Saturday, November 21, 2009

20th Fontanniversary!!!

Today, 20 years ago…

My parents handed me over to the doctors for my second and riskiest open heart surgery, the Fontan Procedure. It had only been a month before during a heart catherization that I developed a blood clot in my right leg and scared my parents, now it was one of the biggest days for them and for me. The Fontan was a surgery that was only about 10yrs old, still a fairly new operation. This surgery was either going save my life, take my life, or have my parents looking for other options and my parents knew that all too well. A 50/50 chance is what the doctors bluntly told my parents, but my parents hung onto to positive 50%.


My parents had a lot of faith in the doctors and God that I would come out ok. God had his plans, he wanted me to live. I’m happy to say that I was one of the fastest Fontan recoveries the hospital had seen back in the 80s, only one month in the hospital. It's an even faster recovery today; technology is awesome. As far as complications that I had from this surgery, other than me pulling out a chest tube (then them having to put it back in while my parents held me down as they didn’t have a enough nurses around at the time) and me being on a special diet, I didn't have any. Thanks to the founders of the Fontan Procedure, the doctors, my parents, and God I’m here today. The Fontan Procedure continues to save the lives of SO many CHDers… I’m also internally grateful for Mr. Fontan and his collegues for working hard to develop such a life saving surgery.


I do have two small stories that my parents shared with me about my time at the hospital recovering from my Fontan:

My dad tells me that a week or two after surgery I had to start walking again to get the blood flowing and prevent blood clots. My mom didn’t want to do it as she couldn’t stand me in pain. My dad took the job. A nurse along with my dad would take me into the hallway and give me a walker. Then, my dad would hold my blanket in front of me. My dad would tell me to come get it and I would cry and take a few steps. Every time I’d get close to my blanket, my dad would pull it back. My dad said it was heartbreaking to see me so unhappy and in pain, but it had to be done. He knew for my own good and health I had to walk again.

My mom tells me about how I was put on a medium chain triglyceride diet. It was hard as I loved cookies and it was not allowed on that diet. Well, one day while my mom was sitting next to my hospital bed, I keep asking for a cookie. My mom’s heart broke. That night when she went home to be with my older brother and my dad stayed the night with me in the hospital my mom was determined to make me cookies. She bought medium-chain triglyceride oil and found a recipe. The cookies came out hard as a rock and tasted nasty.. So, she put a whole bottle of cinnamon in the mix the next time around. They were better, but still hard as a rock. My mom got the idea to wet a paper towel and wrap it around the cookie and heat it in the microwave. This made the cookie soft for a few minutes. When she got back to the hospital to see me, she heated one up and gave it to me. I took one bite then held it and smiled. My mom said I never took another bite, but held that cookie for dear life. She says the smile on my face was priceless and was worth every minute of trying to make me those cookies.

I was discharged from the hospital four days before Christmas in 1989. My family had every reason to celebrate. I did too! I got out my mom’s lotion the day I got home and went to town putting it all over myself. I was happy and alive. What more could my parents and family want?

My older Brother and Me on Dec. 25th, 1989... just 4 days from coming home from the hospital

Today I have been thankful and also thinking of the ones who never made it and those still fighting. They remind me of why I have to spread CHD awareness. They remind me to ALWAYS have Hope~Love~Faith!!! So… Here I am, 20yrs later and ever so happy to be here. I'm very blessed in so many ways. I have two amazing parents who have done SO SO much for me over the years to bring me to this point in my life, the fought so hard to get me here healthy and happy. For that I will always be internally grateful to my parents, I love them so VERY much!!! (You can see pics of me with my amazing parents on my left side bar).


Me with my very loving and amazing boyfriend, Chris

“Thank You” ALL so VERY much for ALL the wonderful messages, e-mails, and much heard prayers!!! You guys really are amazing and are like my second family!!!
I continue to pray for SO many!!! Sending LOTS of WARM **Heart Hugs** to ALL of you!!!
May God Bless, Guide, and Comfort you on your journey!!!

With LOTS of Hope, Love, and Faith,


  1. You'll never know what it means to a parent of a child with an uncertain future to see a child just like theirs alive, happy, and healthy 20 full years after the same surgery their child will some day face. I pray everyday that my Sam gets to have a 20th fontanniversary (and many many more)!!!

  2. What an amazing post Lauren. You always give all fo su parenst hope that they will have a 20th+ anniversary too!

    Stef, Ryan, Wyatt and Logan

  3. Have a wonderful fontanniversary! I am so happy every time you post. You bring so much hope, joy, and happiness to all of us heart moms (and dads too). Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and enjoy your day...hoping you are doing something really special!

  4. Happy Fontanniversary! Your life continues to be an inspiration for Casey, who will celebrate his 1-year Fontanniversary in 2 weeks!

  5. Thank you for such a wonderful post and Happy Fontanniversary! I appreciate your posts! Each one is full of inspiration for all the families going through their CHD journey right now! It certainly is a great day to celebrate!
    Sundie & Sydnie