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My Heart Warrior

I can’t think of a better way to ring in 2014 than by bringing my thirteen month old son, Kane, home from the hospital. We were discharged from the Stollery Children’s Hospital on December 31st, just in time for a New Years celebration!

Kane was in bed by 8, but somehow managed to wake up just before we rang in the New Year

Kane was admitted to the Stollery on Friday, December 27th for open heart surgery. Dr. Ivan Rebeyka and his team successfully repaired Kane’s Supravalvular Aortic Stenosis during a surgery that felt as though it took forever, though in reality was only about four hours.

SuperBaby getting his hospital bracelet
Showing off his Heart Monkey
Daddy & Heart Monkey waiting for Kane to come out of surgery. Many thanks to the Family Room for being our refuge.

No matter how many times I have photographed heart babies, nothing could have prepared me for seeing my own child in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU) after surgery. The swelling, the tubes, the IVs…overwhelmed me. I knew Kane was in the best possible place with the most capable people, but my gut reaction was still panic.

Prepare yourself the next few photos are intense…

Seeing Kane hooked up to all these machines was pretty overwhelming
Daddy watching over his boy
Our friend, Jen, and her husband, Tony, whisked us away from the hospital for dinner that first night.

Throughout Kane’s time in hospital, I kept family and friends updated through a group on Facebook. This was a phenomenal way to be able to get information and photos out to everyone, but also was a huge support system for my husband, Harrison, and I. The positive messages posted on every update and photo kept us going and though I didn’t often reply to specific comments, know that each one touched us deeply and helped us through a tough time.

Starting to feel better. I can tell because he is busy trying to remove IVs
Catching up on sleep
Where’s Mommy?
First time sitting up
Looking through his book, Kane’s Family
A tight grip on Daddy’s hand as his chest tube was being removed
So long!

Kane spent two nights in the PCICU, before moving to the Pediatric Cardiology Unit (4C3) where he spent another two nights. Kane’s speedy recovery can be partially credited to his amazing resilience and determination to get moving again, but the rest of the credit goes to the nurses, surgeons, cardiologists, residents, fellows, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists…I hope I’m not missing anyone…who supported him during surgery and his recovery.

Heading to 4C3
The whiteboards at the bedsides, courtesy of the Stollery’s Family Centred Care Network, are a great way to share information.
Waving bye bye to the nurse who transported him
Back to solid food
Checking out all his new heart beads courtesy of Treasure Life. Each bead represents a different procedure, test or appointment. Kane started his in the NICU.
So glad Heart Monkey was there to watch over Kane. Thank you, Cuc!
Kane, a special little guy told me that “Chicks Dig Scars

Please feel free to share our journey. My hope is that parents going through a similar experience  will see a success story, hospital staff will see gratitude, and organizations like the Family Centred Care NetworkTreasure LifeRonald McDonald House, and the Madden Deluca Foundation will see that they are making a difference.

My heart warrior heading home to continue his recovery. Apparently, he’s allowed to play contact sports six weeks after surgery!

Our experience has strengthened my passion for photographing medically fragile babies. If you know a family who would appreciate the gift of family photographs, whether in hospital or after they are at home, please contact me.

Published by Kristy Wolfe Stories

Kristy is an engaging, open, and honest Common Language DST trained digital storytelling facilitator. She has been speaking and teaching workshops on both photography & digital storytelling for 5 years. With a background in the education, healthcare, and non-profit sectors, she works with diverse audiences, prioritizing ethics in storytelling and storyteller wellbeing.

36 thoughts on “My Heart Warrior

  1. Absolutely beautiful! I can’t believe how fast he recovered! What an amazing little boy! I can’t wait to see you guys!

  2. Kristy your son and pictures are truly amazing. I am so pleased that Kane got home in such a short time. My grand daughter has heart surgery 9 years ago and the advancement of techniques and procedures is incredible. Happy healthy 2014 to all of you.

  3. Way to go Kane, you rocked this surgery like we knew you would! Confident 2014 will be bigger and better for you guys!! 😉

  4. Thank you so much for the update. Kane is such a fighter, and I loved the Heart Monkey! It looks like he had wonderful care, and great parents. Keep in touch and let me know if I can help. Aunt Lois

  5. You are an amazing family! What a gift your photos and story are. Kane is one special little guy. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Wow Kristy, Kane’s recovery was amazing!! I’m happy to hear that is all behind you guys now. Pics are fantastic too 🙂
    Donna RN from NICU

  7. Hi there. I am Judy VP of Treasure Life. What great shots and a beautiful baby boy. The pictures bring back lots of memories of Evan and his surgeries. Aside from being VP of the charity. I am Evan’s grandma. Thank you for taking such an amazing picture with our beads. Kane looks like he well on a great road of recovery.

  8. What an incredible journey, you’ve captured it so well with your photos. Thank you for sharing. So glad to see that your little man has recovered! Children are so amazingly resilient.

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