How Can Cure And Curse Be So Intertwined?

Porter Froetschner is likely one of the most cherished children in the state of Kansas.  You have to cherish days when they’re numbered.

As a reporter, I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced a dichotomy of feelings both inspirational and gut-wrenching like my Monday with the Froetschners.  I’ve seen murder victims’ families embrace at a trial conviction and an entire town rally around rubble.  This wasn’t the same.

“I will outlive my son, and that kills me,” Elisha Froetschner cried.  The dichotomy from Mom couldn’t have been any clearer.

He's a one-year-old boy with a personality. Stop trying to not smile.

Just weeks before he was born, Porter’s parents found out he had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  The left half of his heart (the part that pumps blood to the rest of the body) was undeveloped.  HLHS is an extremely rare heart defect.  Forty thousand children a year are born with congenital heart disease, and only a little more than 1% have HLHS.  Treatment options include a heart transplant (rare, infant donor hearts are few and far between) or a three-surgery temporary fix.  Porter had his first surgery on his seventh day.  His life expectancy barely puts him past his teen years.

Frankly, we could use more parents like Adam and Elisha Froetschner.  They are both blessed to have their son and experiencing a pain I can’t describe knowing he’s with them for a relatively short time.

I’m not much for mushy.  The single most glaring impression I had while in Kinsley was how impressed I was when I walked away from the interview.

Porter was supposed to struggle developing mentally and/or physically.  He hasn’t.

The Froetschners were also supposed to be struggling.  Doctors got in their face.  “Don’t wish things were a little better.  You might as well wish the whole thing away.  That’s not real.”

You get the impression when talking to Adam and Elisha they were two entirely different people 21 months ago.  People who went to the grocery store, people who saved for their children’s college education, people who thought their son would attend college.  They’re stronger now than what they wanted to have to be.

The Froetschners talked to us because this week is Congenital Heart Disease Week in Kansas.  They wanted to get the word out to expectant parents to educate themselves.  They found out about Porter’s condition on pure luck.  Their family physician thought Elisha looked a little big for her point in the pregnancy and ordered an extra ultrasound.  It saved Porter’s life.

Hopefully, the Froetschner’s message is resonating.

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One Response to “How Can Cure And Curse Be So Intertwined?”

  1. foreveradog Says:

    Very good well informed ty you for the information. From the guys at Bloggles

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