I've been quite inspired lately, and after a long hiatus after the world trip, I've finally been picking up my camera again. The snow fell thick on Toronto yesterday, and my brother's apartment balcony on the twenty-second floor was the perfect place to watch the sky clear again.
Would you believe that these photos are both of the same view?
I'm Ali, wife to Phil and mama to Zoe and Ethan. We spent the past 6 years living and working with Mercy Ships on board the world's largest non-governmental hospital ship, the M/V Africa Mercy, as nurse, electrician, and ship's baby respectively. On board the ship, we worked with a team of volunteers from over thirty different countries, providing free surgical care and healthcare development, bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor in West and Central Africa.
In March of 2014, during a routine ultrasound, we found out that our son, Ethan, has a four-in-a-million condition known as heterotaxy. He has major congenital heart defects, and had his first open heart surgery before he was a week old. Although the future for our son and our family is uncertain, we are more than ever convinced that God will be faithful to lead and guide us through this new season the same way He has in the past.
(I've had a big problem with spam comments around here and literally don't have the time to sort through all of them, so comments on all entries before Ethan's story began have been turned off to keep the numbers down. I moderate all comments on new entries, so don't worry if yours doesn't show up right away. If it won't let you post, please e-mail me at alirae[at]quist[dot]ca. I love hearing from you!)
ali (that's me!)
Due on the Fourth of July and born on Canada Day, Ethan has given us so much to celebrate. He had his first surgery when he was six days old and amazed the doctors by being ready to go home before he reached the two week mark. Heterotaxy can affect every organ system, but so far Ethan seems to have escaped some of the common complications. While his heart has a number of complex defects, it's working well so far. His intestines actually formed correctly, and his lungs and kidneys are all functioning well. He does have at least five spleens, and it's assumed that they do not function, so his immune system is most likely compromised; he will most likely be taking daily antibiotics for his whole life.
Here are a few links that might be helpful, since the medical side of things can get pretty confusing with a heart this special. The surgeries listed for each of his heart conditions don't necessarily apply in our case, since we have to look at the big picture, not just each individual defect; we're still waiting to see how his heart grows before we decide what the next step, which will probably taking place between 3-6 months, will be.