Andrew’s story as told by his mother…

On June 28, 2023, our 11-year-old son, Andrew gave us the biggest scare of our lives. It was our first day on our family vacation in Florida when Andrew became ill. We were at the beach when he started complaining of not being able to breath. We headed back to our hotel where he started to throw up. He thought a shower would make him feel better, so he just sat in it. He took a small nap and threw up again. He said I really can’t breathe. We checked his oxygen with the pulse oximeter, that we always have with us due to my husband’s illness, a few months prior. Andrew’s oxygen reading was at 79. We knew that was extremely low, so we rushed him to the nearest ER, where he continued to decline. Several hours later, his blood work came back that his troponin levels were through the roof and that he needed to be airlifted to Johns Hopkins All Children’s hospital right away, because something was attacking his heart. Since there were storms in the area, he couldn’t be airlifted and went by ambulance.  He was intubated and on 100 percent life support. He was hospitalized in the CVICU for 17 days at Johns Hopkins All Children’s hospital. There he was diagnosed with Myocarditis, which led to heart failure.

We nearly lost him 3 times this summer to this horrible disease. After the ventilator was removed his lungs collapsed and his oxygen went down to low the 60’s.  He again was on a very high dose of oxygen (100%). After he was better from that, he then was having episodes of ventricular tachycardia.  These are cardiac arrythmias that can be fatal.

We were 2 days away from being discharged.  He had no cardiac arrythmias that whole day. His day nurse was saying her goodbyes to him before his discharge. I was washing his hair. He asked me to stop, and next thing I hear is his nurse saying, “Andrew are you ok?” And I look at him and his eyes were rolled back in his head, and he turned completely white…he was in cardiac arrest.

I was standing beside my lifeless son. His nurse was in shock but knew to push the code button right away. I grabbed 2 of my kids and put them in the playroom across the hall. My other daughter ran down the hall and screamed for someone to save her brother. I was a complete mess. The nurses were trying to calm me. My husband was on his knees praying. They did CPR and it wasn’t working.  So, they shocked his heart, and he came back. He pushed them away from him. He kept fighting.

Because of the recurrent ventricular tachycardias, Andrew was put on a Life Vest. That is an external automatic defibrillator that he would wear 24/7, around the clock. He was to wear this Life Vest for several months.  If he were to pass out or his heart rate go too high, then it would alarm and it would shock him. Once his heart healed and the arrythmias stopped, he no longer had to wear it. He was very happy for it to go.

Andrew is still fighting hard to beat it! His life is put on hold, but he isn’t letting it stop him. He is eager to be able to run, play, walk for longer than a few minutes, and especially play football. He still has a long way to go for that.

We are so proud of him and so thankful to the Lord that he is still with us today. ❤️ We are so eager to share his story. Anything to help spread awareness.  We had never heard of Myocarditis until he was diagnosed. I believe if we didn’t have the pulse oximeter with us, then we would not have known just how sick he was.

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