Unimaginable. “Sierra’s heart is hurting”, Sierra’s my 14 year old daughter, well almost 14…in 3 weeks, but forget the minor details, focus on “Heart hurting”. Ever been in a position where you knew something was a possibility, but never expected it to actually happen? Well, me too, especially hearing the words my daughters heart hurts….from her friend, during her competitive cheerleading practice. That is unimaginable, an unimaginable pain shot through my body, stomach turned in knots, panicked, but had to take a deep breathe to be the strongest mother I knew how to be.
Let’s take a moment to breathe before going further, going into the life of a 13 year old Cardiac patient. Although this blog might be longer than the others, read until the end, I promise it’ll be worth the read. The most common phrase I’ve heard over the last several years has been “How are you able to cope as well as you do or remain so positive”, aside from handling my own condition in different manners, I hope you now have an understanding as to the how and why. My children, especially seeing Sierra full of life and laughter while living with multiple cardiac issues. That’s my strength, my backbone, my inspiration.
I know our kids are always our inspiration but, this is different. Not only is Sierra an inspiration to me, but to me she is the strongest person I know. Yeah, yeah how is a 13 year old considered to be strong, I get it. But, if you don’t understand why I admire her strength after this blog well then, let me put this lightly….you must be a self centered prick 🤷♀️
My bad, I started rambling, but I’m going to start naming those damn long medical terms that we can’t spell and certainly say correctly out loud without sounding like we have no intelligence. Don’t worry, you can google the terms. Kidding, I’ll break them down in laymen terms so your mind doesn’t go into the “what the fuck does that mean” mode.
Prolonged QT syndrome, ARVC, & a blood clot in the right atrium probably have your head spinning. Well, those are the heart diseases that Sierra lives with. Did you know October is #suddencardiscarrestawareness month? Yes, it’s also Breast Cancer awareness, but we as a society surround ourselves on promoting awareness for breast cancer, but fail each and every person from the lack of promoting more of the awareness for Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
Basically, Sierra is at risk for Sudden death…all day, every day, every minute of every hour, and every second of every minute.
Take a moment, digest that. Now, breathe ✔️
Prolonged QT simply means Sudden death, basically her heart can have an uncontrollable fast heart rate with the inability to control. ARVC is another arrhythmic issue that causes the electrical components of the heart to not work properly and can cause deadly beats within the heart, also sudden death. A blood clot, well the damn thing is in heart, in the right atrium. Long story short, aside from the blood clot her other two illnesses have been confirmed by genetic testing over the years.
Background on Sierra’s medical conditions ✔️
Sierra’s heart hurts, can you see why those words were so gut wrenching for me? I’m not sure as a parent we’re ever prepared to see our children in a hospital bed or cope with illnesses, especially such a servers illness. Roles were reversed, she’s always so strong for me during my surgeries and I try to always be as strong as possible for her, but now it was my turn to ensure concern didn’t show and strength dominated. Perspective, honestly I’m not even sure I can explain my feelings, thoughts, or the perspective even close to 10% of what I was really feeling.
Told ya this would be a long damn post. I know, get to the damn part of what had happened. So, while I’m outside bullshitting with a couple of my favorite cheer moms another cheerleader walks out to me and says Sierra’s heart is hurting. Immediately protectant mother kicks in while keeping the panicking at bay. I rushed into practice where I see Sierra pale, tears in eyes, and her right hand pressing against the center of her chest. I told her lets go, we’re calling the “squad”. Side note, apparently squad isn’t interchangeable with ambulance, because the cheer parents thought I was rollin’ deep with my peeps 😂 Imagine 30 some odd parents and over 80ish athletes watching, watching as one of their teammates, friends, a child with no enemies is removed from practice and being taken away in an ambulance.
While on the ride to the hospital Sierra’s pacemaker was doing its job and paced her heart consistently. Sierra was on her way to spend some time in the Cardiac ICU. Of course, she’s frantic, full of tears, worry, and fear. That best friend of hers, I’ll never be able to thank enough, was determined to be with Sierra and she damn sure made it happen. To see the smile and relief on Sierra’s face when she walked in the room was priceless. Something about a best friend puts the stress at bay. We won’t discuss the ER doctor and her ignorance, but I will say this. Why in the fuck are some people in such a position where they fail to listen, but most importantly responsible for another’s life if they’re arrogant and don’t want to listen to the patient and/or take their concerns seriously, let alone make the statement “you’re going to have to explain those to me, I haven’t heard those since med school”. Ummm, what. the. fuck 🤦♀️
On to admittance. Hospitals make me queasy, no matter the number of times I’ve been there. Once in her room the testing was done to determine what had caused the episode. Just a recap: Sierra has been on a blood thinner with constant blood draws, is a competitive cheerleader for two teams, maintains a 4.0 GPA all while having such a beautiful, kind soul, filling rooms full of laughter, smile as if she’s never experienced a problem in her life, unless she’s extremely pissed then she’s got some serious RBF, just ask her coaches they’ll agree 😂 I’m not sure Sierra realized how closely I watched her laying in that hospital bed experiencing something no child should experience. There’s no words that could describe the emotions I was feeling in those moments.
Overall, Sierra’s clot is thinning and had slightly moved; but the medication is extremely powerful for her body size which in turn caused her Blood Pressure to drop resulting in her becoming symptomatic and feeling like shit.
Before the judgement starts, please understand we know the consequences, what her conditions is inside and out, and follow ALL doctors orders.
That experience. That sight. Not one single word can describe it, but what I can say is, Turkeybutt, I’ve never been more proud of you than when I watched you in that hospital being the strongest I know you’ve ever had to be while being the most scared you’ve ever been. You, my dear, are the definition of breathtaking, so beautiful inside and out, while doing it so effortlessly. If only you could see yourself through my eyes, then you might be able to understand.
Everyone in your life plays a vital role, whether you realize it or not, no matter the reasoning, everyone is placed into your life for a purpose. Our family, especially me can’t express my gratitude enough for how our cheer family, the parents, the coaches, or the athletes. Not one person hesitated to offer assistance, it really does take a village to raise a child. When I say offer, I don’t mean just to vocalize it, I mean to change their schedule in that moment and make my family, my child, their priority. It truly does restore my faith in society. Thank you, thank you from deep inside my soul. Our children mean so much to us & to put Sierra as a priority without hesitating, they don’t make friends like y’all anymore and we have the luxury of being able to call y’all our friends. Thank you to the friends and family, near and far, for checking in, offering assistance, & maintaining such positivity when we felt like we didn’t know what positivity meant. Thank you Lydi-bug, for trying to understand the crazy world around you, for looking up to your sister with admiration and love, you, my Lydi-big are much stronger than you might ever realize, you’re surrounded by my heart disease and although I know you don’t fully understand, you do slightly, but as you grow and have to watch from the sidelines your faith, love, and strength will be tested and I want you to know you’re going to succeed with positivity and love, thank you for being the rock that you don’t quite understand you are.
& thank you to every person who too the moment to read and digest just how inspirational those around us really are.
Most importantly, Sierra, thank you for being my hero ❤️