Our Riley Kid of the Week for this week is Cassi Bacon! The Bacon family is very involved with PUDM and Cassi’s sister, Kayla, is our Merchandise Executive this year for PUDM. Cassi’s story is told below by her mom.
Cassi was born on August 21, 2004, although her anticipated due date was a week later. During the afternoon on that day, I noticed that the baby was not moving around as much as she usually did. When we called our doctor, he suggested that we go to the hospital for a stress test. The test showed that Cassi’s heart rate was not responding to stimulus as quickly as the doctor would have liked. He decided she needed to be delivered as quickly as possible and performed a C-section that night.
It was apparent that something was wrong as soon as he lifted our baby girl from my womb. Cassi was quickly passed off to the awaiting pediatrician without me catching a glimpse of her. My doctor then said “The arm…is she okay?” When the pediatrician responded, “We’re working on her”, fear gripped me. Her Apgar scores were low, and I knew that was not a good sign either.
She was placed in the NICU and several specialists looked at her. It’s very difficult to explain what her arm looked like at that point. Each possible diagnosis was ruled out, and she was transported to Riley on Monday morning. The fear and anxiety that my husband and I felt as we watched the Riley Transport Team pull away with our precious baby was overwhelming.
At Riley, ultrasounds showed that several blood blots had formed in Cassi’s neck area. The largest of these had completely stopped the flow of blood to her left arm and the arm tissue was simply dying due to the lack of oxygen. I can still remember the day that the doctor told us that she would not be able to keep her left arm. It was too badly damaged and would have to be amputated. Hearing that news would seem to be the worst scenario possible, but after the fear of losing our precious little girl, our only question was, “When? Let’s do it and get our baby home.”
We spent the next week and a half waiting and watching our little girl become healthy enough to tolerate the surgery. My husband and I stayed at the Ronald McDonalds House after the second night and we relied on family members to take care of our older daughter, Kayla, who was nine years old at the time. Nurses sat with us, hugged us, brought me a footstool to rest my swollen feet upon, and patiently explained everything to both us, and our older, inquisitive daughter. The residents and fellow doctors were all amazingly patient with us as we asked question after question.
Cassi came through the surgery fine and was only in recovery for a short time. The NICU staff was amazed to see us walk back into their unit. The next challenge came when the bandages came off and we saw her ‘little arm’. As we prepared to go home, we learned how to change bandages, clean surgical wounds, and give injections. We were told that Cassi would need daily injections of Lovenox for 6 months so that all the blood clots would be gone.
Today, Cassi is a fantastic little girl who loves to be involved! She enjoys sports and has played soccer, basketball, and volleyball. She is currently swimming with our local swim club and was recently chosen to be a Student Council Rep for her class. Having one arm has really not slowed her down much. She rides her bike with ease and even attempted to zip line at her church camp last summer. Her willingness to try new things is an inspiration to us. She is truly amazing and does not let her physical challenge slow her down.
We are so thankful that we live so close to Riley and were able to get the help that we needed for our precious baby girl. Our family will be forever grateful for the wonderful doctors, nurses, and all the support staff at Riley.