24: Boston Miracles

24: Boston Miracles

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

Boston Miracles

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

~Luke 1:37 (KJV)

Our lives turned upside down in 2005. Following a routine pre-football physical and screening heart scan, our fifteen-year-old son, Blake, was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). After receiving the results of Blake’s scan, our pediatrician, Dr. Sally Goza, referred Blake to a pediatric cardiologist, who helped coordinate more tests than we could count. Blake’s cardiologist referred him to a pediatric pulmonary specialist, who became Blake’s medical coordinator.

Pulmonary hypertension is a rare lung condition that causes the blood pressure to increase in the pulmonary artery, which in turn damages the small blood vessels in the lungs. Normal mean pulmonary artery pressure is 14 mm HG at rest. In PH patients, it is greater than 25 mm Hg at rest, and 30 mm Hg during exercise. Blake’s was 35 to 40 mm Hg resting. We were told that Blake’s life expectancy was somewhere between four and ten years. Sometime later, after scores more tests, we were told that Blake’s case was aggressive, and we were looking at a prognosis of closer to four years. Blake remembers hearing that living to twenty-five would have been considered a good outcome for him.

We soldiered on. My husband, Ed, and I rejected all negative pronouncements. We have witnessed too many healing miracles that had no medical explanations. We knew without a doubt that doctors don’t know everything, and cannot predict the future.

Our family, church family, and friends continued to pray for Blake’s miraculous healing. We put Blake’s name on various church and online prayer lists, whose members circle the globe.

As we settled into our post-diagnosis routine, we regained some of our equilibrium. We tried to live as normally as possible. All the while, doing research, studying new treatment options, and planning our lives around heart scans, blood work, diagnostic tests, and consultations with various doctors and specialists.

My husband and I closely monitored Blake’s health and vital signs. Sometimes, he seemed totally fine. He would have a couple of months with no symptoms and good heart scan reports. Then, without warning, Blake would get dizzy at football practice and feel like he was going to pass out or be sick. His scans showed increased pressures.

We rode a roller coaster of ups and downs in Blake’s condition for over a year and a half. Against the current wisdom of the time, Blake’s doctors believed that sports and exercise could possibly help improve his lung function, so we allowed Blake to play football. We wanted Blake’s life to be as normal as possible, while avoiding unnecessary risks that might make his pulmonary hypertension worse.

On July 12, 2007, after consulting with our longtime cardiologist friend, Steve Clements, we took his advice to go to Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital, where they were equipped to administer heart catheterizations during exercise. The first day’s scan confirmed increased pressure in Blake’s pulmonary arteries, as had previous scans. The team expected the catheterization the following day to confirm the scan results.

The next day, several doctors and aides struggled to stabilize the device equipped with bicycle pedals, as our strong 6’1”, 163-pound son pedaled with the heart catheter in place. The miraculous report afterward stated, “Hemodynamics were completely normal at rest… (and) his pulmonary artery mean was 20 mm Hg, indicating a completely normal response to exercise.” To summarize, there was no evidence of damage from prior elevated pulmonary artery pressure, and such pressure was gone. The doctor told us that Blake’s heart was completely healthy. Furthermore, he “did not recommend any further testing or follow up on a cardiac basis.”

We celebrated Blake’s Boston Miracle the next day at Fenway in box seats purchased for face value. We were told by several Bostonians that getting those tickets for a sold-out game at Fenway was another miracle! That worked for us! Experiencing the Green Monster, enjoying the manual scoring, cheering the Red Sox as they beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-4, and singing “Sweet Caroline” and “Dirty Water” with an exuberant Boston crowd, all felt miraculous to us. We thank God for every miraculous Boston moment!

~Jamie White Wyatt

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