By John and Stacie Ball
found out about 20 weeks into our pregnancy that Luke was going to be born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Luke was born in Oregon, but the hospitals
didn’t have advanced capabilities for heart transplants, so staying in Portland
wasn't really going to be a long-term option. We evaluated the top heart
centers across the U.S., and ultimately chose to relocate to Pittsburgh. Moving
here was based around the capability of Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
condition limited him significantly, and he wasn’t able to run or attend school
full-day. In fact, when playing t-ball, he had to be carried around the bases
because his oxygen levels would drop so quickly. Even playing the backyard with
his brothers was a challenge. These low oxygen levels caused occasional
seizures, and one of Luke’s seizures caused cardiac arrest, so we were rushed
to Children’s and put on the transplant list.
During our time in the hospital, the
Child Life department was amazing. The relationship they built with Luke was
very important, and they worked to help him endure the challenges in the
hospital. The nurses were top flight, phenomenal nurses. We can remember so
many of their names and their faces. They were so important during those months
in the hospital.
We finally got the call that there was a viable heart, and it
was such a rush of emotions. The transplant itself went very well. The surgeons
and teams in the cardiac intensive care unit controlled every moment that occurred during that night.
Their professionalism and steady hands gave us a level of comfort we
desperately needed. It is also very comforting to know that there are dedicated
teams to monitor and care for your child through the entire healing process,
and specifically their post-transplant team is one of the best in the world. We
never questioned that we had chosen the perfect hospital for Luke!
we are, over two years later, and it's amazing. He has fully recovered from his
stroke, seizures, numerous surgeries and his transplant. Luke is now
excelling in school, and plays baseball, basketball, soccer, and even flag
football. He finally can do all of the things that a normal 9-year-old boy
should be able to do. He can be the boy that he always wanted to be!