Start time

Surgery started at 8:45.


Tomorrow’s Heart Surgery

We have to leave for the hospital at 5 a.m., needing to be at Emory at 5:30. It should be 5:30-7 a.m. for prepping & anesthesia; should get into the operating room at 7 a.m.  The operation is expected to take 8-10 hours and is complicated. Dr. Keoghan walked us through the steps, 

1.  Get me on the heart/lung machine, make an incision in my femoral artery to get to the blood vessels at the bottom of the heart, and stop my heart.

2.  Take down my existing blood flow “Fontan” procedure.

3.  Recreate a standard blood flow; working on the superior vena cava to circulate blood to the top half of the body; the inferior vena cava to circulate blood to the lungs.

4.  Open the atrium wall between the right & left atrium chambers, removing the atrial septum – making the top 2 chambers into 1 big chamber.

5.  Replace the mitral valve with a mechanical valve.

6.  Shrink the right atrium.

7. Maze procedure to correct the rhythm problem – install a pacemaker underneath the heart.

So…this is not your grandma’s heart surgery.  It amazes me that anyone can take a look at human anatomy & not believe in God.   


What did you do today? I got up bright and early and had an MRI, then had pre-op. We saw a bunch of different doctors and nurses who asked a bunch of questions.

They reviewed the MRI, and they now find no evidence of a liver mass. The docs suspect that it was a pool of blood mistaken for a mass on the last MRI, because they did the last MRI after a biopsy.

Joel suggested that we celebrate this good new with tacos, since the doctor said "no mas."

Things I Used to Worry About


Getting the best deal on groceries

Barney’s exercise schedule

Car cleanliness / squashed cheerioes on the floor

Attending all Sunday services AND exercising in the afternoon

Dog hair on the floor

Dog hair on my shirt

How fat my stomach is

How many calories I eat

If someone is mad at me


Others’ opinions of my child’s obedience

Pre-Pre Op Night

So it’s Sunday night & we have made it to Atlanta for pre-op and heart surgery.  Sometimes I can’t really believe my life has gotten to this place, especially having 2 young children.  I can’t remember what it’s like to have a “normal” life.

Joel & I are here after having tell our kids we love them more than they know, to be good & obey Ya-Ya, Katherine & Mandy.  We spent the morning with them, getting packed, moving them upstairs, and lots of playing. Jack is getting faster, with less attention span since he can walk now.  Chloe is exploding with learning and debating whether she wants to be a big girl & do it herself, or if she needs help.

Joel is still keeping me laughing. I asked him to get a coke from the gas station; he returns with a 12 pack of coke.

Tomorrow is pre-op. We have an MRI scheduled for 7 a.m., meet with the surgeon at 10:30, and x-rays, blood work, EKG, meet with anesthesiologist, and probably something else we don’t know.  We are hoping to have the afternoon free, but we have also learned that we don’t really have any control. (Another therapy issue). 

January 4th, or four days before Joel’s birthday

We went to Atlanta today for a second biopsy of Stephanie’s liver.  As you probably know, during her previous biopsy and MRI’s, a mass was found on Stephanie’s liver.  At last update they did not think it was malignant, but they wanted to do a second biopsy just to make sure.

Today’s biopsy was more intensive than the last one, and Stephanie did well (other than a severe case of nerves the night before).  Preliminary results are very promising, and we will have the pathologist’s report back tomorrow.  At this point the cardiology team felt confident enough to schedule the surgery for January 12th (next Tuesday).

We will need to be at Emory next Monday for pre-op, and the surgery will be on Tuesday.  For the first 3-4 days, Stephanie will be in the surgical ICU, so during that time, visitors will be limited to just immediate family.  Due to the H1N1 flu, no children under 18th are allowed to visit patients in the hospital.  This is partially for their protection, as H1N1 cases have been pretty heavy at the hospital.  This is going to be hard for Stephanie, as she won’t be able to see Jack or Chloe during her hospital stay, but thank God for Skype and wifi.

The doctor is expecting it to be very intensive in the short term, and said that we should expect there to be complications and blood transfusions, but feels that the recovery prognosis is very good.

Things to pray for:

  • People who have open heart surgery typically suffer from strong anxiety and depression for 2-3 months afterwards, but then it gets better. 
  • Coordination of child care, especially during the surgery time