Tuesday, March 18, 2008

History for first-time visitors

“For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.”
-Psalm 57:10
“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all-
how will He not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
-Romans 8:32

The above 2 verses truly exemplify our journey with Luke's heart condition. Luke's diagnosis, his birth and life has grown us, stretched us, kept us on our knees and brought us closer to our good God.

Lukas Scott Smith was born on January 9, 2007 at 12:14 pm and has been our greatest gift every moment since. Through Luke, we have seen God’s faithfulness with new eyes and his generosity with new hearts. God does not promise to give us “all things” we want, but he does give us “all things” we need. More than any other time in our lives, Roger and I relied upon this promise and saw its fulfillment time and time again. When it was peace we needed, peace we graciously received. When it was strength we needed to face the unknown, strength we graciously received. When it was faith we needed to trust God’s plan, faith we graciously received. We are singing God’s praises as we reflect on His goodness to us.

Luke was born with a congenital heart defect, diagnosed at 20 weeks in utero with one ventricle instead of two. We knew even before he was born that he would face three open-heart surgeries. As of August 2007, Luke has successfully come through two of his three heart surgeries (plus a diaphragm surgery). 1 year old and two open-heart surgeries under his belt. No wonder we call him our little champion!

The morning of February 15th Luke underwent his first surgery, where our wonderful and renowned surgeon, Dr. Cohen, placed a pulmonary artery band on Luke to restrict the amount of blood flow to his lungs. Luke’s biggest struggle post-surgery and for the following three months was to put on weight. Before we left Children’s Hospital in March, Luke had a Nasal-Gastro (NG) feeding tube put in to help with his weight gain. We began feeding him through the night through his tube and slowly but surely began to see his weight creep upwards. We were blessed with a wonderful dietician at Mary Bridge who continues to help Luke pack on the pounds! At five months old, we removed the NG feeding tube and Luke has gained weight steadily since.

Late spring and summer was a wonderful time for the Smith family, as we felt more comfortable taking Luke out and about. At this point in between surgeries 1 and 2, it was important that we keep Luke as healthy as possible. He got to visit NBC camps and see his Daddy at his best, he played in his kiddie pool on our deck and even went swimming in a real pool in July. Even the simplest things like taking Luke to church and to dinner in a restaurant felt like such a gift.

We headed up to Children’s for Luke’s second surgery, the bi-directional Glenn and the Damus-Kaye-Stansel on August 13. This operation was again done by Dr. Cohen and went very well. This was a much bigger operation than the first, so Luke stayed in the Cardiac ICU for 8 days before moving to the surgical floor for another few weeks of recovery. I can’t call this post complete without sharing how much we love Children’s Hospital. The facility and the staff are truly second to none.

We came home on September 6, just in time for the Puyallup Fair! Roger was able to start school on time and we treasured being back in our own home. The fall season found us going for runs, picking out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, eating solid food, spending time with all his grandmas and grandpas and of course hunting for the perfect Christmas tree.

I would need a book to capture all the blessings of this past year, but I thought I’d share a few particular ones to close ...

  • Dr. Stefanelli (Luke’s pediatric cardiologist) and the Northwest Children’s Heart Center family. We couldn’t have a better team on our side.
  • The countless prayers said on behalf of the Smith family.
  • The joy of knowing that Luke is God’s perfect creation; that God’s plan for him is bigger than we can dream.
  • Our family and friends that have selflessly supported us in numerous ways.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Praise The Lord! I have prayed and hoped to find another family going through all that we have been going through and I stumbled upon your page. We have a great relatively new organization in SC called Palmetto Hearts. While exploring a link from there, I saw "Single Ventrical".

    Our adopted son was diagnosed in his first week with LSV, TGA, PS and has also had 2 surgeries. Until the day after he was born, we had no idea. Anyway, I have always wanted another family with which to "compare notes".

    When I have more time, I will explore your page more (I am in grad school right now, so my recreational reading time is very limited. :O(

    Thank you for putting your page out there to share!I am looking forward to "talking" to you in the future.

    God's blessings,
    Pam Owens
    Spartanburg, SC