Masons Broken Heart

"My heart is broken, but my Dr. is going to fix it!"

One year and what an AMAZING day!

On December 17, 2014 we celebrated Mason’s one-year anniversary from his open heart surgery.  What a year it was!! It went by so quickly yet was so full of events, emotions, and lots and lots of love!!

From the day we got home from Mason’s surgery, Ben and I said that we wanted to give back in some way to CHOA.  We were so touched by all the staff and people there, and we knew we had to do something to say thank you.  We decided that we would collect toys throughout the year and on his one-year anniversary we would deliver them. We decided one week before that we would set up a “GoFundMe” account to raise money to help purchase a few more toys.  I set the goal at $500!  When I looked at the account 12 hours later, we had raised $1,200!!  By the end of the 8 days, we have raised $2,270!!!

We can’t thank everyone enough for donating!! It is truly amazing and heartwarming to see so many of our family and friends give to something that is so important to Mason and our family!!  In addition to the fund, Mason’s school also did a toy drive for his “fund”.  It was so nice to have them involved as well!!

So, what did we buy??  Well, we had to do the shopping in 4 trips because we couldn’t fit it all in the car!  We purchased over 250 items for the kids in the cardiac unit!!  We purchased exersaucers and bouncy seats for the babies, crib  mirrors, mobiles, and beautiful baby blankets for the cribs.  We purchased movies, video games, and iTunes gift cards!  And we purchased LOTS of toys and craft items!  It was amazing to experience this with Mason and Sydney and watch Mason be so willing to give to others.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

So, on Wednesday, we loaded up the car with toys, baby items and 150 cookies and drove down to Egelston.  Because it is flu and RSV season, Mason was not allowed to see any kids, but we were able to see a lot of nurses and staff. They took us to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit where Mason was to take pictures.  Ben and I were able to hold ourselves together until we turned the corner and saw the doors to the CICU.  It was such a strange feeling that came over me.  It was the same hallway we walked down the first time we were able to go back and see Mason.  After we delivered all the toys, we took Mason to see his cardiologist.  This is the Dr that found the hole in his heart!  We love him and it was nice to deliver some treats to him as well.

Overall, it was an amazing day.  It was so nice to be at the hospital with a healthy child!  Thank you again to all of those who donated.  It means the world to us that you would be so giving to our little boy!!  Thank you and thank you ALL for the support this last year.  God Bless you all and a very Merry Christmas to each of you!!!

Here are some pictures to show the days leading up to the toy delivery!

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Nearing ONE year!!

One year ago today, I was counting down the days until Masons surgery. Going back and reading what I wrote brings back so many emotions. I can still feel that pit in my stomach that I had for weeks leading up to “the day”. But I also feel so much happiness when I look at Mason today. He is full of life with a strong heart that allows him to be the little boy that we love!!

(Here is his one week countdown post for those who started following his story late! https://masonsbrokenheart.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/wow-one-week-to-go/?preview=true&preview_id=29&preview_nonce=746b5de6af)

So, in honor of his ONE YEAR surgery date on Dec 17th, we will be visiting CHOA at Egleston to deliver some gifts and take some treats to all the nursing staff in the cardiac unit. Anyone who has ever had a child admitted to Children’s knows just how wonderful this hospital and staff are.

I know this is such short notice, but if anyone feels compelled to donate – please send me a message!! All the toys that we deliver next week will be used as Christmas gifts, birthday gifts or be used in the playrooms.

What do they need?
All toys have to be NEW. They are also in need of bright colorful baby blankets. They like to put bright blankets in the cribs to bring some normalcy to a white room!! They also need baby mobiles for the cribs too (plastic requested – nothing with fabric on it). They always need toys for the playroom for all ages!

So, how can you donate??
If you live in Atlanta, I am happy to meet you and pick up any toy or donation.
If you are out of state, you can order something online and have it mailed to my house.
Or, I have set up a GoFundMe account with a goal of raising $500 to purchase things for the Cardiac Unit. gofundme.com/illc00

Again, I know this is short notice. However, some of you may feel compelled to help in some way and we would REALLY appreciate it!!

Below are some pics of our babies – Mason almost 1 year post surgery!

