Yesterday Gabriella and I went to clinic as usual. She had an IV started and bloodwork done, and a quick consult with the doctor. We headed upstairs and checked into the surgical floor for her to have her 2nd biopsy done. She had one done on May 24, just one week after she got her new sparkly heart!
When they do the biopsy, they sedate her heavily and go in through a vein in her groin. (For cath's they go in through an artery). They send soft wires up into her heart and take tissue samples of the heart itself. The risks associated with doing the biopsy are damaging the heart tissue, damage the valves while entering the heart, high or low heart rate episodes and infection.
Why and how often do they do this? All transplant centers have their own protocol, and then it is on a patient to patient basis. They do the biopsy to see if the body is building up a defense system and trying to fight off the heart as a foreign object. The whole point of the immuno-suppressants she is on is to prevent her body from fighting the heart, plus any other illness, off. Biopsies for her will be done at 1month (yesterday), 3months and then annually through her life, since rejection is ALWAYS a possibility. Many think that if she is in the clear now, she is "all good", but that is not the case. We must maintain her immuno-suppressants and continue having biopsies, but also watch her temperatures, weight and heart rate to catch any possible rejection early. It is a lifetime thing, but one we are grateful to have for a lifetime.
Yesterday, they took Gabriella at about 1145a and brought her back to the room at 1pm. I managed to run downstairs, eat, call Paul and use the restroom in 20 minutes because I didn't want to miss the doctor. I'm realizing this is becoming a game for me and at the next biospy I want to accomplish all that in 18 minutes. LOL! It was hard being there alone, but I was relieved it was all simple and without any major events. She slept until about 330p, which I was VERY grateful for! Back in Phoenix, they encourage the kids to wake quickly. Sure, that gets us home quickly, but you get terrible backlash from the sedation meds if you wake them too soon! She slept off the meds and we avoided moods, vomiting and boredom while needing to lay flat for 3 hours. When she woke, she drank Sprite, ate a banana and half a PBJ and was ready to go home!
The results were going to take a while to come back, and I was SO anxious to get them. I knew for sure I would have to wait until our appointment Monday! BUT at about 9am, the ever so lovely Cheri called me and told me that her biospy came back as ZERO rejection! How AMAZING is that!
So we are going to keep enjoying the small miracles that come as a result of the big one. I keep telling people I am waiting for the hard part, but I need to remember the hard part for us was before. Gabriella went through so much with her diagnosis, stroke and overall decline over the last year. I have just seen so many precious kiddos have difficulties after transplant & surgery that I kinda prepared myself for the same given our long stretch of struggle. It dawned on me last night when I was talking to Mathildas mom and she was mentioning all the doctors Mathilda has to see that we did that, seeing a million doctors and fighting for her survival. That was the hard part. It is a relief knowing that her new sparkly angel heart is meshing so well with her body. I am thankful every moment of every day for Gabriella's heart donor... and know that God had intended Gabriella's body to love this heart for a reason.