Friday, July 10, 2015

Semi Annual Update !

Last week Last month (I started writing and never posted) we had our semiannual cardiology visit with Dr. H.  With great joy, we have nothing new medically to report, which is a great way to start our summer.   Dr. H has a new nurse who is really nice and I'm sure we will grow to like her as much as we did Angie. { Angie - we miss you !!!}   She was able to get me some of John's hospital records so that I can take with us on our trip to Poland just in case.  She seems easy to work with and that makes me feel a lot better.

Heart function is good with the usual mild leaking, nothing major. Weight 42.5lbs height 43 inches (I think). John was a great patient this time as well and had a good time chatting up all the nurses, doctors and techs.  Dennis, our favorite echo tech was telling the new person whom he was training, how far Jasiu has come from his screaming crying sleeping echos and it really made me greatful that we have such great care here at Advocate.

We are all clear to go to Poland this summer cardiac wise, emotionally though I'm pretty nervous. As most readers know, Jasiu has the "best" luck of getting into trouble, so hopefully we have an uneventful trip.  We will be almost 2 hours away from any hospital equipped to handle HLHSers as far as I'm aware.  I did however meet our new neighbors and her sister lives in Poland not to far from where we are visiting and has a 5 year old HLHS'er post Fontan as well. Makes me feel slightly better.

John is also registered for preschool in our district for 5 days a week and I was working on starting a 504 plan for him just in case, and seems to be some hurdles we need to cross, mainly that we have to wait till beginning of school year to get anything started and I would like him to be in the AM class since he tends to tire much quicker. As a result I think the AM class would suit him better and he would have best experience coming fresh from a well rested night instead of tired from morning play, especially since he still likes to take a nap in the afternoon from time to time.   Hopefully everything works out for us when we get the process started.  Emily and Jasiu unfortunately will not be in the same school this year since she is moving to middle school 2nd -5th grade.  Jasiu will be in the school Emily just graduated from !

Finally, I want to thank everyone who joined our Team Jasiu for our annual Walking/Running for Hope on June 7th .  It was a nice start with a very rainy wet ending.  I haven't seen Jasiu's lips so purple from the cold in A LONG time as I did on that day. Despite the cold weather we had a great turn out and everyone had fun (minus the rain part).  We raised a lot of money for the hospital and the Ronald McDonald house which all stays local to help this great hospital.  I also want to thank my good friend from high school Joanna, who helped me design our very first TEAM JASIU t-shirts.  She did an awesome job and the print came out exactly how we planned on the t-shirts.  THANK YOU !

That is all the updates I have for now, let's have a great summer and hopefully uneventful health/cardiac wise.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Clever as they come

Our big boy had his preschool screening today and boy did we have a good laugh. These are too good to forget so I'm journaling it here.

Jasiu did great ! He was a tad shy at first but overcame that pretty quickly and by the end he was quite sad that he couldn't stay longer and actually attend now and that he had to go home.

They did the physical development first - stand on one foot, then the other, hop , hop on one foot and then the other. When he sat down he announced to the tester and his translator he was really tired and laughed. I could tell he wasn't tired, but he was amused that they believed him. 

He knew all his body parts and all the items in the pictures except for tweezers. Tweezers.... he doesn't ever see me use them and our kids don't have access to them so I'm not surprised he doesn't know.

He knew all his colors and numbers and had trouble with the letters and sounds, which is ok by me, he only attended school since January of this year so he has plenty of time to learn it.

He had no problem tracing and copying different shapes.

When all the academic stuff was out of the way the situational questions came and boy did the testers laugh at this clever little boy of ours....

Example one:    There is a picture of a kitchen and a fork on the floor. 
         Tester:  What is this?
                Jasiu: Fork
         Tester: Where does it belong?
                Jasiu : On the counter or in the sink
         Tester: Why?
                Jasiu: Because this cat that is sitting here can possibly eat it and then he could choke !

I nearly fell of my chair laughing, and believe it or not that is one of the acceptable answers for that scene.

Example two: Tester shows him  picture of an apple
         Tester: What is this and what do you do with it?
                Jasiu : It's an apple, mom cuts it up and we eat it

Example three: 
         Tester: What do you do when you walk into a dark room?
             Jasiu:  Put on our pajamas and go to sleep!

