Update – 3/25/2007

Hannah’s cardiologist called on Friday with the Holter Monitor results.  Her heart rate was tachycardic four times for a total of 53 minutes.  The highest her heart rate climbed was 218 — a lot better than 280, but still too high for comfort.  He has increased her dosage of Propranolol (a beta-blocker that lowers your heart rate and helps regulate arrhythmic issues), and he wants to repeat the test on Tuesday.  He said that if she didn’t have the underlying issue of Dilated Cardiomyopathy, he wouldn’t have an issue with these results; but he doesn’t want anything to stand in the way of her ventricular function improving, and an extremely high heart rate could do just that.

There’s a very fine balance that he’s trying to achieve with her medications — he wants to keep the heart rate under control and at a normal speed, but doesn’t want it to be TOO low.  Please continue to pray for Hannah’s doctors and nurses, that He would give them the wisdom they need to treat her in the best way possible.

Also, please keep Brian and Kimen Hess in your prayers.  Brian has been in a coma for several months after a very bad car accident.  Pray that God would give them strength and grace to deal with every situation they face, and that He would touch Brian and completely restore him.

Brea Wusterbarth is still in Little Rock waiting a heart transplant (she also has Dilated Cardiomyopathy).  She had the Berlin Heart put in this week and is doing very well.  (The Berlin Heart is a ventricular assist device (VAD) that assists the heart in pumping blood throughout the body).  She will remain on the Berlin Heart until a heart becomes available for transplantation.  Please keep them in your prayers — pray that no infection would come upon little Brea while she’s on the Berlin Heart.  Pray that God would either touch her heart and completely heal it, or that she would receive the perfect heart for transplantation.

Update – 3/22/2007

We took Hannah to her cardiologist this morning for her follow-up appointment. We were glad to see that her weight was 14 pounds, 3 ounces. This means that she did not lose much while in the hospital! Her ultrasound showed that her shortening fraction is still holding out at 15%. We are hoping that it will continue to improve as her SVT is kept under control by the medications. We’d like to see it in the upper teens. Hannah has to wear a Holter Monitor for 24 hours. We started this morning and will take it off tomorrow around lunch time. It basically takes a 24-hour EKG. Her cardiologist is hoping to see very few rhythm disturbances, especially while sleeping. So please pray specifically for this. We are so thankful that Hannah has been feeling good all week. She is eating well, sleeping at night, and so happy during the day. Our biggest challenge right now is giving her all the medications. She is learning new ways to refuse them and has quite a lot of willpower. We just pray, pray, pray that she gets all that she needs. We are still believing that one day she won’t have to take them anymore! This bump in the road is not stealing our faith that she will be totally healed.

3/19/2007 – Home again!

We are home!!!!!! Hannah was discharged from ICU early this afternoon. They let us go straight home without even moving out to the regular pediatric floor. What a blessing! They did another EKG this morning and the cardiologist said he was very pleased with everything he saw. I think the worst part of the whole hospital stay was when the nurse removed the dressing from her IV. Hannah did NOT like having all that tape removed from her head and she let everybody know. Poor baby! We will be giving Hannah 6 medications now, and most of the doses were increased. It is definitely a challenge to get her to take all that medicine, but we tell her how blessed we are that that’s all we have to do. No surgeries, no medical procedures, no injections, just syringes full of meds. This Thursday we will receive her heart monitor at our check-up with her cardiologist. That should be interesting getting her to wear that device all day long. But again, we are so thankful we can do that in the comfort of our own home.

God is so faithful. Friday was definitely a terrifying day, but the reality is that it just makes the miracle that much more amazing. Doctors and nurses were astonished that her heart rate was so high. One said that she’d never seen such a high heart rate. Another said that her rhythm was very unusual, unlike all the common arrythmias they’ve seen. Yet she continues to play and laugh, and even started trying to crawl today. Hannah is the toughest little cookie we know! God is still in control, and we give Him all the glory for getting us through this bump in the road. He saw it coming and prepared the way for Hannah to get the care she needed at exactly the right moment.

Please continue to pray for little Brea at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the 20 month old still battling cardiomyopathy. There is a possibility that she will have open heart surgery this week. They are considering putting in the Berlin Heart to hold her over until she receives a transplant. Also pray that health insurance and financial matters will be sorted out.

Thank you so much for praying us through this second hospital experience. Your prayers strengthen us and increase our faith.

Lori & Greg

Update – 3/18/2007

Hannah had a great night last night.  They don’t think she’s gone back into SVT in 24-36 hours.  They have stopped all her IV meds and have reintroduced Propranolol (the beta-blocker she used to be on).  They have also tweaked the dosages on some of her other medications.  They are going to monitor her for the next 24 hours or so, and if all goes well, we will be home again tomorrow!  Praise God!!!!!!  She will probably be sent home with a halter monitor to track her heart rate over the next few weeks.  We will have to keep a close eye on her though, because the amiodarone is stored in body fat, so it will take her body a few weeks to metabolize all of it and flush it out of her system.  So we’ll be breathing a little easier once that is over with.

