Thoughts from Dad

First, I would like to give a shout out to all you moms who have a heart kiddo. I know firsthand how hard you work and the sacrifices you make for your child. I know because I see it every day in my wife, Gina. She has fought so hard for every little and big thing in John’s 6 years of life. I hope God uses Gina’s experience through this website to help many mothers and heart families build up the strength to win their daily battles.

Secondly, I’m a CPA, so I’m a numbers guy and not a writer. Without spell check, I would have four words misspelled in this sentence alone! So fortunately for you I won’t blog often. Also, full disclosure here, I’m a glass half full kind of guy. I always find the positive, and I know that drives Gina (a realist) a little nuts.

With this in mind, I’ll make the announcement that John is scheduled to get a pacemaker this week. We knew this was coming at some point in his life. I thought maybe we could make it until he was at least age 10 (again, glass half full). However, John wore a heart monitor in late October and his beats per minute, especially while sleeping, are dropping dangerously low. They are also trending down over the past two years.

Here is a chart of the data for anyone else who appreciates numbers:

This is a chart, taken from the American Heart Association, of what his heart rate should be:

Amazingly, if you saw John’s high amount of energy you wouldn’t believe this data. I haven’t met a kid his age with more energy! I’m obviously biased, but if you would have seen him last week at his brother's basketball game, sprinting across the gym at every half-time and time-out, you wouldn’t believe it either. No one would know from observing him that he has a severe heart defect.

So, once again just before Christmas, we are going to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. I’m told 3 to 4 days recovery which puts us back home (optimistically) by Christmas day.

So what’s going through my mind leading up to this procedure?

  1. I am so thankful we have wonderful doctors, surgeons, nurses, and teams of specialists in Iowa City that know John’s heart inside and out, that love him, and are taking good care of him.

  2. I am so thankful we have technologies, such as pacemakers, that will help John’s little heart. These technologies are improving each and every day.

  3. I am so thankful John will feel even better in the future. This pacemaker will give us all a peace of mind, knowing it will help John's bpm's to stay at a safe level while he is sleeping.

  4. Finally, I am so thankful God is in control.

I could find the negative or worry about the risks, because there are risks, but I’m choosing to focus on all the good that will come from this procedure. John needs this and I am convinced we are at the right place to accomplish this successfully.

Whatever happens, I know God is good and has a plan. I am sad that John will be hurting and I hate blood draws, pokes, and Holidays in the hospital for him, but I do trust in God's perfect plan. And I know Gina will be fighting for and with John every second until we are back home as a family celebrating Christmas!

Thank you for your prayers,


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