Baby Braden Petska

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lots to share.....

Zoo time with my buddy Sam

"Ring around the Rosie" with my buddy Jack

Fishing with dad....

Posing with Dr. Ghanayem at the Heart Picnic

Awesome photo-op by Kim Youra

Hello, hello...

It's been well over a month since our last post, and we have quite a bit to share. First of all, our little B-man is officially a two year old. We celebrated his birthday with a mini-party, and he definitely enjoyed opening the gifts he received. He is in love with his Geo Trax train set and has yet to go anywhere without the trains. With this milestone of two years, we had a few doctors appointments to help "celebrate" the moment. Appointment #1 was with Dr. Cava where Braden had is first unsedated echo. With lots of tricks, goofy games, and a Dora DVD, Braden was able to sit still long enough for some good, quality pictures of his heart. Dr. Cava was satisfied with how his heart looks and his tricuspid valve leakage has "maintained," so that was good news. His sats are still 85ish, so he gave us the go-ahead to come back in mid-winter. From there, he will schedule an MRI (less invasive than a heart cath) that will come about a week or so before his Fontan. This is his third (and we hope final) surgery that will occur sometime next summer. Since Braden and his heart have cooperated medically, it looks like we can choose when we would like to have the Fontan. Rich and I both agree that the earlier, the better. We hope that mid-June of 2009 will be the potential surgery date. Okay...enough on the surgery stuff. We also had our ped appointment where we found Braden is still growing and gaining weight to maintain the "average" growth status within his age range. He is close to weighing 29 pounds now....whew!

In the midst of Braden's birthday celebration, we held our 2nd Annual Heart of Gold Charity Fundraiser on August 16th. We had another successful day filled with sunshine and bliss. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day to celebrate life, hope, and a future filled with purpose & promise. Thanks to all who came out to support Heart of Gold and its mission. Thanks also to those who made generous contributions (monetary, silent auction, & volunteering time). Without you, we wouldn't be what we are today. Below, you will find a slideshow we made and displayed during the dinner portion of the evening.

If it wasn't enough to plan a birthday and charity event in one weekend, Rich and I both started school the following week. Needless to say, we slept a lot this weekend trying to catch up from all of the excitement. This year Rich is coaching golf as well as basketball, and he was also named the department chair for the social studies department. This year, I have been busy as well transitioning to another grade level. I am now teaching 6th grade special education instead of 7th. It's will be a very exciting school year for the both of us.

As a family, we've had fun winding down our summer with playdates, visiting the zoo, attending the Herma Heart Center Picnic, and participating in the 5th annual Slager Bocce Ball Tournament. Every year the Slagers (Super Sam's P's) host a bocce tournament in honor of a charity benefiting children. Last year's proceeds when to Heart of Gold. This year, all proceeds went towards A.N.G.E.L. which helps to benefit children with autism. Thank you Slager family for another successful tourney! We had a lot of fun!

We are once again spear-heading another team for the Brigg's and AL Run/Walk. Last year's team of 4.5 (inlcuding Braden) has now expanded to a team of 13.5. Yeah....that is so exciting!! If you would like to help out our team and make a contribution, you can visit:
100% of all money raised goes to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. This year the proceeds will benefit the new pediatric tower set to open in April of 2009. This is where Braden will potentially recover from his Fontan next summer.

Thanks to everyone who has kept our little cousin Bridget in your prayers. She is truly a miracle and pillar of strength. It looks as if home may not be too far away for her and her family. She has been at CHW since April/May. Her Caringbridge site is:

To end tonight's blog, I would like to take a moment to reflect on just how far we've come. Two years ago yesterday, Braden had his Norwood at a wee 6 days old. It is a time I would never wish to relive yet still want to keep its memory alive. Although these moments are not what define Braden, they do continue to keep us grounded and aware of how fragile life really is. Today, we look to the future to open doors and possibilities we never knew existed. Each and every day we praise God for the special gifts He has granted us.

Until next time......
Love, The Petska Family