Featured cherub of the week is CDH survivor, Evander Gunther. Evander is the son of Kate and Justus Gunther. Kate had this to share about her son:
“When Evander was born he was purple and we had no idea why. We had planned to have him stay on my chest for as long as possible as a newborn (hours), but here he was being taken away in seconds. We learned a few minutes later that Evander had been diagnosed with CDH. Our wonderful OB-GYN staff had missed this diagnosis, despite several ultrasounds prior to his birth. Within the hour, Evander was life-flighted to Phoenix Childrens Hospital and my husband was following behind in our car. By some miracle, I was able to deliver Evander without medication, which allowed my doctors to release me within 6 hours of delivery. The nurses at Mercy Gilbert were very supportive and as such would not let me look up CDH. With the knowledge they had, they did not want me to “freak out.” I didn’t do any research until Evander was two weeks old. I was scared and didn’t want to know!
At two days old, Evander underwent his first surgery to repair his diaphragm. The surgery was long, but very successful. We were lucky that his lung was about 50% capacity and due to being a full-term baby, he did not require ECMO. We spent nearly 6 weeks in the Phoenix Children’s Hospital NICU. All of the nurses commented that they could not believe his diagnosis of CDH and was described as a phenomenon. He was the biggest baby in the NICU and had the best red hair. We were sent home with an NG tube and oxygen. The tube was able to be removed within 2 months and the oxygen when he was 10 months. We dealt with a lot of reflux. At 14 months we learned that he possibly re-herniated and then through several scans and appointments, determined there was need for surgery. Evander went under a second repair at 16 months old. The surgery was successful and the recovery was long, but without hiccups.
Evander is a happy kid who constantly has a smile on his face. He loves “wees” or slides and runs with an extra bounce in his step. He also has Symbrachydactyly on his right hand, but it doesn’t slow him down one bit. You would never know how much this almost three year-old has overcome!
We are grateful for CHERUBS. Initially we felt like we didn’t quite belong with “normal” parents OR parents of CHERUBS. We learned that CHERUBS is a place for ALL kids with CDH and their families. We love being able to offer experience to those who are new to CDH as well as provide emotional support for the veterans.”