“The reversed arteries in his heart put him in cardiorespiratory failure”
The sweet sound of an infant’s first cry is one of the happiest moments for new parents. When Colton was born via cesarean section, his mom and dad were robbed of this special gift. The cruel reality was that their baby boy had started to turn blue because his little body was not getting enough oxygen due to his heart not pumping properly. At two days old, Colton had his first surgery to correct what his doctors had diagnosed as transposition of the great arteries, a rare heart defect in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed. This condition changes the way that the blood circulates, leaving a shortage of oxygen in the blood flowing from the heart to the rest of the body, a potentially deadly deficiency.
Colton’s surgery was unsuccessful, and he was put on an ECMO machine, an artificial lung located outside of the body that puts oxygen into the blood. It serves as a modified version of a heart-lung bypass, a vital treatment for infants in cardiorespiratory failure. His devastated parents were told to be prepared for their son not to make it. They watched helplessly as their newborn was placed in a drug induced coma for the duration of the ECMO treatment. It was the longest week and a half of their lives as they waited on bated breath for Colton’s heart to start beating on its own. A few days later, those desperate pleas were answered as Colton’s heart started responding to the treatment. An agonizing two weeks after his birth, Colton’s mom was finally able to hold her son for the first time, and after a month, he was released from the NICU.
Colton’s family assumed their nightmare was over until many years later. It wasn’t until he was in middle school that Colton started to display symptoms again. The sixth grader had instances where he felt like he was having a heart attack. Doctors placed him on a portable heart monitor, but the device did not indicate that there were any problems. The painful episodes continued for a year until Colton was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart muscle, and ventricular tachycardia, a type of heart rhythm disorder in which the lower chambers of the heart beat very quickly because of a problem in the heart’s electrical system. A month later, he was being prepped for surgery to insert a pacemaker into his stomach, an abnormal location for a defibrillator, but essential due to his prior operation. Colton also has scar tissue from previous heart procedures, necessitating the device to be run at the highest level possible, causing it to burn out more quickly. As a result, Colton has had two replacement pacemaker surgeries. This cycle is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Colton is an intelligent and funny 17 year old with dreams of becoming a sports broadcaster. He would watch ESPN 24 hours a day if he could. He likes catching the occasional football game or bowling tournament, but more than anything, Colton loves cheering on his favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Kids Wish Network is hard at work planning a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Colton; make sure to stay up to date by checking back soon for all of the details of his spectacular wish!