Tristyn – Nappanee – Age 18
Tristyn is having one memorable senior year as he finishes high school during a pandemic. But working through obstacles is nothing new to this 18-year-old.
Tristyn was born premature at just 26 weeks. At five weeks old, he was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. At five months old, he had the main valve in his heart clamped. And at age eight, he had open heart surgery to patch a hole in his heart.
Pulmonary hypertension, a type of high blood pressure, affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart. The heart has to work harder to pump blood through the lungs, which can weaken the heart muscle. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, chest pain, bluish color to lips and skin, and racing pulse.
From surgeries to learning to deal with symptoms—such as shortness of breath with activity—Tristyn has grown up and into a normal teenager. He is into graphic design, anime, and computer games, and not surprisingly, his favorite subject in school is art. His mom, Shirley, says he does not let his diagnosis slow him down. In fact, his mom, brother, and three sisters have learned to look for signs that Tristyn needs to take it easy because he will push himself. “Every once in a while, his lips get kinda purplish blue,” Shirley says. “That’s when I make him sit.”
Tristyn visits his pulmonologist at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis every four to five months for checkups but is basically in maintenance mode. Two years ago, he started on a Remodulin pump, which administers medicine just beneath his skin and helps open his arteries to make the blood flow easier. He also sleeps with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine at night due to sleep apnea.
The family connected with A Kid Again through a nurse when Tristyn was starting on his Remodulin pump. He has received two Adventures in a Box and hopes to participate in an Adventure soon. Shirley says the support and outreach from A Kid Again have been great!