Twenty-three: the number of echocardiograms, as of yesterday, my son has had since he was two years old.
Jack was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy two months after me, and seven years after his oldest sister. We were all given the 33/33/33 prognosis; thirty-three percent get better, thirty-three percent stay the same, thirty-three percent get worse. If fear and dread are any measure, one of those thirds has always been much, much heavier than the other two thirds combined. And multiplied. By thousands. There are three of us, and three equally likely outcomes. The wait and weight have been excruciating.
Madison’s heart size and dysfunction have remained as they were found almost nineteen years ago. My own function has fluctuated, with the averaged result and current status being that I’m exactly where I was about a dozen years ago. Stability is such a wonderful thing, except for when you are wishing for improvement.
Still, I wasn’t prepared for yesterday’s news from Jack’s cardiologist. Jack has grown into his heart. It is amazing to me that I forgot this was even one of the possibilities. His physical restrictions have been lifted, except for weight lifting and tackling sports – which is totally ok with me (I am wholly anti-youth-football). My son has always been and always will be extraordinary. But now he gets to be normal. We made the dreary drive home from Duke through drizzle and traffic, excitedly planning his spring tryouts.
Though that 33/33/33 statistic was true two decades ago, huge discoveries in the treatment of cardiomyopathy have been made. While quality and quantity of life have both been improved, it’s still too soon to know what those new numbers are. I think I kind of like it better this way, not mentally divvying up our futures.