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Tuesday, May 29, 2012



Meet Cali Jo. She is, without a doubt, the bravest little three-year-old I’ve ever met. Cali was born with tricuspid atresia. Tricuspid atresia is a congenital heart defect in which one of the valves (tricuspid valve) between two of her heart's chambers isn't formed. Instead, there's solid tissue between the chambers. This means blood can't flow through the heart and into the lungs to pick up oxygen as it normally would. The result is the lungs can't supply the rest of her body with the oxygen it needs, requiring three open-heart surgeries to address the problem.

In laymen’s terms, Cali Jo has faced more in her first three years of life than I have in my 33. A week ago, she underwent her third (and hopefully final) open heart surgery. She goes in for another surgery today. Add to this a catheter procedure and a tonsillectomy, and you’ve got one tough girl.

I have been present at every surgery, and I have seen God’s grace poured out over her life – be it her ability to remain calm before a surgery or her demeanor in the PICU. Her threshold for pain is remarkably high. She continually exceeds her surgeons’, medical staffs’ & nurses’ expectations when it comes to her speedy recoveries and ability to endure so much. Cali is brave.

However, Cali is also weary. As I mentioned earlier, she will have another unexpected surgery today in which docs will place tubes in her chest to drain excess fluid from her lungs/heart which have caused the oxygen saturation levels in her blood to remain disconcertingly low. The fluid is hindering her recovery. This happens to 30% of patients after the third & final open heart procedure. She is also battling nausea & vomiting. She must endure another catheterization, more tubes, new incisions and a new central line due to the irritation and potential infection the initial central line caused on her neck.

IMG_0588Alexa loves visiting Cali at the hospital. She says she goes to makes Cali happy.

Would you join us in praying for precious Cali Jo and her sweet family? Would you pray for precision on the surgeon’s part, grace for Cali and the family, and God’s perfect hand of healing over her entire body – particularly her heart? Would you pray her sats (oxygen saturation levels) will immediately improve without the aid of oxygen? Would you pray Cali gets to sleep in her own bed very soon without the beeping reminders of empty IV bags and low respiratory rates? Would you pray she would be able to run and play like any other three-year-old without turning blue or running out of breath?

We love you Cali Jo! Your life is a testimony to God’s goodness and faithfulness in all things. He has great plans for you and you shine as a beacon of hope wherever you go. Your life is a gift! Man sees a heart that wasn’t formed correctly, but God created you with an unbreakable heart of gold. Keep shining!! 

Alexa & Cali just a week before her surgery. Cali’s mom, Martisha, and I believe the girls are best friends in the making.

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