Michael Dean was born in October 2012 with Pulmonary Atresia, Transposition of the Great Arteries and an extremely large VSD (a hole so large it cannot be repaired). We found out about Michael’s heart at my 20 week sonogram. The news was beyond devastating and left us scared to say the least. Many times we heard terminate, something you simply never want to hear, or even think conceivable, as a parent. We decided to get a second opinion and did extensive research to give our son the best chance at life. Our search led us to NYP and after meeting with the surgeon and cardiologist, we absolutely knew Michael would be in the best possible care.
Michael had open heart surgery at five days old and recovered in the hospital through Hurricane Sandy. We have never gone through something so heart wrenching and scary, but we had hope and faith and the support of our family. That along with the incredible surgeon, team of doctors and nurses that treated our son like their own.
Michael has gone on to have two cardiac catheterizations, needing a stent placed in one of his arteries. He then had his second OHS with the Bidirectional Glenn at six months and was out of the hospital in less than a week. Since then Michael has had multiple cardiology appointments with echoes and EKGs, ‘passing’ with flying colors. Our Cardiologist, Dr. Carroll, is absolutely incredible and we’ve been making that trek into the city for all of Michael’s appointments and surgeries. Michael has proven to be one of the strongest kids we know. He certainly lives up to his name, Mighty Mike!
Although Michael has been doing incredibly well and appears to be a healthy kid, he will need to have his third open heart surgery this summer (the Fontan) to complete his single ventricle heart. His surgery will be performed by Dr. Bacha, a miracle worker that has performed countless surgeries, many on CHD children we have grown to know and love. Michael has a cardiac cath scheduled for this May in order for the surgeon to determine just how he’ll perform the surgery and exactly when. For now we try to just enjoy every second watching him grow into this amazing, loving, insanely active boy.
We’re looking forward to continuing to spread CHD awareness and encourage others to do the same. We have met some remarkable heart heroes that have touched our lives forever. These kids have been through more than most adults will go through in a lifetime. Despite the surgeries, caths, constant doctors visits, echoes and EKGs they are born with this incredible fight to live and to make sure they live life to its fullest. Our Mighty Mike will need a heart transplant in his 30s, something we are hopeful will change with technology and research. It’s also a constant reminder that his heart will not be fixed, there currently is no cure and this is something he will have to live with the rest of his life. I dread the day he fully understands what his ‘special heart’ means, but at the same time I know he will take that and do what he was destined to do…spread CHD awareness and touch the lives of all those around him. No matter what his obstacle is, we know Michael will fight with all his heart.