Colman was born March 30, 2004 with a combination of congenital heart defects known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which is fatal within the first week of life without surgical intervention. Colman’s first open-heart surgery, the Norwood Procedure, was performed when he was just three days old. Then he underwent his second open-heart surgery at four months old and his last open-heart surgery was when he was three years old.
Other than hospitalizations for heart surgeries, Colman was a healthy child. He would become tired more easily than his brothers when playing, but if you didn’t know he was a “heart kid,” you probably wouldn’t even notice it. But when Colman was eight years old, he went into heart failure and developed plastic bronchitis. We were then transferred from our home hospital in San Antonio to Texas Children’s Hospital to be evaluated for a heart transplant. Through medication and careful monitoring, we have avoided a transplant at this point and Colman is back to doing well and feeling great. When Colman was invited to go on a Hunt with Heart trip, he was ecstatic. He loves the outdoors and often expressed his disappointment that he was unable to attend summer camp in the Texas Hill Country with his brothers. Colman returned from his Hunt with Heart trip with new friends—heart friends, who were exactly like him. Colman had lots of fun stories to tell about everything from learning to shoot a rifle to tracking and shooting a ram.
Colman is now 14 years old and a freshman in high school. He enjoys tennis, golf, and beating the pants off his brothers in every single game of chess they challenge him to. And he loves to hunt when he gets the chance!
Alex was born March 1, 2002 at a local Texas hospital about 4 weeks early. I wasn’t able to hold him yet since he had to go get checked because his murmur was louder then normal. He had an echo done and that’s when they came with the news. He was born with several defects to his heart, the main one being Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. He had a multitude of heart issues, heterotaxy single ventricle, complete atrioventricular canal defect, atrioventricular discordance, double outlet right ventricle with severe valvar and subvalvar aortic stenosis, crisscross pulmonary arteries, and coarctation of the aorta. I was able to see him for a few minutes when he was about 8 hours old before he was transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital. Alex had his first surgery, the norwood, at 8 days old on March 9,2002. He did really well and was in the hospital for around 2 months before he came home. He was so little bitty around 4.8lbs. It’s so hard to imagine him that small now. There were a few up’s and down’s but nothing major. When he was 5 months old on July 19 he had a heart catheter done with two stints put in for the coarctation of the aorta. It was suppose to be a short visit but we ended up staying for a week due to a bleed behind his bladder. When he was 6 months old on August 28th he had his second surgery, bilateral bidirectional glenn. He did really well and was discharged 4 weeks later. Alex was a happy kiddo and loved to laugh when he was little. Very active and didn’t have many issues throughout the toddler years. Right before the age of 4, on February 14, 2006, happy heart day, he had the fontan surgery. This one was a little bit more scary since he had a bleed and had to do an emergency open at bedside on the 16th but this strong boy kept on fighting. Up to date Alex is doing extremely well. He joined Hunt With Heart in the fall of 2014. Alex has always loved shooting guns, being outdoors, and 4-wheeling. I always wanted to take him and his sister hunting but time and work just didn’t work well. Alex and his dad went on his first hunt at Beaver Creek Ranch where he was able to shoot his first ram. We were so proud of him and he was even happier. Over the years Alex has been able to go hunting 3 times and loves every trip. Hunt with Heart has provided him with an experience of a lifetime and he will always be a member of this wonderful group. At the strong age of 17 now he is doing extremely well. He loves to go to the gun range to practice, ride his bike, play video games (of course), and learning how to drive. His sister, Liz, has been a big help in his life and he adores her even though they have the sibling fights. Alex has always been a fighter when it comes to his health. He is always trying to do things better and learn as much as he can. His heart is doing awesome with no complaints from cardiology. Alex loves life and can’t wait to see what the future will bring.