By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON — —
A kiss on the forehead, and the squeeze of a hand are small victories the family of Mariah Anderson are claiming, following the 5-year-old Bluford girl's heart tumor surgery late last week.
"The surgery was completely successful," said great-aunt Debbie Bryant. "Everything that has happened has been within the realm of whatever normal is for this type of procedure, and she has responded well."
The surgery was performed on Feb. 28 at Boston Children's Hospital. Anderson is a preschool pupil at Bluford Grade School.
Bryant continued, "They put Mariah on an echmo machine to help her. It is life support, but it is only for her heart to rest and retrain. That portion of her heart, the left side, had not been working properly and it does not know how to pump so this retrains it."
Bryant, who has been in contact with Mariah's grandparents, reported that Mariah took a "vacation" from the echmo machine that would allow medical personnel to monitor and test her to make sure her reflexes and responses are accurate, and they are. "She did great through that," Bryant said. "They had her move her knee, she held her mom's hand and when Missy would take her hand away, Mariah would try to hold it again.The machine was never meant to be anything permanent; it's only a temporary thing to get her heart working and functioning properly."
The family has continually provided updates on the mariahandersonheartpage on Facebook. Mariah's mother, Missy, reported Sunday morning, "Mariah had a good night. They will slowly turn bypass down today. It will take about two- to three-days to get her completely off it." Later in the day, she posted, "Another 'holiday' for Mariah. Daddy got ready to leave the room and Brian asked her if he could kiss her on the forehead. She puckered up her lips for dad to kiss her lips. Her lips were moving and trying to say something but we never could understand."
Family members are hoping Mariah can be weaned off the heart/lung bypass equipment today, her chest will be closed on Wednesday, be weaned off the breathing tube by Thursday, and completely awake by Friday.
"The amount of support that people have shown to Mariah and her family has been greatly appreciated," Bryant said. Cards may be sent to Mariah and the family. Addresses are provided on the Facebook page.