Tabatha Doherty

First post: Dec 26, 2021 Latest post: Jul 19, 2022

If you have been around Tabatha, you probably think of her smiling. She has a contagious smile and always seems to be finding the fun in life. Problems seem to her simply obstacles to the next time when she can laugh again. Tabatha is the wife of Tim Doherty, and they have a home in Annapolis, Maryland. Tim is recently retired from government work and Tabatha is currently working for the government nearby their home. Tabatha has earned a master’s degree in Geography from George Mason University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, loving her dogs Tugboat and Trixie, kickboxing, yoga, movies, paddleboarding and having a good time wherever she goes. Tabatha also loves volunteering for Best Buddies, an organization that seeks to foster one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). What you may not know about Tabatha is that she was born with an irregular heart and her life has been filled with a lot of medical intervention and care. Tabatha recently learned that she will need a 4th open heart surgery to correct issues in her heart so she can continue to thrive.

Tabatha’s mother is Felicia Hoynacki. Felicia will be Tabatha’s wingman through this procedure and recovery as she has been all her life. Felicia is a mother of four children who are now all adults, Candace and Tabatha when married to Jeff Wilson and James and Ryan with her current husband Jim. Felicia lives in Jim’s dream log cabin in New Hampshire where she enjoys home making, jazzercise, crafting and spending time with her family and friends. Lately she has been able to be a full-time grandmother to James’ son “baby James” as she is his caretaker while the parents' work. This has filled her days with more joy and hope. As a mother Felicia wants to keep pain from all her children and would like it if she could take Tabatha’s issues away. Knowing that these issues are in God’s hands, she is committed to the next best thing, going through these times with Tabatha.

This page is here to help you go through this latest medical treatment and recovery with Tabatha. We want to help carry their burden, not be a burden. We want to be there when needed and not when our help is not the best at the moment. This gives those who want to stay informed the opportunity to check in without being disruptive, and it allows Tabatha the ability to share and read your comments when she has the energy. This is a very complex procedure with what may be a long recovery period. Tabatha and the rest of the family will need your support and prayer as they walk through this, please pour on the love, well wishes, questions and prayers on this page.

This Surgery 2022:

The surgery will take place on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022. It will take place at Children’s National Hospital in the DC area, where she lives. What we need to know about Tabatha’s condition is that it is very rare. This means that in much of her treatment the doctors have little experience. In many ways she is a pioneer for the treatment of her condition. The doctors are the best at what they do, and they cannot say for sure what will happen from experience due to the rarity and complexity of her condition. Tabatha is currently a miracle. She has worked hard strengthening her heart to be able to do many vigorous activities. Tabatha enjoys life and wants to live as normally as possible. She is so strong.

A few months ago, Tabatha was at a family celebration where she was dancing and enjoying the celebration. After dancing she had an episode of blacking out. She visited the doctor and they decided to have her use a heart monitor, stop doing any vigorous activity (kickboxing etc.) and do some testing to understand what was happening. What they found was a minor leak in an area and that the pressure in the heart was not balanced correctly (The issue is much more complex so take this as the general layperson understanding). Basically, the blood flow needs to be corrected.

A successful surgery will mean that Tabatha will have increased blood flow which translates into a stronger heart that will last longer and a stronger body. A stronger heart and body mean Tabatha will be able to live life more normally and do the things she loves to do yoga, paddle boarding, dancing and spending time with family etc. Please pray that this surgery goes well, that there are no unnecessary complications or adverse consequences, that the doctors will have wisdom and knowledge to complete the surgery and that Tabatha and Tim will both be given strength to endure.

After the surgery may be the time, we need your support most. Please check in for updates on how to pray and support Tabatha and Tim as we see this through.

How did “we” get here? 1984:

Tabatha’s condition is known as dextrocardia with additional issues. “Dextrocardia is a rare congenital (present from birth) condition in which the apex of the heart is located on the right side of the body.” Mothers say it best so, here is the Christmas letter Felicia wrote to family and friends in 1984 explaining what happened at Tabitha's birth:

“It was a special day this January 17, 1984, at 4:17 PM, when our newest addition came into this world. We were in labor for about 9 hours, but the end result was a crying baby girl with curly red hair YEH YEH! Tabatha Lucile weighed 8 lbs. and 11 oz, she reached to a 21-inch length. Jeff [Jeff Wilson 1st husband] and I were very pleased and happy to have her. Because I am diabetic the doctors and nurses watched Tabatha carefully. It was on the second day of her life that they noticed her heart wasn’t quite normal. A chest X-ray told them her heart was (dextrocardia) tilted to the right side instead of the normal left. Due to this condition, they then explained she would need further tests and more experienced doctors, so they transferred her to Harbor General where there were a group of Pediatric Cardiologists. The tests revealed another problem.

Tabatha was born with only one ventricle instead of two in the lower chamber of the heart (see below). The ventricles job is to pump blood from the right ventricle to the body and from the left to the lungs. Tabatha only has one so therefore was pumping blood to both places, however, more blood was being pumped to the lungs than normal because there was less resistance from that valve. So, the next step was to put a Pulmonary Artery Band on the artery (1) going to the lungs to cause more blood to go to the body and less to the lungs. Had they not done the banding she would have not grown or gained weight and eventually flooded her lungs to the point in which it would have been inoperable. The corrective surgery is to be done later after she has grown, possibly 5 years. In the meantime, there will be other operations due to the fact that she will out-grow the band.

She went through the operation very well and recovered great, she was home less than a week after. She is now eating like a horse and behaving like a redhead (tempers!). We are very encouraged by her strength and her will to live. The doctors are very skillful and are doing wonderful things, they are remarkable. God gave Tabatha to us for a very special purpose, and we love her dearly and feel strength in knowing that Tabatha is Jesus’ Little Lamb. I apologize that this letter is long in coming, it just seems I have very little time to sit down and write all that has been happening. Your prayers and thoughts are appreciated!!! We have felt so much support from everyone THANKS!!! Please don’t feel bad for us, we are pleased with this special child God gave us and are happy she is strong and the doctors so wise.” [the parenthesis in the quote above refer to a drawing that was included on the original letter that is not included here]

Tabatha’s story is continued in journal entries from January 20, 2022.
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