written by Tom, Super Duncan’s dad
Hello World!! The Whisinnand Family would like to introduce you to our little man, Duncan!! He is our first child, was born in September of 2011, and will change our lives more than we could have ever imagined.
According to doctors Duncan was growing and developing as normal as could be. He was meeting all of the usual developmental milestones and seemed to as healthy as could be. Except, he kept coming down with a pretty persistent cough. Our primary pediatrician ordered a chest x-ray, and noticed that his heart seemed a bit larger than what would be considered “normal”. That is where our heart journey begins.
Duncan was scheduled for a heart echo in early December of 2012. That appointment will forever be burned into my memory. It was a Friday night and our appointment was the last one for the day. By the time the echo was being conducted, it was 4:45pm and the technician told my wife, Kelly, and I that we would get the results the following Monday or Tuesday. After a while, the technician told us that she was going to see if there was a doctor available to consult with us that night. As soon as I heard that I looked at Kelly, and knew that something in that echo was not right.
When the doctor came in, our worst fears where confirmed. Our son, our first born, our little guy who was developing as normal as ever had a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD). Duncan was diagnosed with Coarctation of the Aorta and Bicuspid Valve
. We were informed that he would need surgery, sooner rather than later, and that somebody would be in touch to make the appointment. After getting that information Kelly and I headed straight for the only place a girl wants to be when she gets bad news, her mom’s house.
Over the weekend, we totally freaked out. We researched exactly what Duncan’s heart defect was and what the surgery and recovery would entail. We worried ourselves sick and couldn’t keep our arms from giving Duncan hundreds of extra hugs.
When Monday came, we both headed back to work with heads full of worries. I had always thought that sometimes in life, when things get really tough and you don’t know what to do, or who to turn to, God take care of you. Well, the Monday after the worst weekend our our lives, I was fortunate enough to have Kitty Burton, walk into the office of the school where I was working. I had known Kitty for a couple years and had known about her work helping “Heart Heroes”. Heck, my school had even held fund raisers to help kids with CHD. Never in a million years, would I have ever imagined that my child, my first born, my little boy would have a Congenital Heart Defect.
Thank God that Kitty was there that Monday. She was very understanding and took her time to help me understand that my family was not alone and that we WOULD get through this!!
The day of Duncan’s surgery came. It was December 19th, 2012. Our little guy was a rockstar and the surgery went well. Even though everything went well, nothing prepared Kelly or I for the helpless feeling of seeing your child post-op. All we could do is watch his numbers and hope that they would return to normal quickly. Eventually Duncan came through and began his journey of recovery.
Watching your child recover from heart surgery is absolutely amazing! Kelly and I would celebrate every bit of his personality that would return little by little. He would smile, then he would laugh, then could sit up, then could drink and eat. Throughout our stay in the hospital, we knew that we not alone and that other families had gone through the stress of watching their little one recover from an invasive surgery to treat a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD).
After a few days, and a family Christmas celebration, in the hospital, we were able to head home. It felt like a true life Christmas Miracle. We where sent home on Christmas Eve 2012. The Whisinnand’s would be spending Christmas at home!!
Duncan continued to be on blood pressure medication for another 18 months, but thankfully there would be no other complications for our Heart Hero!! Our family has continued to grow and we have been blessed with a little girl, Jersey, who has no heart issues.
Ducan is now an amazing, full of energy, non stop, kindergartner. He loves life and doesn’t seem to get tired of new experiences. He knows that he is a Heart Hero and LOVES to help out with the Superhero Heart Run, that Heart Heroes puts on!!
The Whisinnands wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!! We hope that you find peace and joy during the New Year!!