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Thank you for all your support. I hope everyone is having a wonderful December with their families!
~Mama Lynsi

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9 month Checkup

It’s hard to believe that it is already September AND it has been 9 months since Masons open heart surgery. We continue to be amazed at Masons amazing recovery. He is doing wonderful and acts like a typical 3 1/2 year old!!! He has not been on any antibiotics or done a single breathing treatment since surgery. This is still shocking to us since we were doing both of these things almost monthly! He is so strong and makes me one proud mama!!

On to the update- today was his 9 month check up with the cardiologist. He does so well there and always gets complimented on his behavior. By the time we leave there, he has charmed every nurse and earned lots of stickers and candy!!! He is quite the charmer with those big brown eyes!

Things are looking okay. During the EKG it showed that Mas now has a “low right atrial rhythm.” A normal heart beat beats in the high right atrium. A “low atrial rhythm” means that your heart is beating from the lower (rather than upper) portion of your left atrium.This raises a little bit of concern because he didn’t have this at his last appt. However, it is nothing to worry about as of right now. He will just monitor it, and we can only pray that it will not have to be fixed. The echo looked good and the Dr was happy to report that the pulmonary vein is not as constricted as last time, which is a good thing! We will go again in one year to check again. Thank you for the prayers! And please continue to pray for my sweet boy!

And of course here are some pics of the Superhero!

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6 months

It is hard to believe that Mason’s surgery was 6 months ago today! At times, it seems like yesterday and other times it feels like a lifetime ago! I am beyond thrilled to report that our Superhero Mason is doing wonderful!! As I have said before, Mason was constantly sick. He was on antibiotics for upper respiratory issues at least every other month. He was also on a nebulizer and had an inhaler as well. However, since his surgery, he has not been on any medication and has not had to do a single breathing treatment! It is amazing!! He has been sick one time since surgery and was able to recover very quickly! Other than his “line” down the center of his chest, you would never know what this sweet boy as gone through.

We should see the cardiologist in the next month or so and will update soon. Thanks for sharing this journey with us. God has blessed our family with this amazing little boy!

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A strong heart!

Just wanted to give a quick update- both kids home and dinner needs to be made!!– We had our 2 month follow up with the cardiologist today. Mason’s heart looks very strong and there is no fluid build up. He is slightly concerned about his pulmonary vein. During the surgery, the vein had to be rerouted to the correct location. The vein is now more constricted than the other veins but said that this can happen with open heart surgeries. He will just have to monitor it closely. Our follow up is in 6 months. But overall, he is very happy with his progress. Thank you again for praying for us. We are blessed to have so much support. Hopefully only happy posts between now and his next check up!

A few pics of my sweet boy!

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Prayers please!

Hi there! I just wanted to ask for Mason to be added to your prayer list! We have our 2 month echo with the cardiologist tomorrow to check for fluid around his heart. Please pray that everything looks good and is healing correctly!!

He is doing wonderful and is a typical 3 year old little boy – full of energy and funny things to say! He keeps us laughing, that is for sure! Below are a few pics of our superhero! I will post an update tomorrow. But, I appreciate any prayers for my sweet boy!

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Love,
Mama Lynsi

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Our Superhero’s Birthday!

On January 19th our little heart warrior turned 3 years old. I could not think of a better way to celebrate MY hero than with his own Superhero party! It was just family, but it was an extra special day!! A few photos below:

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Mason has been doing so wonderful since our last post. We honestly believe that he has more energy now than he has had his entire life. It is sad for me to think that he was not his true self up until now. He often seemed tired and was sick ALL OF THE TIME! There were multiple times I would say to his Dr “This can’t be right. No kid gets sick this much.” But we always blamed it on his asthma and his breathing issues. Now looking back, we have realized that he was sick and tired because his heart and lungs were having to work so hard just to keep him going. Just 1 week after his surgery, his right ventricle was almost back to normal size. It was extremely inflammed before the surgery because blood was being pumped back into it. But now, it is back to normal! It is truly eye-opening to see the miraculous recovery he has had. God is good and has answered so many of our prayers and those of others!

We go for our next echo in about 4 weeks. I will post again once that is complete. They will monitor his heart for the next few months to ensure no fluid is building up.

I will leave you with the amazing morning we had! Today Mason started back to school and his amazing teachers and staff were at the front door waiting for us when we arrived. They all had their “I Love Mason” shirts on. It was amazing and my mascara was running before 8:30 am!! You would never know that it could feel so overwhelming to feel so loved! My baby boy is loved by so many and I am so proud to be his mommy. He has a smile that will light up a room and his personality is even sweeter! I love you, Mason Dean, and Happiest of Birthdays to you!

