“Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor—I will need them all.”
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Yes, it’s unfortunately true: our son, John Robert, needs open heart surgery again, and it’s scheduled for later this month at Boston Children’s Hospital. It’s been 8 years since his first operation, and he wasn’t expected to need this major surgery again until he became a teenager.  However, his medical team determined that he needs it now because he has grown so fast—3 inches taller each year for the last 3 years, meaning that his heart is already the same size as—or even larger than— an average adult heart.

The good news is that Dr. Pedro del Nido will again be the lead surgeon.  We know that John Robert is in great hands with Dr. del Nido, who is the Number One pediatric cardiac surgeon in the world who performs the “Cone Procedure” that John Robert needs.

My husband and I will be staying right by his side.  He really doesn’t remember his first surgery, and so far he’s handling the prospect of this upcoming operation very well.  And for our part, we’re trying to keep the worrying and the chattering about the surgery to a minimum—except when our boy wants to talk about it—and then we’re all ears.  I feel that it’s healthy to talk about it, and for me, it’s actually cathartic.

During John Robert’s early years, I used to write a daily blog whenever he was in the hospital, and a lot of my followers subscribed to his “Sparkysfriend” Carepage [Carepages is no longer active, we have created a new page on the CaringBridge site. Those interested in receiving updates should let us know and we will send you an invite to the page].  The first 7 years of my blogs were all grouped by month, and were eventually formed into my book, Motivation Now! There were many blogs about John Robert overcoming challenges, and I think that I will re-read my book to get the motivation I need to get me through this.

Everyone needs motivation to get through their challenges in life.  I have the cutest, bravest 11-year- old son.  We are all saying our prayers and hoping that the surgery is uneventful.

This summer, we were all in Punta Cana for a week.  Then we went to Canobie Lake Amusement Park, and finally had a wonderful time swimming at Foxwoods. All in all, it has been a great summer.  John Robert also did a week of Boy Scout camp, 3 weeks of summer school, a week of dance camp, and will be ending the summer with 2 weeks of drama camp.

We have done our best to keep him busy and keep his surgery off his mind.  He is going to be fine.  I repeat this mantra daily, and I now actually believe it.  He was doing so well, and even his scar was almost invisible. Nothing ever stays the same in life.

Change is the only constant.

With gratitude and best wishes,
Lisa Sasso, Executive Coach & Motivational Speaker

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