Kyla Robbins, who received a heart transplant over the weekend, is improving rapidly, her mother Mara said Wednesday. Another milestone has been reached – the removal of three of the five chest tubes she had, for which she is thankful.
It’s been a long journey for the Floyd County woman, who has been a patient at Duke University Hospital since early June. “She has been close to death multiple times, and the defibrillator saved her life a couple of times,” Mara commented. Kyla had many interventions to keep her going, and Mara added this week, “It’s a miracle at this point that we’re looking to moving to a regular room.”
Throughout her stay, Kyla has been surrounded by love with her fiancé Dylan and her mother by her side. Mara and Kyla have kept family and friends updated with posts on Facebook.
When she finally was released from the hospital last week to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, everyone was elated. Still waiting for a heart, she and her family headed to her favorite restaurant in Durham, The Saucy Crab, for some seafood. The same restaurant also supplied the food for her in-hospital 19th birthday celebration in October.
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Mara said they enjoyed being out doing things on Friday, and then on Saturday were back at the Ronald McDonald House, where Kyla was playing a video game when the phone rang. They had only been gone from the hospital 36 hours.
Everyone was in “complete shock,” Mara said after the cardiologist apologized for bothering them, but explained she needed them to come back to the hospital because there was a heart for Kyla. “I’m still in shock. It’s still hard to believe,” Mara said Wednesday.
On her Facebook page Sunday, Mara expressed gratitude to Kyla’s “incredible transplant team, her skillful and compassionate care providers” and “the greatest gift of all…her donor and her donor’s family’s gift of life.”
The surgery Saturday was Kyla’s second open heart surgery in two months. Prior to that first surgery, her organs were starting to fail, and a ventricular assist device (mechanical pump) was put inside her to function for her left ventricle. The device helped to keep her organs functional while waiting for a heart transplant, Mara said.
“Kyla was a lot stronger going into this surgery,” Mara added.
Although she is very tired at the moment – due in part to the medication she is on, she is “doing fantastic,” Mara said. “Her new heart is working beautifully. The worst part is the pain.”
Kyla took her first two steps Tuesday.
Life is different for Kyla. “She doesn’t have machinery keeping her alive anymore,” Mara said. “She has a new heart.” There are things to learn, too. “We’re being educated,” Mara added.
Everyone is looking forward to returning to Floyd, Mara said. “We have no idea of a time frame” for that return, she commented.
Kyla will have to stay close to Duke “for awhile” for checkups. She will have to be careful with her immune system. At the Ronald McDonald House, there are suites that allow families to have their own private kitchen, and that situation would work well for Kyla.
Donations for Kyla are being accepted at Medical Charities of Floyd; please note Kyla Robbins in the memo section of the check.
Also, if anyone wishes to sponsor a night or two at the Ronald McDonald House of Durham, you may do so by visiting http://www.rmhdurhamwake.org/ or by mailing a contribution to 506 Alexander Ave., Durham, NC 27705.