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I read this qoute the other day and I think it is so fitting for my sweet boy: Children with CHD (congenital heart defects) inspire courage and remind us that even ‘defective’ hearts are capable of creating the most perfect love and the miracle of hope.

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Recovery

Hi there! We are so sorry it has taken us so long to post an update. We were given the green light to go home and we have been so busy since! It is hard to believe that the surgery was just 12 days ago. Ben and I were talking tonight, and it seems like months ago! Mason is doing wonderful! When we got home, he did have some pain, but as long as we stayed on top of his pain medications, he did really well. We were taught how to pick him up, wash him, etc so he was very good about letting us do things a little differently. He was on some strong pain medicines for the first 3-4 days that we were home, but soon transitioned to tylenol, and as of today, has not had any pain meds in 2 days. It is pretty remarkable to see how quickly his body is recovering. Anyone out there who has had surgery, c-section, etc knows how badly your incision itches. There were some days that he scratched and scratched. But we are now able to put some lotion around the incision, so that seems to be helping him. He still cries every time it is bath time because he knows we have to wash his incision. Usually that type of thing does not bother me, but Daddy has had to take over this job. For some reason, I can not wash the inciison. It makes my toes curl to do it! He is still very uncomfortable when we touch it or if he accidentally bumps it.

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We have just been overwhelmed by all the love that we have recieved. We have been sent toys, movies, gifts, meals, and lots of cards for our sweet boy. We also received a very special visitor!! The last few years, we have worked with a wonderful organization called Kingdom Kids. They grant wishes and help children going through challenging circumstances. Each year, we help organize Lily’s Run with Kingdom Kids and we have become good friends with the founders of the organization. So, they called and said that a special visitor was coming by to see Mason. A few minutes later, Santa Claus walked into our house along with these special people with their arms full of gifts for our family. Mason was mesmerized by Santa and was so exicted. There are no words to explain what this meant to the both of us. I never dreamed that anyone would do something so amazing for our family. We can’t thank Kingdom Kids enough for this wonderful experience.

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We had a wonderful Christmas at home. I was so worried that we would still be in the hospital for Christmas or that Mason would be in too much pain to really enjoy the day. However, he was happy and healthy and was able to play with his new toys. There was nothing more I wanted for Christmas than to have my family together on that day! We were surrounded by our family and we were able to see Mason’s cousins who are his FAVORITE two little girls in the world!! We have had to keep him away from kids because of germs, so he was very excited to see them.

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We had our follow up appointment yesterday with the cardiologist. They did another echo to make sure that fluid was not collecting around his heart. So far, everything is looking good. He is healing very well and there are no signs of fluid. We will go back in two months for them to scan him again. I think they will monitor him pretty closely the next few months, and then we can go less frequently.

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I lay in bed each night and thank God over and over and over for such a miraculous recovery. It is hard to believe that Mason had open heart surgery and was home 48 hours later. Most kids stay 4-5 days in the hospital, but our determined boy had other plans!! We are beyond blessed to have such an amazing hospital just 40 minutes away with a staff that is so caring and wonderful. This experience was life changing for all of us. I have never felt so loved and felt prayers like I have the last few weeks. We received gifts from people that we had never even met. There were days that I could not keep up with the FB posts, text messages, etc. It was so heart warming to see that. Thank you to each and every one of you who prayed for us, helped us, or sent sweet messages. A special thank you to our family who helped us with Mason, took care of Sydney, and was a shoulder to cry on through all of this. And an extra special thank you to Ben. He was our rock through all of this. He held it together when necessary and could not have been more supportive to me and our babies. As most of you know, he is an amazing person and an even more amazing Daddy!!

Thank you all! I will continue to post updates as they monitor Mason’s healing. Again, thank you all for the support through this journey. As one of our closest friends said… we now need to change our blog title to “Mason’s Mended Heart”!! I couldn’t agree more!

Before & After:

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Reunited!

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Home Sweet Home

Quick post- we are home and enjoying being with all four of us! Mason is currently sleeping and we are soaking up our time with Baby Sydney!! We will write more later, but wanted to let everyone know we are home and mason is doing fantastic!! It truly is amazing to see how fast he has recovered from major, major surgery!!!

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