Example four:
         Tester: Shows him a picture of a coat and asks What is this and what do you do with it?
                 Jasiu:  You wash it, fold it in a shelf and then you can put it on.

So all in all the screening went well, I hope he gets in this free preschool program (it is a program based on need to "catch up" in various areas). If he does great, if not Jasiu will attend the park district preschool like his sister and that will be fine too. 

Finally at the end of the testing I revealed to the tester and the translator about HLHS and they didn't believe until Jasiu whipped out his zipper and showed them his "extra belly buttons".  

Take that HLHS !!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Make-a- Wish Trip


So it has been over month since we got back and I just got the time to sit down and write about it.(Ok, so I'm siting down a second time to continue writing.) As soon as we came back I had laundry, unpacking, new school for Jasiu and year end close at work (read: long hours at the office + weekends for almost 3 weeks).  I did go through our pictures during the late night hours and compiled our memory photo book, but it took all the energy I had left after that trip.  So let's start at the beginning...

Shortly after his 3rd surgery (April 2012) I applied to Make-a-Wish for Jasiu to see if his wish could be granted.  For those that are not familiar with Make a Wish, "Make-A-Wish® grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the United States and its territories, on average, every 38 minutes. We believe that a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides us. It inspires us to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids we serve." (from:

Jasiu's paperwork was sent to his medical team reviewed and he qualified for a wish, it is a common unfortunate misconception that a child has to be dying in order to have a wish granted.  We were overwhelmingly grateful that he got this opportunity and yet it is also a reminder that Jasiu does have a life-threating medical condition despite how well he looks on the outside.

We met with our wish granters last winter and Jasiu decided he wanted to meet Mickey, Daffy, Goofy  and the clubhouse friends. We were granted to go to Disney World in Florida.  We decided he should be just a bit older before we go so that he can enjoy and remember the trip a bit more. A whole year we waited, the kids even forgot about it for a bit and then we surprised this December that we will be off to meet Mickey.

We had a fun start to our trip as the limo guy is the one who woke us up at 5:15am.  We set our alarm clock for 4:00 am so that we could get ready and then slowly wake up the kids and not agitate them too much as it s quite early for our guys, but my husband set his alarm clock for 4 am on next Saturday not Monday. So the limo driver who was sitting on our driveway since 5am called my cell phone at 5:15 !!!! Well that was an abrupt wake up call, we double teamed, Joe got the bags in the limo, (good thing they were all packed the night before) and I got the kids not so subtly woken up, dressed and out the door. When we were driving away from our home it was 5:25 !!! We did it all in 10 minutes and we did not forget anything. AMAZING ! 

In addition to a limo to and from the airport, with Make-a-Wish trip is you get amazing service at the airport, you skip all the lines, go straight to TSA and get a helper to help you with bags and then we were off.   Our flight was not bad, kids were excited and we got a Give Kids the World Greater at the airport. GKTW is an experience in and of itself. It is a village for "wish" kids. You spend the week in your fully eqipped villa, meals, all you can eat pizza and ice cream plus all other meals. There is a heated pool, splash pad, playground, arcade, and much more. Every week the village celebrates Halloween, Christmas, Birthday party for the Mayor, Pirate and Princess night, etc... ohh and the mayor is a 6 foot Rabbit, Mayor Clayton.  The Mayor can come and tuck the kids in one night, that was a blast.  You can spend the whole week on the property and not get bored at all... but that's not the end of it. We got 3 day passes to all 4 Disney parks, 2 day passes to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and 1 day pass to Sea World, it's really amazing because it's not just regular passes, they are "Wish" passes which grant you access to all the rides and character greetings without waiting in any of the lines. AMAZING once in a lifetime opportunity. (let me tell you for Anna and Elsa, the line was about 3 hours long, Ariel, 1.5hrs., Merida 2 hrs. Whinnie the pooh 1hr, most rides were 55 min +. You could easily spend one full day just waiting in lines and we didn't - All the staff members recognize the "Wish Geanie" and just help in any accomodating way they can.

So I carefully planned out each day, located the kid rides we were going to experience and shared it with the family, but as plans like to do, they changed... we were exhausted and had to take a day to recuperate and visit urgent care for an unexpected ear infection for Jasiu.  One day and one prescription for antibiotic later and we were back on track. 

