OKC baby battles through heart defect, cancer surgeries

A Heart 4 Kids
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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Xavier Sadberry has never been outside. Since he was born, he has never left the hospital.

“When you have a doctor walk into your room just after you gave birth, and they tell you that your son is very sick you don’t know what to expect,” his mother Gina Sadberry said. “You don’t know if he’s going to make it through the night.”

Imagine holding your baby for the first time moments after birth. Gina didn’t get to do that. Doctors whisked away Xavier because of his serious heart condition. Every moment counts, including the special ones. There is a first for everything in life. All of Xavier’s were put on hold.

“You break down and cry, but you pick yourself back up and keep going,” Gina said.

Every morning Gina drops off Xavier’s older sister at school. Then Gina goes to work. For lunch? Gina spends her one hour lunch every single day at the hospital to see her son. She gets off work, picks up her daughter and they’re right back at the hospital every evening. That has been her routine for the last 10 months.

“I’m a different special kind of mother,” she said.

Perspective – Gina’s is humbling. You’re probably shaking your head right now wondering how.

“I’m very faith based. So I put my faith and my trust in God. I put it in His hands as he got it into Dr. Burkhart’s hands as he got it into Dr. Johnson’s hands, and for that reason, that’s why he is still here today,” she said.

Xavier was born with one pumping chamber doing the work of two pumping chambers. There wasn’t enough blood going to his lungs when he was born. He battled that, infections, emergency surgeries and cancer.

“When that happens, typically the outlook is very poor for being able to get through that and survive. I look at Xavier and think he’s been through that, another heart surgery and then chemotherapy, and he has done incredibly well for what most of us will go through in a lifetime,” Dr. Harold Burkhart said.

All that in his first five months of life, but before chemo and surgery to get rid of the tumor doctors found on his liver, Xavier had to be well enough to handle the procedure.

“We need to get his heart to this point before he can undergo that kind of surgery for his liver,” Burkhart said.

It was risky.

“They have the same anatomy as an adult, but everything is a lot smaller,” Johnson said.

Smaller patient, smaller instruments, smaller room for error. Dr. Johnson relied on Dr. Burkhart to tell him when it was safe to operate. When he got the green light, Dr. Johnson removed part of Xavier’s liver. His cancer is now gone, but not the tears.

“I cry all the time,” Gina said. “I don’t know how long Xavier’s going to live. He’s not the first case that was born with congenital heart defect, and he won’t be the last, but if his life and my life can be an example to give someone hope, then my son’s life is not in vain.”

Doctors hope Xavier will be well enough to be home for his first birthday. If you’d like to support the Children’s Hospital Foundation and “A Heart 4 Kids,” visit CHFKIDS.com/heart.

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