10 January 2013

More Anniversary Thoughts and Current Events

So we passed an amazingly poignant anniversary mark yesterday . . . Eddie collapsed Sunday night, January 8th, last year. It’s frightening, sobering, and exhilarating to think back to that point and impossible to believe how much our life has changed in between. A bit eerie today as I was scrolling through some of my work emails and found the following to my manager which could compete for understatement of the year:

"FYI, Sarah and I had a scare last night as Eddie, our 3 year old, lost consciousness, stopped breathing, and we couldn't detect a heartbeat. Doctors think it may have been a seizure of some sort, but still need to run more tests...after the battery of CT, EKG, and blood test they ran last night.

"He came home with us in the middle of the night...after he had recovered and after tests they said there was nothing specific they could do if they admitted him. But we have to go back today and will probably need to talk to a neurologist.

"Bottom line, he's ok now, but I may be AWOL for a couple hours this morning as Sarah and I work out next steps."

Two things have been on my mind as we hit the one-year mark. First, everyone should seek out CPR training of some sort . . . even if just watching a few YouTube videos. Eddie suffered what is known as an Aborted Sudden Cardiac Death . . . aborted because we immediately went to work on him with chest compressions. He had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, and while I had never actually administered CPR, I had participated in several training sessions of one sort or another.

According to the American Heart Association, administering CPR immediately after onset of cardiac arrest can increase survival rates by 3x. Unfortunately, only 32% of cardiac arrest victims receive CPR and, even more sadly, only 8% of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive. And if that isn’t enough reason to learn CPR, then consider the fact that four out of five cardiac arrest episodes occur at home . . . so the life you save will most likely be a child, spouse, parent, or friend.

On a related note, we’ve obviously thought a lot about potential opportunities to help drive awareness of Eddie’s medical condition, organ donation, patient advocacy, etc. If we’re going to be asked to pass through this kind of trial, it would be a shame not to do everything possible to help lighten the burden for others currently struggling through similar circumstances . . . or, looking forward, participate in efforts to minimize the suffering of future generations.

Well, for the past month-and-a-half, our high school freshman has been working twice a week at the University of Washington Medical Center Laboratory in Seattle. He has generously been allowed to participate in important stem cell studies at one of the most highly regarded regenerative medicine labs in the world. His sponsor, Dr. Charles Murry, is a leading researcher in the stem cell biology and regenerative medicine . . . basically looking for a way of helping the heart heal itself which would eventually make surgery and transplantation unnecessary.

If you’re interested in finding out more, your best bet is to ask him directly since Sarah and I are absolutely out of our depth. Have attached a few photos and video of the cells he has been feeding and growing in the lab . . . can you believe this? Yes, these cells are beating! They began life as fetal lung cells and have since been reprogrammed and are now functioning cardiomyocytes, or heart cells.


Continued thanks to all for thoughts, prayers, and kind words. The magnitude of what has happened to our family still hasn’t sunk in, but there are moments when I watch Eddie sleeping peacefully, or when he dances around the room with the other kids, or sleds down the hill with Sarah, that I honestly feel like I’d go through it all over again . . .


  1. What a GREAT Thing has happened to Our Family that EDDIE is so well, That so much faith and prayer have been sustained and answered and he is really still here with us. When thinking about it, I know that we have all been blessed! What a great age to live in with so much faith, so much love, so much support from so many wonderful people. Certainly the Drs. Nurses, support staff, at the hospital, using their knowledge, facilities and best guesses to make him whole. Wonderful people of Duval who supported and sustained the family through this trying time. I personally thank you as a Grandpa. I thank our Heavenly Father as well for helping us see his hand in all of this. The great advances in medicine and faith that have been shown are truly amazing to all who have witnessed Eddie spring back to life. Our Heavenly Father's hand is in it! It wasn't done in a corner. On now with Isaac, perhaps he will do some great work as well, but finding Eddie on the floor and moving so quickly is a great gift to us all. Life is so Precious.

  2. Eddie looks so great - so happy that your family life has settled down and you are all doing well!

  3. Wow, what a year your family has been through! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Way to go Isaac too for such an amazing science project!