ECHO Results

Praise God! Hannah’s echo today showed that her shortening fraction is back up to 15%. This was wonderful news. She has also taken two full bottles today. She looks great and is playing in her crib with lots of toys. She obviously feels much, much better. They started her on Propranolol this afternoon, so our prayer is that she will respond to it again so that her heart rate and rhythm will remain in control. They also did another EKG and we are awaiting those results. We will probably be in ICU for several more days as they monitor her continued progress. She must be weaned from the two IV meds also.

While all of this was a very frightening and unexpected event, we are once again fully relying on God to take care of Hannah. We know He is in control and we give Him all the glory for the miracle He continues to work in her life. He is faithful and we know He has great plans for her.

Trusting Him,

Lori & Greg

3/17/2007 – Back in PICU

Well, we’re back in the PICU at Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge. Hannah stopped eating again yesterday, so we brought her to the cardiologist and they did a few EKGs and an ECHO. He said she has SVT (supraventricular tachycardia), which is an insanely high heart rate caused by a rhythm problem in the heart. Basically, her heart rate will be completely normal for one minute, and then all of a sudden it will skyrocket (the highest we saw it yesterday was 280). The ECHO showed that her shortening fraction had decreased to 7% (three weeks ago it was measured at 18%). Yesterday she kept going in and out of SVT, so they admitted her into PICU and started a medication called Amiodarone, which is helping to control these arrhythmias. They also started giving her IV fluids, as well as Milrinone. She is also still taking her other oral medications (Digoxin, Carvedilol, and Enalapril).

One bit of good news is that even though her ECHO showed a decreased shortening fraction, her heart has not gotten any bigger. They are also thinking that this SVT may have caused her Dilated Cardiomyopathy in the first place. The heart is just like any other muscle in your body — if it’s constantly beating very fast, it will tire and start to cause damage. This would coincide with her biopsy results from Ochsner which showed no sign of myocarditis (viral inflammation).

Today Hannah is acting like her normal self. I’m sure she’s wondering why in the world she’s in a hospital! They are going to do another ECHO today to remeasure the shortening fraction. They are thinking that now that she’s out of SVT, her shortening fraction will be much higher. If the heart is beating insanely fast, the efficiency of the heart decreases (even people with a completely healthy heart would experience this). For the long term, they are planning on putting her back on Propranolol, a beta blocker that also helps with arrhythmias. This is one of the medications she was weaned from a few weeks ago.

We are believing that this is just a slight bump in the road to her recovery, and that the ECHO today will show that her ventricular function will be at least as good as it was three weeks ago. This may also help the cardiologists figure out what caused her condition in the first place, so hopefully this will help them figure out how to best treat her condition.

Please pray that her ventricular function will show improvement. God has already worked so many miracles in Hannah’s life. So many lives have been touched already with her story, and we are believing that through this even more lives will be touched. Our God is still in control. He knows what’s going on, and He knows what needs to be done. Pray that God would use this to help her doctors figure out how to treat her condition. We serve a great and mighty God. He is mighty to save! We praise Him that He has brought Hannah so far in such a short period of time. There is no question in anyone’s mind that He is performing miracle after miracle in her life. We pray that the presence of God will just emanate from her room, that every nurse and doctor that comes in will just sense the peace and presence of God.

On a side note, her nurse last night goes to Healing Place! It is so obvious to us that God is orchestrating every single step in Hannah’s road to recovery! He continues to amaze us every day!

Update – 3/3/2007

Hannah continues to thrive at home!  She has become quite the little chatterbox, saying all sorts of new things.  She is so active — you would never guess she has a heart issue if you saw her rolling around playing and laughing all the time.

She has been completely weaned off of the Lasix, and next week she will be finished with the Propranolol!  She will most likely continue taking the remainder of her medications for the next few years, until her heart has completely regained its function.  We are still believing for a full recovery in Jesus’ name!

Please continue to pray for the Wusterbarth’s and their little girl, Brea, who has the same condition that Hannah has.  She is still in PICU.  Please pray that God would completely heal her heart, the heart that He designed for her!

We also want to remember Brian Hess and his family.  Brian was in a very bad car accident and is still in a coma.  Please pray for him, his wife Kimen, and their 6-month old son Jacob.  Pray that God would give them comfort, and that He would completely heal and restore Brian!

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers for Hannah.  She is such a miracle.  Every moment we spend with her is so cherished, so precious, so priceless.  Pray that God would continue to strengthen her heart, that it would completely regain its function.  We are so touched by all your prayers, and cannot ever thank you enough.  We know that God is the one who brought her out of the hospital.  He is the one who has strengthened her heart to this point, and who is continuing to work in her heart still.  Our God is still in the miracle business!

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:20