!  God is good, all the time.

~Jeff

4 comments:

Mr. Fox said...

That is such great news!!!! We will continue to pray for your family.

Rick Vanderwal said...

so glad to hear that, Jeff!

Anonymous said...

We are praising the Lord with you.

Doug & Gail Achterhof

Audrey Straub said...

Amazing!!!! So many things to be thankful for. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
From another surviving family of TTTS in Michigan.