A Letter from our Surgeon

We sent Corey’s heart surgeon, Dr. Luca Vricella, a Christmas card like we do every year. In it I included Corey’s first report card (all As, one B). I knew it would have meaning for the man who saved Corey’s life many times over, as it did for me. I wanted Dr. Vricella to know that his dedication and sacrifice to save the lives of children like mine is deeply appreciated, more than words could ever express. I wanted him to know that we think of him often, and I wanted him to see, with concrete proof, the kind of life my heart child has. How smart he is, how beautiful he is, and how none of it would be possible without this talented and selfless surgeon.

Today I came home to find a letter in the mailbox. Here is what it said:

“Dear Mrs. and Mr. Fleming,

It was wonderful to receive your delightful holiday card with wishes for the Holiday Season.

Many thanks for keeping in touch and the great picture of you with Mason and Corey. Hearing from families and watching their children grow happy and healthy is one of the true blessings of our specialty. Let me thank you in particular for sending me his 3rd grade school report card, it meant so much to me. When I took the liberty of sharing this with my own father, he told me that he wished that my grades were as good when I was in 3rd grade!

Although as always a little late, let me wish to you and your family a wonderful 2014, full of health, happiness and prosperity.

Sincerely Yours,

Luca Vricella, M.D.”

Corey’s going to pass out when I tell him his grades are better than Dr. Vricella’s! I love that guy.


Top 10 List

Since I’ve recently written a book on raising a child with CHD, I’m reading a book on publishing.  The book suggests creating top 10 lists and blasting them all over the net as a means of promoting my book.  Everybody loves top 10 lists.  I’m still playing around with backgrounds and pictures, but in the meantime, I can type.  Image So a top 10 list it is!

Only what kind of top 10 list am I going to be able to write about raising a child with a major congenital heart defect that might end up being even remotely funny?  CHD is not funny.  So I started brainstorming and came up with a few ideas.
Idea 1. Top 10 Facts About CHD
Meh.  Not funny.  Informative maybe, but I’m not a doctor, and while I might offer some CHD facts in the book, they’re not meant to replace real medical advice.  So I scrapped that one.
Idea 2. Top 10 Pictures of Kids with CHD
Better.  But does anybody want to look at a bunch of other people’s kids with tubes and wires sticking out of them?  And still not funny.  I scrapped that one too.
Idea 3. Top 10 Responses to “Hey, where did your kid get that big scar on his chest?”
Now this one might have some legs!  Or teeth.  Or, er, something.  Let’s try it.
Top 10 Responses to “Where did your kid get that big scar on his chest?”
Number 10. “Walmart.  Aisle five.”
Number 9. “He just woke up one day, and there is was!”
Number 8, “His cousin gave it to him for his eighth birthday.”
Number 7, “Santa.  He misread the letter asking for a big CAR.”
Number 6, “The Tooth Fairy left it when she picked up his last tooth.”
Number 5, “Majorca.”
Number 4, “Bar fight.”
Number 3, “Freak duck pin bowling accident.”
Number 2, “He drank too much cider and fell off his little red wagon.”
Number 1, “A talented surgeon gave it to him while saving his life.”
So I’m still working on the photos in general, but this is a good one showing Corey’s healing scar after his surgery.