WARNING: Lots of Images!
This was a special Session. We ran a contest recently for a Giving back session. This was to donate my time and talent to someone who deserved it. Out of all the entries there were two that stood out. This is one of them. I am going to share Jax’s Story sent in by a sweet client, Meghan.
Jackson is 6 years old, and an awesome little man. He had his first liver transplant on March 8, 2006 and his second liver transplant on December 12, 2010. He is always smiling. He loves to play baseball and golf and his idols are Chipper and Tiger, of course!
Two weeks prior to March 8, 2006 Emily took Jackson to the Dr’s after she noticed that his eyes were looking a little yellow. They drew some labs in the office and immediately sent them to Doctor’s hospital, who then sent them to CMC at MCG for further evaluation. We learned there that Jax’s liver numbers were in the thousands when they should have only been in the TENS! After two weeks of labs everyday, a couple ultrasounds, and a liver biopsy, Jackson and Emily were taken via ambulance to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (Egleston) on March 6, 2006. Two days later Jax received a liver transplant.
He was immediately put at the top of the transplant list, nation-wide, but he was too sick to wait. The doctors decided to do a live donor transplant, their first in over 8 years, and took Jax’s father and mother (Emily) for tests to see if either were a match. Based on the size of Emily’s liver, she was chosen as the best match and went through a series of screenings, including an angiogram, and they admitted her into Emory right across the street from Jackson in Children’s. The next morning they took them both into surgery. There is a tunnel that runs under the road that connects Emory and Children’s, this is how they got her liver to Jax! So awesome!
Jackson was in ICU for weeks after the transplant. His stomach was swollen so it was a while before they could even close it up. He had to have multiple blood transfusions and fight a couple of infections as well as fix a bile leak. He went through over a months worth of physical therapy to re-learn how to crawl and walk and gain back his muscle strength from being bed-ridden so long. This is where he picked up the game of golf! :o) They were eventually moved to a regular room and then after another month they were able to leave the hospital and check into a home for transplant patients and their family’s. Shout out to the Mason House!!! :o)
When they were finally able to come back home to good the good ‘ol AUG they came back with a lot more stuff than what they left with! Jackson had 8 meds he had to take a day, morning and night, and he still had his pic line in for IV meds and a drain in his liver. Over the next 2 years Jax was in and out of the hospital for various things (once he even had to be AIR lifted to ATL – scary!!). I swear, Emily could be an honorary nurse after having to learn all the stuff she did! Changing dressings, administering IV meds, drawing blood, emptying drains….geesh! :o)
Jackson was hospital free for a good year and a half straight until he went to a clinic appointment one day late 2009 and they dropped the bomb that his liver numbers were up, he wasn’t growing, and the only thing to do is another transplant. Jackson was put on the UNOS transplant list in January, listed at a level 20 out of 40 for severity level. And then he was bumped up to a 30 and was told he was next on the list for his blood type and to be prepared to spend Christmas 2010 in ATL. Better chance for a white Christmas there anyhow…. :o)
Well, Jackson’s second liver transplant was performed on December 12, 2010. Both he and his Mommy were so strong. I went and sat with Emily in the hospital while the surgery was taking place. She was smiling and hopeful and we all prayed. The surgery was a success and they even made it home by Christmas! Jackson has gained more than 10 pounds since the surgery, and he just started back to school this week! Both Emily and Jackson amaze me. I don’t think I have ever met two stronger people in my entire life. They deserve this photography session more than anyone. They deserve to have this happy time in their life, with all the transplants and sickness behind them, documented with your beautiful photographs.
I can’t imagine all the sleepless nights Emily, and Justin had worrying over sweet Jax. When I got to the part of his second transplant I about fell over. Thats MY BIRTHDAY! I knew it was meant to be. When I got to meet Jax we had the best time. I really wanted to sneak off with him and keep him for myself. I truly adored this family and I am soo happy they get to continue on through this life together.