One week from today, we will be on the last leg of our road trip to Houston, Texas. America’s 4th largest city will be the site of Reiss’ life-altering open heart surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital – ranked 2nd in pediatric cardiology and heart surgery center by US News.
One week from Monday, we will have a mini one-day vacation to take our mind off of the inevitable, to have some fun before reality sets in, and to grab a bit of relaxation before the crazy.
One week from Tuesday, Reiss will go through pre-op visits at Texas Children’s. We will learn what she can and cannot eat, when we have to stop solids and liquids, what medicines she has to stop and when, the surgeon’s plan, and when to be there on Wednesday.
One week from Wednesday, we will hand off our daughter to nationally renowned doctors to successfully complete a unique, once-every-two-years (at best) type of surgery. Then we will wait. Wait to see how long it will take, pray will see our daughter again, and hope she comes back to us as expected.
One week from today is the start of our tomorrow. Our new life. Our new beginning. Our new us. Our breath of fresh air – literally. This is the what we have been waiting for since Reiss started coughing blood (hemoptysis) in February 2015. Reiss has sacrificed time with other kids – even family, life experiences, and community events in the attempts to keep her well and the hemoptysis at bay. She has been given rules for what she can and can’t do and for how long. We have rated her days by number pukes and their consistency for months. The change we have prayed for is almost here.
Let me reiterate that – the change for which we have prayed is almost here. How could this be? Time has seemed to stand still for over a year, and now that we are in the home-stretch, I feel like it can’t get here soon enough, but is completely too close at the same time. Is it possible to be ready for something and also not prepared at the same time? That is where I am right now.
What will Reiss be able to do after this surgery? If it goes as planned, Reiss will be able to do many things you and I take for granted each day – take more than 5 steps without getting breathless, batting practice would equal more than two swings, be able to cry – whether that be from anger or pain – without gasping for air and puking, puke without your parents inspecting every bit of it for blood, play recreational sports in general, be around more people, go places, do things, live life.
Will this surgery be a cure for Reiss’ congenital heart defect (CHD)? Most definitely not. But it is a step in the right direction. She will have additional procedures as she grows and annual monitoring with a local cardiologist. What we need is more funding and research for medical advancements to prolong our CHD Warrior’s life, if not a cure for CHD in general.
Here is what she will be able to do after surgery, according to Reiss.
Thank you for the prayers and best wishes, the gifts of all kinds. They are all most appreciated.