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Dayshua Garnett 
Dayshau Garnett and Family

Dayshua Garnett: Leans on Family Through It All  

Casual observers would never notice the difference between Dayshua and Dayvion Garnett, both 9. In fact, the girls insist that only two people - their mom and their grandma - can tell them apart.

But visible at the top of Dayshua's white tank top is a distinguishing mark - a scar that reminds her of surgeries she had as a baby to repair Tetralogy of Fallot, a heart condition she was born with.

In the past nine years, those have been followed by one surgery to replace her pulmonary valve, and two subsequent valve replacement surgeries following bacterial infections in her heart.

"She's had a tough course, but Dayshua recovers easily and bounces back every time," said Dayshua's cardiologist, Su-Chiung Chen, MD, who notes that multiple infections are not common among patients with Tetralogy of Fallot, and the cause of Dayshua's are not known.

Different Lives

For two girls who have so much in common, one thing that sets the sisters apart is the five surgeries Dayshua has had throughout her life. While Dayvion spends her time in dance squad and cheerleading, Dayshua has had to avoid athletic acitivity because of her heart condition.

One month after St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz made headlines in October 2005 because of a heart infection called endocarditis, Dayshua was hospitalized with the same condition.

Photos and Memories

In March 2006, she had valve replacement surgery as a result of the endocarditis.

"This was the first surgery she remembered," said Dayshua's mother, Lawanda Hinton. "It was a touching moment for me as a parent, because I brought out pictures of her first surgery before Dayshua went in in March, and they're laughing because she had a pacifier in her mouth and a little bow in her string of hair. And at the same time, I'm crying because I remember. She doesn't remember."

In fact, Dayshua's memories of Cardinal Glennon are all pretty good.

"I like the playroom, the doctors and nurses ... everything! Well, the food only a little, because sometimes when I'm there I can't eat," she said.

'She's Doing Well'

Dr. Chen, who sees Dayshua every six months for a checkup, says she's making good progress and has a bright future ahead.

"Right now, Dayshua has a good result, and if she doesn't get any more infections, she should be okay," she said. "She's doing well."

 

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