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Jessica, 1987

Jessica, born 1987

Our story is probably the story of every family dealing with a serious illness.  A story of love, despair, fear, anguish, and hope.

Our daughter, Jessica was born February 9, 1987.  She was diagnosed with HLHS at two days old and transferred to our local hospital.  In 1987, our options were the same as today; do nothing, transplant and surgery. I will admit that the surgery was considered more experimental in those days but transplants were even more of a risk. 

When Jessica was one week old, we were transferred to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  After her first surgery, we were back in May for a shunt revision. Next was her modified Fontan at two years of age and then a tricuspid valve repair a few months later.  Dr. Norwood did all of her surgeries. 

Jessica also had a scoliosis issue that was compromising her Fontan.  It required a spinal fusion in May of 2003. She did very well during all her surgeries. 

Jessica had a very normal childhood if you don't include the doctor visits.  She swims like a fish. She has a black belt in Taekwondo. She cheered for two years and she has had a part time job for three years.  And, like any girl, she loves to shop! 

Jessica graduated from high school this month.  Her college scholarship essays would make you cry.  She wants to return the care given to her by becoming a nurse.  She already has a hot pink stethoscope! College acceptance was a monumental event for our family because it seems like just yesterday that we were in the surgery waiting room.  She will start college in the fall and will be moving into the dorm. It will be hard to let go but I am confident that she will be able to take care of herself. 

God has a definite plan for each of these unique people.  If I can give you one piece of advice today it would be to live every day.  I know, you already know how to do this but I mean REALLY LIVE! Ask yourself today:  Are we OK? What can I teach today? How can I show love today? What would God have me to do today?  When each day is met with that kind of love, then, there are no regrets! 

Story by Jessica's mom, Patti - Tennessee 

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