Brody has a big heart, but medically speaking, it has a lot of scars. This 7-year-old from Regina is one of the over 2,000 children in Saskatchewan with a congenital heart defect, making for a difficult start to life.
Brody’s troubles began only 20 weeks into his mom’s pregnancy. When an ultrasound revealed bad news with oxygen-rich blood being pumped to the wrong side, Brody’s heart was going to need major repairs as soon as he arrived.
“I was in shock, devastated and felt complete guilt,” said Brody’s mom Jamie. “It was weeks of crying and research to finally come to terms with it and began to prepare for the journey that was ahead of our family.”
To make matters worse, Brody needed to be delivered far from home at BC Children’s Hospital to ensure the specialized care he needed was accessible. Brody appeared healthy, but he still needed to grow before he could handle his first surgery. Between growing, “fattening up” and biweekly visits to the cardiologist, Brody was a busy little newborn. Though everything seemed to be going well, it wasn’t long before Jamie’s “mom intuition” kicked in and she knew that Brody’s levels were beginning to drop. This meant that it was time for his first surgery in Vancouver at only four months old.
“The most frightening part of the whole situation was wondering what tomorrow will bring,” said Jamie. “Will Brody be healthy? How many surgeries will he have? How will I know if something is going wrong?”
Luckily, Brody recovered in a speedy nine days and arrived back home in Regina. Another surgery would eventually be needed. Brody made it through nearly three more years of cardiology visits before it was time for surgery number two. The family packed up and headed back to Vancouver full of unknowns.
While Vancouver was a familiar scene for the family, the events didn’t unfold like they did before. Unforeseen issues surfaced with Brody’s second surgery and he ended up with a Junctional Heart Rhythm which is abnormal. Doctors thought Brody would outgrow it, but it still hasn’t gone away. Brody now keeps as active as possible to ensure his heart goes back to normal sinus rhythm.
Because he is required to stay active, Brody loves playing basketball and flag football. He hasn’t needed any more surgeries but is still monitored closely by his pediatric cardiologist in Saskatoon. With his biggest struggles behind him, Brody is now healthy and happy to represent the one out of 100 children born with a Congenital Heart Defect, and show how important a children’s hospital is for kids like him.