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This fundraiser ended on 03/30/13

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The family and friends of Tommy Lozano are raising money to help the Lozano family cover medical expenses after his transplant surgery.

Imagine being a young teenager, a time that is supposed to be the time of your life, and you are told by your doctors that you will most likely not live past the age of 16 without a heart transplant. You immediately think "I will never have a family. I will never have children. What's the point?" Now fast forward to your late twenties. You have met a woman who loves you and has given you one beautiful little girl and is about to give you another gorgeous baby. This is Tommy Lozano's story.

Tommy was born in 1983. Back then the testing they performed on babies was minimal at best. Tommy's mom and dad were sent home with what they thought was their healthy baby boy. 3 weeks went by and Tommy did not stop crying. Tommy's mom, Maritza, finally took him back to the hospital where he was born. She was told by the doctor that babies cry and she needed to take him home and figure it out. Being new to the U.S. she spoke very little English. A nurse that spoke Spanish told her that that was not normal and suggested she take Tommy to Texas Children’s hospital. He immediately had his first open heart surgery to fix one of many issues with his heart. He was born with transposition of the great vessels. Basically the tubes were switched in his heart and un-oxygenated blood was going back to his body and the oxygenated blood was going back to his lungs. His saving grace was the whole in between the 2 chambers of his heart which allowed the blood to mix so his organs got some oxygen. He was put on medication and at 3 ½ he had 2 more surgeries to correct an underdeveloped artery in his heart.

He lived a fairly normal childhood until he was a teenager and the damage to his heart was very evident. His heart was very weak and large and the doctors weren’t sure how much the medication could do. But he kept on the medication and continued to live as normal of a life he could. He started working at 16 and driving. At the age of 19 he met me, Brandy, at Cinemark where he had worked for a few years. We were instantly friends and soon began to date. He told me about his heart condition, but it didn’t faze me. I liked him and, for me, that was that. The day after we celebrated our 2 year anniversary, Tommy was admitted to the hospital. He had fainted while at home and didn’t know why. They kept him in the hospital for a few days and discovered he was having arrhythmias. Essentially, his heart was racing for now reason. He had been having these for a few years now but thought they were just part of his heart failing and never mentioned it to anyone. I was 19 and Tommy was 21. We were told Tommy needed to have a pacemaker/Defibrillator implanted into his chest. This would be a device to help his weak heart pump more effectively and if he continued to have arrhythmias, the defibrillator would shock his heart out of the arrhythmia. Tommy and I were both extremely scared. He had surgery on June 19, 2004. After he recovered from this surgery, Tommy was like a new man! For the next 4 ½ years, he lived a normal life. He went to work, school, bought a house, started a career, and got married. In March of 2009, Tommy had another surgery to replace the defibrillator’s battery. They only last 5-8 years so this was very normal but it was another surgery and scary like the other ones.

The next year in March 2010, Tommy and I found out we were going to be parents! No 2 people have ever been more excited than we were. The pregnancy was a completely normal one. At 24 weeks along, I had to have a fetal echocardiogram to look at the baby’s heart. Tommy’s condition is not genetic but because he was born with the malformation, there was a greater chance his children may have some sort of defect at birth also. Tommy and I went into this test hoping for the best but expecting the worst. The technician told us our baby’s heart was healthy! The amount of joy and relief for us could not be contained. We were both in happy tears as we left. On November 18, 2010 Tommy and I welcomed a beautiful baby girl named Alexis into the world. Little did we know 3 weeks later our world would be turned upside down.

Tommy had decided to take his vacation a few weeks after the baby was born. On December 10, 2010 Tommy had come home from yet another 16 hour day at work to start his vacation and everyone had just settled down for the night. Tommy was holding Alexis and I was enjoying watching my baby being rocked by her daddy, when Tommy suddenly started convulsing. He was not responsive and when he came too, he had no recollection of anything happening. I took Alexis from him and called my mom, at which time I saw Tommy’s defibrillator shock him over and over again, a total of 4 times within minutes. My parents came over immediately and took over watching Alexis while Tommy was rushed to the hospital. He spent the night in the ER and was transferred to the downtown medical center the next morning. Turns out he had been shocked the night before in his sleep and he was shocked once more the next morning. He had received 6 shocks in less than 36 hours. His doctors kept him there for a few days and determined a bad diet and lack of sleep (probably from having a new baby at home) was the cause of his heart racing for no apparent reason. His medications were adjusted and he was put on an anti-arrhythmia medication. He got to come home, but he was clearly sicker than he was before this incident. His doctors decided it was time for us to put him on the transplant list.

He started the testing and the evaluation. During this process we got some bad news. Tommy had Hepatitis C. This is a blood and liver disease that usually intravenous drug users get. Since Tommy is not one, the doctors came to the conclusion Tommy probably contracted the disease during one of his childhood surgeries when he may have received a blood transfusion. They didn’t do the testing on blood back in the 80’s that they do now. This particular Hepatitis is curable, but Tommy will never be able to have the treatment for it. Currently, his heart would not be able to handle the treatment. After he gets his transplant, the treatment would cause his body to reject his new heart. We also found out that his liver had been so damaged by the combination of his weak heart and the hepatitis C, that he would also need a new liver.

Tommy has always just taken his health issues in stride, but now that he has a family and is the main breadwinner for that family, he is struggling with all this new information. I have always been there for him and will always be there for him, but the financial stress this will put on our family is one stress I refuse to let him carry. Tommy has always worked. He worked a full 40 hours while attending college full time. Currently, he works 50 or more hours each week and never complains. Day in and day out he continues to amaze me, our family and all his doctors at how much he does.

His current diagnosis is level 2 congestive heart failure with stage 4 Cirrhosis of the liver. He is on the transplant list but is on the 3rd tier. Tommy is still very healthy for a guy with this diagnosis and he baffles his doctors daily. When Tommy does receive his transplant, he will be out of work for 3-6 months. What we are asking for is help with the money needed to cover his surgery and the money that will be needed to make up for the lack of income we will have while Tommy recovers. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your help and support. Lovingly, Tommy, Brandy, Alexis and baby number #2 (due in March 2013)

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