When Cassidy Jade "C.J." Lisa was born in a Long Island hospital close to her home, doctors heard a heart murmur and she was quickly diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot, a complex congenital heart defect. The cardiologist at the hospital recommended that her parents, Traci and Vito Lisa, take her to Children's Hospital Boston to see cardiovascular surgeon Emile Bacha, MD.
Bacha knew that Cassidy would need several cardiac surgeries and mapped the plan out with Traci and Vito. Now, at only 5 months old, Cassidy has had three open heart surgeries, all performed by Bacha. She is scheduled to have one last surgery in three to six months. "Dr. Bacha calls her a work in progress," says Traci. "He has really put us at ease; he knew exactly what he wanted to do." Cassidy will also return to Children's for catheterization and to have her conduit, an artificial piece of the pulmonary artery, which was placed during her first surgery, replaced as she grows. Doctors can never be sure when this replacement surgery will be necessary it can range from a few weeks to a decade, but the Lisa family is hoping it won't be until her 10th birthday.
Tiny Cassidy, weighing only 9 pounds, remains a very happy-go-lucky baby despite all of her health care challenges. She loves her Baby Einstein flash cards and is constantly smiling. "I think we are better people for having her in our lives, and although she is only 5 months, she has made a difference in everyone's life that has gotten to know her," says Traci.
Vito agrees: And even though he admits that it can be difficult when your baby is in the ICU, especially when she is hooked up to monitors and you can't pick her up, he remains positive. "Everyone at Children's has been great. No one wants to be at the hospital, but if you have to be, this is the best place to be," he says. "Everyone from Environmental Services to the surgeons has been great and Children's saved her life."