Madison's father, Dennis Fuchs, said Madison has gained a pound since March 17. She currently weighs 11 pounds, 8 ounces.
Dennis and Linda, Madison's parents, with Madison on her first wagon ride.
"We are so glad to have our baby back," Dennis said. "It was nip and tuck there for a while. If she hadn't received the new heart when she did, Madison wouldn't be here today."
Dennis is anxious to thank everybody at the fund raiser who has helped. "Linda and I will be able to attend, but Madison will not be there. Doctors have warned us not to expose her to large crowds," he added.
Madison is the daughter of Paynesville native Dennis and Linda Fuchs, St. Cloud. Grandparents are Alvin and Vonnie Fuchs, Paynesville.
A benefit will be held Sunday, April 16, at the Roadside Tavern in Roscoe. The fund raiser and silent auction will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Funds raised will help cover expenses incurred during her hospital stay.
Sunday afternoon will include kids games, silent auctions, and music. Those attending are encouraged to buy a button and the chance to win $500 cash, or one of many other prizes.
Donations can be made to: Madison Fuchs Fund Raiser, Community First National Bank, 201 West James Street, Paynesville, MN 56362.
Her parents had no indication Madison, who was born Aug. 12, would need a new heart in October when she started to feel sick. They thought she either had a cold, was cutting teeth, or had an ear infection.
Madison was first admitted to the St. Cloud Hospital on Monday, Nov. 15, with an enlarged and weakened heart. Two days later she was transferred to the Fairview University Hospital because she started to have seizures. Doctors had run many tests but had still not discovered what caused her heart problem, Dennis said.
Doctors placed Madison on the heart transplant list on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Her parents were told there was an average waiting period of six to eight weeks for a heart.
A DNA test the week of Dec. 13, discovered what caused her heart problem...cardiomyopathy. The disease prevents the heart from pumping efficiently.
According to her dad, Madison had stabilized in early December. She continued to be in stable condition the next week.
Dennis said some children in the intensive care unit with Madison had come down with an infection in mid-December. Madison was receiving a new drug to protect her from becoming infected. If she developed an infection, she would have had to be pulled off the heart transplant list until she was better. To minimize potential infection, only immediate family members were allowed to visit.
Madison was holding her own until Christmas weekend when she developed a nonperfusing rhythm, which means her heart was beating, but she had no significant blood pressure. Doctors administered CPR and injected medicine to increase her heart's ability to pump blood. She was doing better in minutes, said Dennis.
"Madison continued to cycle between good days and bad through the holiday season," her dad said.
The week of Jan. 10, 2000, Madison had another nonperfusing rhythm episode. "This time it took a little longer to get her blood pressure back to normal. She was hanging on to life by a thread," Dennis said.
A new heart
On Jan. 12, the family received word that a heart had been found. According to Dennis, the doctors said Madison made it through surgery with flying colors. The family asked the transplant coordinator where the heart came from and were told, "it came from heaven."
Following the surgery, Madison's condition slowly improved each day. She was still very weak from being sedated for more than eight weeks, according to Dennis.
"We were hoping they would remove the breathing tubes soon so we could hold her. We hadn't held her since Nov. 15," Dennis said.
A heart biopsy was done on Jan. 20 to ensure that her new heart was not being rejected. The biopsy showed no signs of rejection.
According to Dennis, now it was time for mom and dad to learn what type of medications Madison would need to take and how to monitor her health.
By the week of Jan. 30, her medications had been reduced to less than half of what they had been a few weeks earlier.
The last week in January, Dennis was also able to get a smile from her, the first since November.
On March 17, Madison was discharged to go home from the hospital. However, she still needed to go back for checkups every Monday and Thursday. The number of checkups were reduced as she stabilized.
According to her dad, Madison was doing so well by April 2, the doctors cut back on her visits to every other week. "There have been no signs of rejection," Dennis said. "Her medications are being cut back to six times daily."
Fuchs has set up a website which helps keep people up-to-date on her progress. His site can be found at: www.cloudnet.com/~fuji.
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