Since Kate's surgery is less than a week away, I decided to tell more of her story for this week's Memorial Box Monday.
We have been piecing her story together over the past few months and I think we have most of it figured out. God has led us to numerous people who have been able to fill it in with bits and pieces. He is so amazing!
As you know, I knew of Kate for almost three years. I even saw her when we visited Hope Foster Home in 2006! She had only been at Hope for about two months and still looked pretty frail.
Her story is one of deep sadness but also the miraculous hand of God. She was with her birth family until she was six months old. She was abandoned at a hospital, presumably when her birth family realized the extent of her medical needs and could not pay for the surgeries she would need. We have a photo of her shortly after intake at her orphanage and she looked well-cared for. From there, we think the orphanage sent her to a hospital for a few weeks. We cannot figure out what happened, but she went from looking very good, to stage three malnutrition with horrible bed sores. She has many scars from these sores, and several portions of her scalp that are bald from them. We can only assume that the hospital thought she wouldn't live and didn't try very hard to keep her alive.
Meanwhile, God was at work! Love Without Boundaries had been alerted to a 'very blue baby' by a visiting Ex-pat from Shanghai! They arranged for Kate to be sent to a heart surgeon in a different part of China. When she arrived there, the staff was appalled at her condition and said that she would not survive a surgery due to the bedsores. The surgeon said she needed a minimum of three months of care for the sores and then he would consider trying to repair her heart.
She was immediately sent to Hope. Once there, they dressed her wounds and the attempt to save her life began in earnest. This is one of the first photos that LWB has of her.
Her bedsores were septic (infected) and there were many anxious moments that it was thought she would not make it. Her little body, so emaciated, was fighting to stay alive as well as fight off the infected sores. She slowly began to heal.
Within a few weeks, though, she was hospitalized with bronchiolitis. She managed to survive that and continued to grow and improve.
A month later, she got sick again, running a 105 fever. At the hospital, she tested postive for a highly resistant strain of E. Coli and endocarditis (a valve infection).
She was treated with a six-week course of IV antibiotics at Hope but her blood cultures continued to show sepsis.
There was great angst among the staff at Hope and the staff at LWB as to what would be the best treatment for Kate. If they waited until she was completely 'infection free,' her heart might deteriorate past the point of no-return. If they went ahead with the surgery, the risk of death was much higher, due to the infection in her heart valve.
The decision was to move ahead with the surgery. Within two weeks, she was back at Hope and doing well. AMAZING!! She was on oxygen and many medications, but she was alive! She is a fighter, but if not for God's hand of healing, she surely wouldn't have survived. She has been through so much in her short three years. We are very thankful for the many people God used to help her along the way and we continue to trust Him to take her through her surgery on Monday. She is in His hands and so are we.