Most Americans will become caregivers at some point in their lives. Approximately 66% of family caregivers are women. The typical caregiver is married and employed, with children under the age of 18 at home. It's no surprise that many caregivers find themselves burning the candle at both ends, as they juggle work and parental responsibilities with their caregiving duties.
Cain, the youngest of 4, with an older brother and 2 sisters. We
couldnít be happier, until the day that our lives changed completely. On
November 10, 2011, I brought Cain, now 3 months, to see the
pediatrician because he had been very fuzzy that night. Dr. Papilla,
checked Cain thoroughly and gave him medication; and he listened to his heart longer than usual. He had heard a heart
murmur, something he had never heard before, and told me, I should get
it checked immediately just to rule out anything, but not to worry as it
may be just an innocent murmur.
On August 9, 2011, Cain was born a healthy baby boy (or so we thought). Our family was finally complete, Cain, the youngest of 4, with an older brother and 2 sisters. We couldnít be happier, until the day that our lives changed completely. On November 10, 2011, I brought Cain, now 3 months, to see the pediatrician because he had been very fuzzy that night. Dr. Papilla, checked Cain thoroughly and gave him medication; and he listened to his heart longer than usual. He had heard a heart murmur, something he had never heard before, and told me, I should get it checked immediately just to rule out anything, but not to worry as it may be just an innocent murmur.
We saw Dr. Amer Salhadar, a Cardiologist in Brownsville, TX where Cain had and EKG performed. The technician called Dr. Salhadar who realized that there may be something wrong with Cainís heart. He performed an ECHO of Cainís heart immediately, and we were told that Cain had a serious congenital heart defect and needed to have surgery immediately. We had to take him to Driscoll Childrenís Hospital in Corpus Christi, TX. Our hearts had just been torn out of us. A 2 hour trip seemed endless.
Upon arriving at Driscoll Childrenís Hospital, Cain was assessed and sent to PICU where further tests would be completed. The next day we found out that, tests confirmed that Cain has Double Outlet Right Ventricle with Dextracardia (the heart is on the right side) and his heart is also inverted on the right side; meaning, itís a mirror image of his heart, Transposition of the Great Arteries and a large VSD (big hole). The VSD is what helped Cain survive after birth as it allowed blood to travel in and out of the heart. Dr. Khan (Cardiologist at Driscoll) told us that Cain would need to undergo his 1st open heart surgery.
On November 17, 2011, Dr. Morales (Cardiothoracic Surgeon) placed a band on Cainís pulmonary valve (Cain did awesome with no complications). This needed to be done because Cain had a lot of blood going to his lungs which was putting a lot of stress on them, and this would help prepare Cainís lungs for his 2nd open heart surgery. Seeing our son, attached to the ventilator and many other tubes was heart wrenching. So young and our baby boy had already endured so much pain.
Many times, Iíve asked God, ďwhy him?Ē What I would do to take his place? On January 9th, 6th weeks later, Cain underwent a Bi-directional Gleen At Driscoll. Thanks to God and Dr. Morales, Cain's surgery was very successful and no complications occured. Again, to see him attached to so many tubes (ventilator and chest tubes) after his surgery is a feeling that is indescribable. Once again, Cain was resilient and 5 days later, we were going home. However, Cain still needs to see his cardiologist and surgeon regularly because he still needs his 3rd and hopefully final surgert between 2 1/2 to 3 years of age. In just 5 months, Cain had gone through more pain than the average person does in a lifetime.
When we tell people his story, they just canít believe it. Even Dr. Salhadar tells us, ďlook at him, itís like nothing is wrong with him.Ē However, we owe our lives to God for such a beautiful blessing. Today Cain, is almost 2 years old and he is amazing and perfect in every way. Our lives changed drastically for a reason. We have learned to live life one day at a time to the fullest. Our faith has never been stronger. Cain lives a normal life, we donít limit him in anything, and he plays indoor soccer and loves baseball and basketball. Our son was born with a special heart, which in turn, has changed our hearts, dramatically. My husband and I cherish our marriage, we try to be more understanding with our teenage kids, spend quality time with both sides of our immediate families and church and prayer have become something that we try to practice regularly. We know that we canít avoid Cainís last surgery; but until then, we will continue with our lives just how God has planned it out for us.
-Written by Melissa (Cain's Mom)