I’m excited to tell you about my daughter, Cuy, (pronounced Coo-ee, a nickname that means “guinea pig”). Cuy will be four years old this spring. Cuy is the silliest, funniest, most rambunctious kid you could meet, with a sense of humor that seems far beyond her years. But Cuy wasn’t always bouncing off the walls. When she was just 4 months old, Cuy suffered a massive cardiac infarct as the result of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect, in which a plumbing problem called ALCAPA caused her heart muscle to be receiving de-oxygenated blood instead of the oxygen-rich blood the heart needs. As the heart tissue became deprived of oxygen and began to die, structures in her heart were sustaining damage in a cascading pattern, including her mitral valve. All of the stars must have aligned just perfectly, because Cuy’s heart trouble was detected almost immediately by an astute primary care physician, and we found ourselves at Children’s Hospital in Aurora that same day, preparing for emergency open-heart surgery. From the moment we walked through the doors at Children’s to the day we were discharged weeks later, and in every follow-up visit since, we have been overcome with awe and gratitude for the immense pool of talented doctors, nurses, techs, and support staff that turned a potentially catastrophic situation into one with a happy ending. Some of the damage to Cuy’s heart was irreversible, like the loss of the function of her mitral valve, and from the beginning they told us it was likely she would need further heart surgeries and intense medical management for her condition. However, Cuy didn’t get that message, and she has continued to grow and thrive and blow through milestones like a kid on a mission, and her latest echocardiogram studies show just a trace of the damage that was once so devastating. In fact, just last week she was weaned off the last of her medications. Other than the scar down her chest and her ability to perform a 12-lead EKG on herself, you would never know Cuy had ever been anything but the healthiest, wildest kid.
Cuy continues to inspire us with her remarkable energy and drive
It is Memorial Day 2019, and 3yo Cuy is preparing to run the Bolder Boulder. Watch her on the Channel 9 News