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Six-year-old Kitchener girl recovering after lung transplant
KITCHENER — Kitchener's Ava McIntyre is recovering in hospital again, this time after a double lung transplant.
|Ava McIntyre is recovering in hospital after a double lung transplant. - Family photo |
Her mother, Denise McIntyre, said she was terrified the night before considering that Ava suffered serious and unexpected complications twice during surgery.
"That was a scary night," McIntyre said. "I kept her up as late as possible."
The pair's difficult journey started in April, when Ava went to the hospital for scheduled surgery to repair a hole in her heart that she had since birth and suffered a massive stroke.
The six-year-old needed two more surgeries to remove the blood clot in her brain and then part of her skull to relieve swelling, followed by a stay in a rehabilitation centre to regain abilities impaired by the stroke.
When Ava returned to the Toronto hospital in mid-August so that the piece of skull that was removed could be put back in place, her lungs went into crisis while under the anesthetic and the medical team worked for hours to stabilize her.
While on life support, testing began to see if she was a candidate for a lung transplant.
On the Labour Day weekend, she was added to the transplant list. On Friday, a match was found.
"I was terrified. I didn't even want her to have the transplant," McIntyre said.
But she knew this was her daughter's best chance at growing up happy and healthy.
Along with the worry about another operation, McIntyre's heart was heavy knowing that finding an organ match for her daughter meant that another family lost their child.
The wait was long on Saturday while Ava was in the operating room yet again, this time for nine hours to get her life-saving lungs and also to fix her heart from the previous repair.
"It went perfect," McIntryre said. "She looks good."
Ava woke up Monday morning after the sedation was lifted. Her first words were "mommy" and "lovey," which is her favourite stuffed toy. She then asked for chocolate milk and ice cream.
McIntyre said the transplant will be a lifelong journey for her daughter, and she'll require medications to keep her body from rejecting the lungs.
The little girl will stay in the hospital for about a month, and it's likely rehabilitation will be needed again because her side affected by the stroke is weakened from being in a hospital bed for so long after the last complication.
McIntyre said she thinks they'll probably be back home in November.
"As of right now, she's doing great and we're hoping it's going to stay that way," McIntyre said. "She's such a fighter."
by Johanna Weidner Waterloo Region Record/AA
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