Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Archive for April 17th, 2011


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Lorie needs a new heart. And the wait – nine months now – no doubt feels like forever to her.

I’ve known Lorie for six years. I along, with three others, am part of her Saugeen Afternoon Writer’s Group. We meet (every two weeks normally) to share and honestly critique each other’s work.

Lori has a novel in progress. It’s really her story. Fictionalized reality.  All about a young girl who falls into a fantastical dream world after her first operation for complex congenital heart defect. Lori is a strong, determined, brave woman. She is a mother, once a teacher, an entrepreneur along with her husband, and a survivor who refuses to give up on life. She soldiers on carrying more than her share of an unbearable burden without complaint. And, I admire her greatly.

The other day she sent this email to her friends:

“I have been wanting to blog now for quite some time, and now that I am finally beginning, I have to admit, that I am starting in a less than authentic fashion. I decided it was time to ‘put myself out there’ after a young pregnant woman confided that her unborn baby is suspected of having a congenital heart defect, CHD for all future references. Since my techno-whiz husband, is determined to set up my blog on our ‘new improved server’  – sometime next week – I have decided in the meantime to ‘blog’ to friends and family in my address book who may be interested in hearing what I have to say…As a Fontan patient, (Fontan being ‘a palliative surgical procedure used in children with complex congenital heart defects’ (April 2011, Wikipedia) and mother of cardiac congenital kids, I completely understand the world of cardiac medicine. That is at least from a patient and mother’s perspective. Let’s face it the patient is the central component of medicine, and the reason why I have chosen to blog my thoughts in the first place. Cardiac defects affect a huge number of births annually. The Heart and Lung Association report that 1 in 100 babies are born with cardiac birth defects each year in Canada. That means 1% of all babies born will have some form of heart disease! When I was born, only 10% of the children with my condition survived. In a 2010 interview with Dr. Erwin Oechslin, Head of Adult Congenital at Toronto General Hospital, Dr. Oechslin noted the survival rate to be closer to 90% at that time. I told her, CHD is difficult to get your mind around, but it is not the end of the world. I am living proof.”

A Prayer for my Daughter

Lorie’s mother has started a prayer circle. Her reason is simply expressed in these, her own words:

“…Lorie…is generally doing quite well.  However, with a failing heart which also affects major organs, this is a day-to-day waiting game.  This message is the start of a prayer circle for her and my request is for you to remember Lorie in your prayers. Recently her transplant team, because of the decline in her condition, thought it would be necessary to admit her to Toronto General Hospital until a heart is available for her. This could take months or even up to a couple of years.   Fortunately for now, in typical Lorie fighting form, she has rallied again and they have decided that the best place for her recovery is at home as long as they can manage the delicate balances of her body from a distance.   We are hoping that Lorie can enjoy a lovely summer with her family and friends but can only be hopefully optimistic. For anyone who may be uncomfortable with the concept of prayer, I want to emphasize that this doesn’t have to be a religious act, but simply an act of love.  It has been proven in hospital research that prayer does make a difference in the recovery of patients and there is truly strength in numbers. I pray daily for a healthy viable heart for Lorie and for it to come soon. I pray for a safe and complete recovery, for her wonderful teams of doctors, nurses, surgeons and fellows, and for her family.  She is in the hands of the best medical team imaginable and I am grateful beyond words for their kind and loving support…please feel free to forward this request to anyone you know who would be willing to join our circle. Together we will help Lorie to a new life.”

I don’t think Lori and her family is looking for sympathy. They are the kind of people that thrive on positive reinforcement. This page then is for Lori, for those that wait with her.  And for awareness of CHD.

When Lori’s Blog is up and running I’ll post her link on this site. Until then I decided to make my Blog hers this one time.