Kennedy's Pectus Excavatum Surgery in Arizona

Our daughter Kennedy was born with a chest wall deformity called Pectus Excavatum and has been dealing with its effects from it a very young age. Up until her mid-teens it didn’t impact her day-to-day life too much other than the cosmetic side of it (which came with a lot of teasing from her peers as well as depression and anxiety from it) or if she was running or playing too long and she would get winded easily.

From about the age of 16 Kennedy, has been dealing almost daily, with elevated heart rate, heart palpitations, stabbing chest pains, low lung function, easily winded, and the list goes on. Kennedy’s heart rate on any given day can range from 120bpm to 190bpm and as you can imagine, she doesn’t feel too great during these elevated heart rate times. We have always believed that it was all caused by her Pectus, however, the medical field here in Canada did not believe that it was causing any issues at all. After many trips over the years to the ER, cardiologists, pediatricians, different physicians, and meeting with 2 chest wall surgeons in Toronto they too did not feel that her pectus was entirely to blame, but couldn’t tell us what was causing the issues.

Kennedy and her mom did a lot of online research over the years and found a fantastic chest wall surgeon out of Phoenix, Arizona Mayo Clinic.

In June of 2022, Kennedy and her mom Lori travelled to Phoenix and met with the surgeon, who is rated as the number 1 pectus excavatum surgeon in the world. She assured Kennedy that all of the symptoms that she had been experiencing over the years were indeed due to her pectus excavatum. Kennedy’s heart and lungs are being compressed by her caved-in ribcage and causing them both to have to work a lot harder. ( both operating at 40% of their full capacity).All of the symptoms that we were told here in Ontario Canada, had nothing to do with her pectus (but no one could tell us any other reason as to why she was having these issues).

Fast forward to today, Kennedy is scheduled for her pectus excavatum surgery on May 16th, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona with the one and only Dr. Dawn Jaroszewski. During the surgery, Kennedy will have 3 or 4 titanium bars placed carefully under her ribcage. They will be in place for close to 4 years, and over those 4 years, the bones in her ribcage will eventually keep to the new shape and position in which the bars have put them in and her chest (heart and lungs in particular) will stay in the outward position. Another surgery will be needed to take the bars out of her chest and she should be able to lead a completely normal life from that point onward. Kennedy’s Mom Lori, Dad Brent and her boyfriend Mathew will be travelling and spending the 2 weeks in Arizona with her.

As you can imagine, with having to go to the United States for this surgery (it is performed here, however, no one in Ontario or even Canada has the expertise of putting in 3 or 4 bars) and we need to travel where the experts are for this surgery and the costs will add up quickly.

She will be required to stay in the hospital for anywhere from 1-5 days after her surgery and we will need to stay for approximately a week after her surgery so she can have a postop checkup a week after she’s released to be sure that everything is healing properly and her pain in under control and then at that time we will be free to fly home.

We can’t thank you all enough for helping to support our family and our daughter as we go through this journey for better health and wellness for our daughter Kennedy. Please keep Kennedy in your thoughts and prayers as we go through this difficult journey with her.

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Brent Shannon
Elmira, ON

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