Number Four at Twenty-Four

Hello family, friends, and supporters! Thank you for your gracious time. My name is DaMarkus Milner and I'm writing this on behave of my family and more importantly my beautiful wife Porscha. She is currently awaiting to undergo her 4th Open Heart Surgery at the age of 24, something most people will never do in a lifetime. If you've questioned whether or not miracles still exist in this crazy world we live in, then stick around because the story I am about to tell you is an inspiring example of what one might consider a true miracle.

As a young single mother, Angela thought she hit the jackpot with a baby who slept 19 hours out of the day and never cried. Little did she know, her baby girl had a very serious heart condition that required a great deal of attention. After about two years of the same behavior, she took Porscha to multiple doctors. They all said she was lucky to have such an easy baby and that she was healthy. However, Angela knew something was up. She followed her motherly instinct and took her in for one last visit only to be informed that her 2 year old would need Open Heart Surgery immediately. Days later Porscha went through her very first surgery. Angela nursed her back to health and knew from here on out that the journey was not going to be easy. Several weeks after, Porscha could not be held under her arms and had multiple fevers spiking to the 106 range. As crazy as its sounds, this was just the beginning...

The next twelve years were a breeze; relatively speaking. Porscha did not have any issues with her heart until she went to the doctors for a sports physical. Now 14, she was told she needed a second Open Heart Surgery within a month or she could run into heart failure. A month later she went under the knife again but this time fully aware of what was going on and knowingly terrified. She had spent a week in the hospital recovering with her grandmother Dianna right by her side. Although her grandmother was fighting for her own life battling cervical cancer, she made it a priority to put all her time into Porscha's recovery. What a blessing in disguise, if she had decided not to play sports and didn't go to get that physical, she could have done damaged her heart perhaps with fatal consequences.

When I met Porscha in high school, I was not quite sure what I was getting myself into but I did know that I would do anything for this girl. Her charm coupled with her passion to help others separated her from any other women I had ever met. The fact that we both understood that we had to fight for her life day by day, made us an inseparable match. Roughly a year and a half after dating, Porscha's cardiologist told her she needed a third surgery and that her valve would not last much longer. Before anything could settle in, we were forced to make one of the biggest decisions any 18 year old couple could ever imagine to make in their life: There were two options; one: she could replace her worn down valve with a mechanical valve which are usually made from metals or option two: replace it with a biological pig valve. Now mechanical valves are strong, and they last virtually an entire lifetime but because blood tends to stick to mechanical valves and create blood clots, patients with these valves will need to take blood-thinning medicines for the rest of their lives which prevents them from having children. On the other hand, pig valves are made from tissue and therefore don't need any medication and they can have children; however, the pig valve last approximately 10-15 years which would require at least one more surgery. The answer for us was quite obvious but not so clear to our families. Porscha and I shared a dream that one day we wanted a family of our own. We thought we had it all planned out. We would both go to college in our hometowns, graduate, get good jobs, and start a family. So in the end, that is what we decided to do.

Time flew by and before we knew it the surgery was the next morning. We wanted to bring Porscha into the New Year with a good heart so we had it scheduled on New Year's Day. While most people were counting down for New Years , we were anxiously awaiting the surgery. We just wanted it to be over with so that we could move on. It's nothing like waiting for a scheduled cesarean or any other type of surgery because you never know if the surgery will be successful. It was by far the scariest day of life. When we arrived at the hospital, they told me to say my goodbyes. At the time I wished it was me laying in a gown on the hospital bed. For some odd reason I was in denial that this was actually occurring. As the nurse put her down with anesthesia, not knowing if I would ever see my angel again I softly kissed her forehead and told her as they rolled her away, "don't you leave me darling: we have so many great things ahead of us. Don't you leave me." And just like that she was out and letting go of my hand and being carted away like some prized stuffed animal won at a local fair. Thankfully the surgery and recovery were a success and we able to return to our life.

December 13th, 2009 we had a beautiful little girl named Lola. It was sooo exciting. We were living our dream just as we had planned. Because Porscha's heart was doing so well, her doctor advised us that if we wanted to have another child that we would have to do it soon. This was great news! Although we were inexperienced and very young, we knew that with the support system around us and our devotion for each other's dreams that we could do this. We had a very busy year ahead of us. By May 18th, 2011 we had gotten married and by December 15th, 2011 we had the blessing of bringing in a very big, healthy, and handsome baby boy that we named Blake. We were happy as ever showing off our beautiful babies. We really do feel as if our kids are a true blessing especially because the risk that Porscha took on in order to have them. We pray as our kids get older that they will understand mom's and dad's decisions to have them at such an early age and take into the considerations what the consequences were so that they will appreciate life for what it is and not for what they don't have:

Things are going well me in the process of opening up our own business but the battle is far from being over. Porscha went back to her cardiologist for a routine checkup three months ago and was told that her valve is narrowing rapidly and that she would need a FOURTH surgery. This was unexpected since we were under the impression that we had at least ten more years until the next surgery. That would have given us the much needed time to have things figured out. Now with two small kids, Porscha is stressed out to the max asking herself questions like will she make it threw her fourth surgery? Will she be able to watch her kids grow up? Is she going to miss the first day of school? Do you blame her for worrying about what will happen next? I wouldn't be writing this letter to friends, family and believers if we weren't in need. We believe in hard work and have instilled work ethic into our kids but there comes a time in life where you can only do so much alone. We are asking for any size donation that will help contribute to the cost of the surgery and the bills that come along after as she will not be able to work right away. We want to put this behind us soon enough but this won't stop the bills from coming in and hungry stomachs. I just graduated college and trying to match her earnings alone just won't be realistic right away. With student loans repayments right around the corner, I am in no situation to pile on more debt. That is why I am asking for as little or as big of help as possible. We want to get through this and pick back up where we leave off.
We will continue to share her story until she is in a comfortable state and can find her independence once again. We understand times are hard for everyone and so if donations are not possible at the time, we ask that you can share our story with friends and family.

Thank you and God Bless,
The Milners.

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Damarkus Milner 
Puyallup, WA
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