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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Round 3: She took a beating

We went today for our stress test. It was way more difficult than I was prepared for.

We got there and went into the testing room to get all set up. A super nice guy named Gabriel got Gabriella all set up with her 'stickers' and holster. He has a 6 year old daughter named Gabriella, so knew all the right things to say to make my Gabriella comfortable! The doctor came into the room to administer the test. He wasn't very pleased that I didn't have tennis shoes on Gabriella, but we discovered this last weekend she had outgrown her only pair of tennies. Bad timing, I guess. They did some monitoring at a resting state. Gabriella was all pumped up to walk the treadmill, until she found out she had to wear a mask while doing it. We EVENTUALLY convinced her to wear it, and I tell you, it was the saddest sight. I discovered later, she is the youngest child they have done an exercise stress test on, so seeing all this equipment intended for older kids on my little small framed baby girl was hard. The mask covered from under her chin to over her nose, and the tube connected to it reached all the way to the machinery. It strapped to the top of her head, and down her back. That along with all of her 'stickers' was so much.

They got her started on the treadmill, walking a brisk walk. The overall test made it to 7 levels of incline and increased speed. She was doing so good, and I was standing by her like a nervous wreck. I was SO afraid she would fall head first. Gabriel noticed how paranoid I was so he stood right behind her, which made me feel better. You could see her getting tired. We haven't let her push herself since March, and especially since April/May when we found out her diagnosis in detail. She got to a point about 7-8 minutes in where she said "I feel like I want to be done". We encouraged her, and told her how great she was doing! Well, it got worse. She started looking up to me, and started this deep, gasping, barking for air. Her eyes started rolling back, and I started to panic a bit told the doctor "shes gasping for air! she can't do anymore." He slowed the speed down and lowered the decline. It took her about a minute but she started breathing normal again. They let her sit back down and monitored a bit more. I had to ask the doctor if he got all he needed, since I pulled the plug sooner than he intended, but he assured me he did. She bounced back pretty quickly, with only that nasty cardiac asthma cough lingering.

He gave me a few immediate results. The EKG showed what we knew for the most part. It showed where her heart is rigid and not filling with blood fully. And it showed where she was loosing flow. Her oxygen bottomed out at 25% with an intake (VO2) at about 22, which is pretty decent. Some odd things is her blood pressure didn't increase with her pulse until AFTER she started the cool down. And also, her heart function rose while her hearts response to the activity remained level, while they should increase in parallel. The bottom line of it all is her heart is working and doing what it needs to, but it is working a TON harder than it has to in order to get the job done. A more intensive study will be done by 2 doctors at the office, then sent on to Loma Linda for additional review. I'll be interested to see how she compares to the normal. The hard part of today is they have no data to compare anything to for someone of her age and size, because they just don't do this type of stress test for little ones. Hopefully Loma Linda will.

So the test beat her up good. As overall healthy as she seems to be, I haven't seen her as sick and vulnerable as today. They pushed her to her limit, which was not nearly as far as she could have gone given she had a healthy ticker. I feared she was going to pass out of cause damage to herself... or use up some of the time left in her heart.... with how hard she worked today.

Gabriella is my hero. Watching her go through this has been the hardest thing, but she makes me so proud. She is becoming a little adult all too early, but doing it so naturally. I pray God preserve as much innocence as possible. And I am thankful all this is behind us and we have 3 weeks before our next step.

Before the mask....
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