Blue girl's 5th op for a normal life

PHOTO: Blue girl's 5th op for a normal life

KUALA LUMPUR: Although 6-year-old Aw Xin Yun has undergone a Fontan operation to put right her blood circulation, she still suffers from some degree of blueness.

She suffers from single ventricle and pulmonary atresia where there is no connection of blood vessel to the lungs.

The Fontan procedure ensures the blood from the upper and lower parts of her body is directed to her lungs, bypassing her heart.

To date, Xin Yun had undergone four operations and she has a final one next year before she is fully on the track to a normal life.

She underwent an eight-hour operation and was in the intensive care unit for three days. She is now recovering, but needs to go for weekly blood tests as her blood level is low.

She also has to take the drug warfarin and vitamin K.

Xin Yun's mother, Lim Lee Kin, 34, a tuition teacher, said before the operation, her daughter was 90 per cent short of oxygen.

Now, she is experiencing 75 per cent deficiency.

She has had three previous surgeries and her family had spent close to RM100,000 (S$50,000).

It has been financially exhausting as her father, Aw Sai Sai, is a contractor earning RM1,500 a month and has to support two other children.

"She still turns blue whenever she gets too active. Her face, fingers and toes become bluish. As she loves dancing and singing at home in front of the television, she gets breathless whenever she overexerts herself.

"We need to keep an eye on her and remind her to slow down," said Lim.

Otherwise, Xin Yun is a good kid and toes the line in school with her teachers complimenting her on her good behaviour.

She follows her teachers' instructions and is mindful to finish her homework.

"For her recent surgery, Xin Yun was very concerned about not attending school for several days.

"She kept on and on about skipping classes and the homework that would pile up," said Lee, with some exasperation.

During the AIA Have-A-Heart Fund cheque presentation recently, where she received RM20,000 to defray her RM50,000 surgery, Xin Yun brought along her homework.