Journey to China

This blog documents the Spitlers' progress towards the adoption of Xia Ping He (Noah Spitler) from the PR China. It also documents Noah's medical process in pursuit of a total repair to his CHD (congenital heart defect).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Noah's Doctors Visits

Hello Everybody,

I'd like to give you an update on Noah's health, but before I do - I'd just like to thank everybody (again) for all the prayers and well-wishes. As we go to work, to the girls' school, to church, even to Wal-Mart; we run into people who are reading the blog and praying for Noah. "Thanks" is an insufficient word for our gratitude. In return, all I can wish and pray for you is that God will bless you for your grace towards us.

James 1:27 says: "Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

Thanks again for helping us follow this instruction.

Okay - the doctors visits. Noah did well at both doctors offices. First, Robin took Noah to our pediatrician, who examined him and referred him to a pediatric cardiologist (as planned). Noah had to get 3 shots in the leg, but Robin said he was very brave. We also learned that his weight had decreased yet another 3 lbs from that in China - so we offer him food all day long. He has a scar on his left arm which is the result of a kitchen water burn he sustained around 3 years old. We aren't sure if he'll need treatment for that - but if so, it's certainly secondary to his heart.

Speaking of heart; we took him the following week to Dr. Blake Long, a pediatric cardiologist in Savannah. As we entered the office, Noah quickly asked me (in Chinese) if he were going to get another shot! His demeanor quickly calmed when I reassured him he would not get a shot today. Instead, he got an EKG, his blood pressure taken at all four extremities, then an echocardiogram - using an ultrasound machine. The nurse/technician running the ultrasound was very efficient at getting the pictures she wanted, but then began to pause and say, "Mmmmh" and "Wow". Robin and I nervously said, "Is that a 'good wow' or a 'bad wow'?" and even Noah started repeating "wow". "Well," she said, "I can't seem to find this little boy's pulmonary artery!" Then after a few more minutes and a few more "oh wow's", she said, "That's it - we're all done!".

Doctor Long then met with us and listened to Noah's heart for a long while. He showed us a pamphlet depicting a normal heart as well as"typical heart problems." Then he said, "What Noah has is really an extreme form of this one (tetralogy of Fallot)- and I don't really have a picture of what he has." So - what Noah has is very close to what the Chinese doctors guessed he had:

1) VSD (ventricular septal defect) - hole in the middle of his heart between the left and right sides. "Red blood" and "Blue blood" mix together and the heart is not as efficient.

2) PA (pulmonary atresia) - he was born with NO pulmonary artery. Quite amazing...

3) MAPCAs (major aortopulmonary collateral arteries) - these are small blood vessels that fetus' and newborns have to assist with blood flow. But - normally, shortly after birth, they go away. Since Noah is missing his pulmonary arteries, these have continued to provide blood flow from the heart to his lungs. So - yes, it's quite a miracle that Noah is alive - and even until this age. My search on the web reports that many with this condition do not live past 10 yrs old.

I don't have time to spell out the options that Doctor Long described. (He did a wonderful job explaining it - wow - and I didn't even pass out...a miracle in itself!) The next step, he said, was to get a heart catheterization - which will mean a 2 day trip to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) - better known as Emory University/Egleston. This "heart cath" will allow the doctors to "map" Noah's blood flow and determine what (if any) surgery can be done to correct his defect.

We hope to hear from CHOA this week, to set up Noah's appointment. Please pray that we'll get an appointment quickly, as it sounds like the older Noah gets, the more limited his options are.



Blogger Sled Dawgs said...

I am praying right now that you all are able to get into the Doctors quickly and that God will heal Noah's heart. Thanks for the blog and allowing us so far away to feel like we are sharing in this journey with you even if it is just through prayer.

August 18, 2010 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Jennifer O'Cain said...

Robin and family,

Thank you so much for sharing your difficult journey, I know it is hard. I am praying for God to heal Noah and to give you all the strength to get through all the medical procedures you face.

Hope everything else is going well.


August 19, 2010 at 10:14 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home