Tanner was only a week old when our doctor was doing a routine well child checkup and he found that Tanner had a heart defect. I was shocked when he came back in the room to tell me we needed to go see a heart specialist.
An appointment was made to see a doctor at a clinic in Salina where the Kansas City heart doctors came to, but we ended up going to Kansas City for the appointment after all. Tanner was 6 weeks old at the time. They determined that he had a VSD (ventricular septa defect, and put him on a heart medicine to keep him from having congestive heart failure. We continued to go to appointments until he was four months old. At his four month appointment, the doctor who saw him that day said he needed surgery soon. When he was born Tanner weighed 9 lbs. 12 oz., and at four months he only weighed 12 lbs.
The night before surgery, the doctors told us that they were not sure what was going to happen during surgery because he should not be having this much trouble with just the VSD. The day of the surgery was the hardest. The medical staff took him from us and then we just had to wait. They were very good about coming out and giving us updates. Finally, when the surgeon came out he told us that Tanner not only had VSD, but that he also had ASD (Atrial Septal Defect). His patent ductus valve had not shut either. They had to put a patch on his VSD and sew shut his ASD. Tanner was now on the road to recovery.
Day two after surgery he had a minor set back when he was accidentally given adult strength heart medicine. Luckily they checked his blood often and that is how they discovered the mix-up. He had to be given a counter acting medication to get his Digoxin level back where it should be. He handled this very well, and although we had planned to go back to the children’s floor that same day, they had to keep him in the adult ICU to monitor him.
Tanner was only in the hospital a total of nine days. When we left to take him home, he was still on heart medication. The hardest part was holding him without hurting his sternum. We went back for several check-ups, and eventually he was able to go off the heart medication.
Tanner is fine now and has been able to do all the things he wanted to do. I praise the doctors because now when he has a check-up they can’t even hear a murmur. I feel very blessed that he was lucky enough for everything to go well and Tanner has been able to lead a normal life. He was young enough when this all took place that he doesn’t remember it, but the doctor’s shots are not his favorite thing to do.
Tanner is bright and a very personable young man who can really relate to people of any age. He has no problem carrying on a conversation and has a very positive outlook on life. His passions include family and hunting, and he knows he has a lot more to accomplish in life.
“As a survivor I have had a great life that I would not have had had it not been for the work of the American Heart Association,” stated Tanner. “Now there is not anything I could not do and I have no restrictions due to my heart.”
By Shelley Cannizzo (Tanner’s Mom)
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