Monday, May 19, 2014

The Philadelphia Plan

Below is a video that we are planning to show Eli so he can better understand his story and road to recovery. We thought it would be nice for everyone to see his journey. This video was created by Aunt Drea (Kati's sister).  We are so thankful to have this to show Eli.

(Just a warning, some of the photos are a little graphic).

Philadelphia Itinerary

Monday, June 2nd - We (Israel, Kati and Eli) fly to Philadelphia.

Tuesday, June 3rd - This is a day full of doctors appointments and taking a tour of the hospital.

Wednesday, June 4th - Eli has his MRI and catheterization - He will be put under for this. This will be used to help the doctors better understand his heart and the pressures and devise a plan for his surgery the following week.  We will be staying overnight.

Monday, June 9th - We will meet with a child life specialist to help Eli better understand his surgery and recovery.  We are hoping to show him the playroom and the room that he will be staying.  We are trying to help Eli feel as comfortable as possible.

Tuesday, June 10th - Surgery Day (Extracardiac Fenestrated Fontan). There is a good chance that Eli will have a pacemaker put in at that time as well.  Dr. Spray will make that decision when he is in.  After the surgery begins the road to recovery.  This is the part we are most worried about.  Specifically when he first wakes up and sees himself. We will try and prepare him as best as we can for that moment and the hard days to come but as you all know he is just a child....

We are often asked, after this surgery if Eli's heart will be "fixed"? The answer is no.  His heart will always be missing his right ventricle.  This is the last part to complete the new way that his heart will circulate.  We are hopeful that with this new circulation that Eli's overall quality of life will improve. We don't know what the future will be like for Eli.  His surgeries are new.  The majority of those who have gone before him are now in their twenty's and thirty's. Some are doing really well and some are struggling.  However, their surgeries were done differently then they are now.  There is a lot of hope surrounding Eli.  We've surrounded him with the best and we trust that we have him exactly were he is suppose to be.

When we head to Philadelphia we will meet up with Israel's parents.  They are ministering in Jerusalem and are making the very long journey to help us care for Eli.  They will also help with Maggie when she joins us later on in to our trip. We are so thankful to have their help.

We have had many people ask us how they can help and the specific expenses of our trip.  Our two main needs:

  1. We've created a Amazon wish list for some gift ideas for Eli.  We would like to have some fun things for him to encourage him during those hard time.  His recovery will be hard and we are hoping that if Eli knows there is a gift waiting for him on his bed after he is done walking the halls, it'll put a smile on his face.  We will pack the gifts and bring them with us. The list is under his name - Eli Whittemore
  2. Aunt Drea-Eli's most favorite person in the world is his Aunt Drea.  We are aren't exaggerating, he adores her.  They have a very special relationship, it's very sweet.  She will be flying to Philadelphia to help Eli recover.  He has no idea that she is coming.  She will be our secret weapon.  Our other need is to have her airline tickets covered.  The total cost for her to come is $425.00.

For those of you who asked for our own expenses for this surgery:  (We really struggled with listing out our own expenses. But we promised that we would put it out there).

  • Travel-$950.00
  • Hotel-$400.00
  • Hospital deductible and co-insurance $4500.00  

We want to take a moment to thank you all.  All of your prayers, kind words, texts and emails are really carrying us during this time.  We know we aren't alone and that we have a lot of people who are holding us up on their shoulders. It hasn't gone unnoticed.  We value and love you all more then words can express. Thank you for being apart of Eli's journey.

Much love,
Israel & Kati

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The When, Where and Why

Thank you Eli for guest writing and catching everyone up to speed. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, look at the last blog entry) I am going to try and fill everyone in as best as possible. This might be new information for some and old news for others. So here is the when, where and why.
Let's start with the why?
Eli was born in 2010 with a severe heart defect. There are a lot of medical technical terms but basically Eli is missing the right side of his heart. At the time of diagnosis we were told Eli would have to have 3 open heart surgeries. His first one was eight days after he was born. His second surgery was at 3 and a half months. Now we are getting ready for his third, and hopefully final surgery.
So where will this happen?
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - Eli's first two surgeries were done here in Phoenix. After a lot of prayer and consideration we have decided to go to Philadelphia for his surgery. Philadelphia is known for their outstanding cardiac care for children and one of the top centers in the country. Our surgeon is going to be Dr Spray. He is the best, which helped in our decision.

When will this happen?
Eli's surgery is scheduled for June 10th. We will be flying out on June 2nd for a week of testing before the surgery. We will give more details to our itinerary when it gets closer.

One last thing.
We have an amazing group of family and friends both here in Phoenix and across the country. We are grateful for you all. Obviously going to a different city is not an easy thing but we know that you guys will still be there. We appreciate your love and prayers. We love you all.