The highlight of our trip for Jasiu was meeting his current heroes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  We had to travel to the Nickelodeon Hotel and had a private meeting with all four TMNT.  It was a bit weird that Jasiu was a very shy and not super ecstatic, but he came around and he turned out to have a blast. I think he may have been overwhelmed by the whole thing.  We all had a good time and enjoyed our private meeting with the turtles. Turns out that the ear infection was already brewing in Jasiu because I checked his temperature that evening and it was elevated. I checked in the morning and it was a full blown fever and an ear ache. So instead of Animal Kingdom, we went to urgent care the next day.

Day 1 - Getting to FL an spending time at GKTW at their Halloween Party

Day 2 - Hollywood Studios including many rides, character greets , Holiday Lights Show and Frozen Sing along experience

Day 3 - Magic Kingdom (New Years Eve)  including Fireworks show, Cinderella's Castle light show (2 different ones) Meeting Elsa and Anna and many more characters, rides and great time. Mommy did 32,000 steps that day !. We were so tired we didn't even make the GKTW NYE party.

Day 4 - Sea World and Meeting the TMNT, great fun day but we started noticing Jasiu being more cranky and irritable. Christmas party at the village

Day 5 - AM - Urgent Care, antibiotics.  PM - Downtown Disney Emily had a princess transformation booked and Jasiu spent lots of time in the LEGO store.  Considering the circumstances a decent day plus Mayor Clayton came to tuck the kids into bed. .

Day 6 - Animal Kingdom - Amazing experience and Jasiu was sooo much better, In the evening it was Princess and Pirate party at GKTW

Day 7 - Day to go home we made it to Universal Studios and in the morning before our flight home to see some more of our favorite character.

This trip was such a blessing to us and it helped us celebrate the hardships that Jasiu went through to get to this point. It was a once in a lifetime trip that I hope the kids never forget, even if it is just by looking through the pictures.

Here are a few pictures and a link to the memory book that I created that captures the amazing moments we had.   I will never forget the true happiness on the faces of my kiddos when they experienced it all.

After the week long adventure, we came back tired and sad that we had to leave but so happy that we go to experience Disney World and Florida in such a special way.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

First Day of School

A momentous day in the life of our little warrior - He attended his first day of Preschool !

He was excited all morning for this day and even packed his own snack and juice box. He picked his backpack and couldn't be happier.  When we dropped him off, he did well too. He sat down nicely, attempted to write his name, handed the paper in and went to play until the teacher sings the special song... and that's when I had to leave.

There were only tears of joy and from this mama and not Jasiu this time. I still can't believe that this fragile little baby of mine is now a "big boy" going to preschool.  With Polish School, it is only once a week and I kind of hung around the class and school anyways, but this seems much bigger than that, I will be at work when he's in school, so no easy quick access to him like on Saturdays. 

After picking up our official preschooler, I'm happy to report all things went well !!!!

Mrs. Gordon reported that Jasiu was well behaved and did very well and did not or cry for his mama. He is truly growing up and thriving. We are so blessed to see this day.
Stay tuned for Disney posts soon. 

Cardiology Update

Our cardiology appointment went great !  With the holidays, our trip and everything else, I forgot to update. 

Cardiology - Our favorite nurse has graduated to Nurse Practitioner, as a result she has found a new opportunity outside of our current hospital and we miss her dearly.  W got there and all vitals were good, Oxygen sats perfect, even hit 100% for a while but mostly around 97-99% which is awesome. Then she tells us the doctor will be in shortly... I remind her that he will most likely have an ekg and echo... well no orders were written, I say go check again please.  Of course he was supposed to get the echo and ekg so we get those done, but with the lack of a nurse the orders were not processed properly. That's ok though, all was good.

Heart function is excellent and almost improved, vessels are open as they should be and no narrowing is visible. No medicine changes, see you in 6 months. That's it !

Fantastic news for us and for the holidays and our trip. The holidays were great, the house is full of new toys and we celebrated the birth of Jesus joyously.  

Our trip was mostly a success as well. Those days  will get their own posts shortly, once I go through all the pictures.... let's just say there was never a dull moment...

Perfect little patient