Happy 2 Year Ozaki Procedure, Genevieve!
While Genevieve hates this picture, it is the image forever locked in my mind when I think back to Genevieve’s 2nd open heart surgery . . . and I wasn’t even there to witness or snap it!
This was about 30 hours post surgery. With a lot of coaxing and some bribery, Al and the nurses got an angry 7 year old out of bed and onto her feet.
“Genevieve, do you want your underwear?”, Al asked.
“NO! I DON’T CARE! Let’s go!”, she growled at him.
So off they went to walk the halls of the Cardiac ICU with a nurse trailing behind carrying her chest tubes. The first of many strolls she would take over the next 4 days.
Why do I love this picture? Because this IS Genevieve. It is in the eyes – anger, fire and determination to get this hellish task over with so she can return to the comfort of her bed. Gritted teeth not yet ready to smile at us. Asking Genevieve to go through open heart surgery was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. She questioned why she had to, she told me she didn’t want to but she never said no.
When I think of my daughter, this is one of the images that comes to mind. She is sassy, demanding and truthfully, she is quite spoiled. She is determined and frequently will fight for what she wants no matter how trivial. When I reflect on the past 9+ years, I know that some of this is our doing. Before she took her first breath, we knew that she would have to be strong to endure all that would be thrown at her . . .to live. Don’t underestimate the impact of nurture, we did what we could to design her this way. Thankfully, she is also inquisitive, kind and loves her family and friends deeply.
Genevieve has read most of this over my shoulder and asked that I click “publish” so I am going to finish up this entry with just a few more words for today.
Healing is not linear and as a family, we continue to work through the emotional toll that a congenital heart defect has inflicted upon us. To my Genevieve, the now 9 year old that sleep walks with tears streaming down her cheeks, you are stronger than you know.
Post Script – it has been more than a year since I have written here. It hasn’t been easy as I have faced my own health struggles that I still do not have the words for – a story for another day. Thankfully, Genevieve has had a very healthy 2 years and counting with her bovine tissue supplemented aortic valve. Science! So amazing and our team at Boston Children’s Hospital . . . among the best in the world.