2 Months Old
May 19, 2018
On April 13, 2018, at just 6 weeks old, our sweet Sam was unexpectedly hospitalized due to a massive gastrointestinal bleed. Within 24 hours, we were escalated from Kaiser Walnut Creek Emergency Room to Kaiser Oakland Pediatric Unit to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. There, the surgical team confirmed that Sam had an aneurysm of his superior mesenteric artery (SMA), a major blood vessel in the digestive system. This artery branches off the abdominal aorta and supplies oxygenated blood to the pancreas and the lower parts of the intestine.
An SMA aneurysm is an extremely rare and dangerous condition. It carries a 40-60% mortality rate in adults and there’s no documented case of it happening in infants... until Sam. Surgeons and specialists from across the country quickly came together to figure out how to treat this literally unheard of medical anomaly. An arterial stent was out of the question due to his small size. Reconstruction wasn't the ideal solution as it wasn’t a guarantee that it would work. So the team decided to ligate the top of the aneurysm to prevent further blood flow into the affected area. The biggest risk with this method is that it will cut off the blood supply to Sam’s intestines, so his body would need to find new ways to feed his organs.
Led by Dr. Amar Nijagal, M.D., over a dozen doctors, surgeons, and specialists were on hand as Sam underwent his first and most risky surgery. It was the longest 6 hours of our lives. The next few days were a "wait and see" situation to see if Sam's organs would survive with indirect blood flow. Thankfully, they did and Dr. Nijagal was able to complete the surgery a few days later. Unfortunately just two weeks into the healing process, Sam experienced more bleeding that required another emergency surgery. In the end, the team at UCSF successfully sealed off the entire aneurysm and saved our baby’s life. The road to recovery could finally begin!
There’s no way I can accurately describe the pain our family has endured during this process. I wouldn’t wish the past 6 weeks on my worst enemy. But throughout 4 surgeries, 14 days on a breathing tube, 4 weeks in the ICU, countless blood transfusion, and nearly 2 months in a hospital bed, our Super Sam stayed his smiley and sweet self. The pictures prove what a happy boy he is! Our son's strength and determination continues to amaze and inspire us every day. He is truly a miracle.
Please note that this is not a fundraiser for ourselves or any medical bills. We simply want to put our loved ones' thoughts and prayers into action to help raise money for the incredible hospital that saved our son's life. The money we raise will directly help UCSF continue to provide the excellent care and research they are known for.
Love, Amber & Travis Pacheco