Open heart surgery number three for little fighter
IT'S the scary last step a Bundaberg family have to take to keep their son alive.
"We don't have a choice," says Casey Williams, the mother of little fighter Noah Lammi, who was born with half a heart.
His family is preparing for him to have open heart surgery to help prolong his life.
The three-year-old has defied doctors from the start.
He was given just days to live after being diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
Noah's chest shows the scars after the two open heart surgeries and multiple other medical procedures he has undergone in his short life.
But the cheeky little boy seems oblivious the strain his condition has placed on the family.
Ms Williams and Noah's dad, Luke Lammi, are confident Noah can again beat the odds and that the Fontan surgery will help change his life.
Tomorrow the family will travel to the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane to prepare Noah for surgery on Monday.
Ms Williams said the surgery would connect the bottom half of Noah's heart to his lungs to help oxygenate her son's body.
The second surgery Noah has already had connected the top half of his heart to his lungs and Monday's surgery would be the final step to keep him alive until he is old enough to have a possible double lung and heart transplant.
The mother of three has confidence in the surgeon who has done both of Noah's other surgeries.
"I feel numb now but know he will be in safe hands," she said.
"This will give him more time and when he is from eight years to early teens he will be old enough for the transplant."
Every time Noah has surgery Ms Williams fears he won't pull through and the worry is heard in her voice as she explains the operation.
"We have so many 'heart family' friends and know little ones who have less issues than Noah and they have passed away," she said.
"His first surgery was 100% death rate and he made it. Now this is only 8%."
Noah has two brothers and the pressure his health has placed on the entire family isn't easily seen.
Ms Williams said there were no fundraising efforts to help support them because there were "plenty of other families out there who needed more help".
Noah will stay in hospital for a minimum of three weeks with his mum and dad if everything goes to plan.
"There is a chance it could be months for his recovery and it will be hard for all of us but we will get there together," Ms Williams said.
The eight-hour-plus surgery will allow toddler's body to put more oxygen in his blood, which will give him a healthier life and reduce the risk when he becomes sick.
Ms Williams will keep anyone interested in following Noah's procedure updated on his Facebook page, Noah Lammi's Journey.
What is hypoplastic left heart syndrome?
When Noah was about to turn one, the NewsMail spoke with paediatric cardiologist doctor Scott Fox who said Noah's condition, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, was extremely rare.
Only half a dozen children aree born with the condition in Queensland each year.
"It's not common that's for sure, in Noah's case if his ductus had closed, he would have died days after birth," Dr Fox said.
"The condition is usually picked up before birth in an ultrasound and we are prepared to operate straight after they are born.
"Children with this condition sometimes are exercise intolerant, get fatigued quite easily and will need on-going treatment