Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 9, 2009

Three years ago, today, I learned about congenital heart defects.  I learned that a human being didn't require a whole heart to live. 

I wish the doctor that first diagnosed Zoe had a crystal ball instead of a medical textbook opened to the "critical aortic stenosis" page.  Had that doctor been able to relay all that our family has been through - both the triumphs and tribulations - I most certainly wouldn't have believed him. 

Three years ago, today, I never could have imagined our lives as they are now.

Zoe's Heart changed everything.  Literally.

Some days I'd do it all over again if I had to; some days I can't take any more.  I can swing from pure anger to pure joy in a manner of minutes.  It's a bipolar existance, really.

December will always be an emotional month for us.  It's the month (three years ago) we met our miracle workers.  Dr. John Stock who led us to Philadelphia and follows Zoe in Arizona, Dr. Anita Szwast who we lean on for Zoe's most critical times and Dr. Thomas Spray... well, he's the miracle worker who's reconstructing her tiny heart.  We were told he was the "world's best" and I've seen his handy work manifest in Zoe for the past two and a half years. 

The second half of my day today, as the clock approached 4:30 p.m. (the approximate time we learned that our baby would have to fight like hell to live), I fell increasingly silent.  It's nearly impossible to explain how vivid that moment is, and how easily I can recall it in my mind.
I played the diagnostic memory out in my head, ever-so-briefly, today.  That day and the days that followed were devestatingly hard.  Those days of devestation is what keeps me working like crazy for Sisters by Heart

Life has thrown me some significant curve balls, but I will never stop swinging.  As Caleb and I said from the beginning of this journey - "Whatever it takes..." 

We're proud of our little family - of how far we've come in the past three years. 

This afternoon, right about 4:30 p.m. as we were shopping at Target, a man walked up to us and said, "This might sound really crazy... you don't know me, but I know your family well.  I've been following you guys for some time through your blog."  We chatted for a few minutes.  We introduced him to Zoe.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect.  Three years later, almost to the hour, a complete stranger was brought to tears, in public, sharing in our journey, speaking of Zoe's incredible inspiration. 

Thank you, Chad.  It was a pleasure meeting you. Your timing was impeccable.

(Click on photo to enlarge)



  1. This brought me to tears. I love you, Lihn Family! And love the quote selected above. So fitting.

  2. Oh this is SO fantastic! I love the Lihns so much!!!

  3. Starting off the day with tears :) It's amazing how you never forget that feeling of overwhelming devastation, and can relive it every anniversary as it was were yesterday.It's like getting punched in the stomach. Although at times, I wish that day never happened, I know that it takes a special kind of person to mother a child who is given such a difficult journey. You are an inspiration to all of us, Stacey! I am truly grateful that Kellen's heart has brought so many incredible people into my life that I can't imagine living without :) Love you guys! xoxo

  4. Your post gave me chills! I think all us "heart moms" remember THAT moment. We too went to Dr. Spray after learning that he was the "best in the world". We will always be grateful to him and the incredible nurses at CHOP.
    Keep fighting the fight!