Monday, February 17, 2014

Reality

The day that our family became apart of the heartland is the day we entered a life full of grief.
It is the day that anxiety entered our life.
It is the day when we would no longer have a day filled without fear.

FEAR: We are a family of faith but we are still human.
We trust Jesus. We lean on Jesus. MOST importantly we believe and stand on the fact that Jesus is still in the healing business.
With all that being said just like a blink of an eye. Fear can creep in.... "What if its our son?"

This past week was National CHD Awareness Week.

What a great week. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of the support through everyone WEARING RED!!!
(Pictures from Go Red for Mason coming soon)

Something else happened this past week.
Two children (that we knew) lost their battle with a CHD.
I point out that "we knew" because the unfortunate truth is there is more than likely even more children who lost their lives.

Finley lost his battle.
This hit incredibly close to home.
I know I mentioned this in my previous blog post but I still can not wrap my mind around this... Finley was post-Fontan. This family had hit the HLHS jackpot. Ideally this should mean "SMOOTH SAILING AHEAD".

It hits close to home because one minute these kids are fine, playing outside and the next they are critical and fighting for their life.
This is when I struggle. How can I not let fear creep in? "What if its our son?"

The reality of what we face is real, scary and unsettling. 
Children with HLHS under the age of 6 have a 60% survival rate
Picture your kids playing with their friends. There are 10 of them together. 
This statistic would mean four of those children will lose their life. 
THIS IS WHEN FEAR CREEPS IN "What if its our son". 

It truly is a race against modern medicine to ensure that we continue to "HAVE OPTIONS"!

If you have never attended a child's funeral consider yourself blessed. I wouldn't even know how to begin to describe the emotions. 
The only thing that actually comes to mind is John 11:35 JESUS WEPT





I can not miss the opportunity to THANK each and everyone of you for keeping Finley's Family in your thoughts and prayers. I can not even begin to imagine how to family is feeling or coping with this SIGNIFICANT loss.

His perfectly written obituary can be found by clicking here.






Sunday, February 16, 2014

Silent Sunday

I came across this idea awhile ago. (When I say awhile ago I mean it... the year was 2010)
I have wanted to start this for some time I just haven’t I guess made time for it…
Since I LOVE the idea so much I am going to start. NOW. 
Better late than never!

If we are friends on Facebook or we “follow” each other on instagram you probably already know that I LOVE to capture a good photo – Whether it is my children, my view, something I like or a mess of my day. A picture can capture a thousand words.
Oh wait... What does my instagram profile say? 
"...a photo captures a million words so...." SO LETS TAKE SOME PHOTOS!

The objective of #silentsunday is to try to avoid using words.
Words at times have the ability to clutter a photo. 
Sometime there is no interruption needed. Sometimes the interrupters imagination is just better than your explanation
Think about an art museum. 
More times than not the art is just there. Allowing you to view it with no words needed. 

I write a lot. Trying to be better at posting?!?!? No promises.
The purpose of my #silentsunday is to cut out the noise of words.

I choose Sunday because it is the day of rest.
My goal on this day is too simply post photos for you to enjoy (should you visit) which will tell a story of my week without words.

Want to join me?
I would LOVE THAT!

THE RULES:
It’s human nature. We need rules right?!?!?
Maybe we just need rules to break. You decide how you want to approach this.

Regardless of your approach here are some (soft) rules:

  • Chose a photo to post. Dont get fancy. Just a photo. Try to only choose one. 
  • Okay. So I wrote this plan while I travel to Boston. I have since changed my mind (See I am already breaking these rules)
  • Choose no more than 7 PHOTOS. Why seven you ask? Well I like this number and it allows you to post a photo for each day of the week. Brilliant. I know. 
  • The photo needs to be YOURS. There will be no googling photos. You will be dis-qualified. 
  • Dis-qualified from what? NOTHING. It is just not cool. 
  • SAY CHEESE: Use a photo that you took in the week leading up to your post. 
  • Post them each Sunday. Use no words with the exception #SILENTSUNDAY

I am going to try this each week. (At least for awhile) and you dont have too. (You are welcome).
I remind you again. Its called #silentsunday. So take that literally. NO WORDS in your post, header, title except the hashtag #silentsunday. 
It will be hard (mostly for ME) but try to resist the urge to explain your photos. Let your friends, followers and readers make their own crazy assumtions on what was happening or what you were thinking when you snapped a certain photo. 
Bloggers - you can thank me later. SUNDAY BLOGGING just got a hole lot easier!!!!



MY #SILENTSUNDAY PHOTOS:







Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ITS HARD

I am in Boston this week on business. 
Today was my first full day of meetings and as to be expected I barely have had a second to myself let alone to get onto facebook to read through the days statuses.

When I did. My heart shattered. 
Last night a fellow heart mom took her little boy to the ER. For a cough. 
Yes you read that correctly a cough. 
Things took an unexpected turn and this morning, he is gone. 
Just like that. 

The problem with CHD is it takes our children like a thief in the night. With no remorse and no going back. 

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) comes with no cure. 
THERE isn't a cure!
Surgery repairs the heart BUT the heart will never be whole. 

To quote a fellow heart mom:
"Our children fight tirelessly day and in and day out.  And when we think we have reached that point where we can take a breath, the thief comes in an robs us of the tiny people that  are our  whole world"

Finley was younger than Mason and post-Fontan.
POST-FONTAN is like the icing on the dirt cake.
It is when our children's chances of survival dramatically increase.
After Mason had his Fontan surgery. It was the first time in years that I was able to actually take a deep breath and feel like - We made it.

Tonight its hard.
Tonight I pray for his family.
Tonight I pray extra for my son.
Tonight I pray for the heartland.




Thursday, February 6, 2014


Well it is that time. 

What better way to kick off Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week and the Olympics than with an Olympian and CHDer? Thanks, Shaun White, for sharing your CHD hurdle with the masses and how your defect doesn't define you.


WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A note from MASON himself...

It is after all his blog!

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MASON
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"I am great at writing. Right Mommy"
THE BEST MASON!



Thanks for stopping by to read MASON'S FIRST blog post!


Monday, February 3, 2014

SEAHAWKS!

Did you see that game yesterday?
WOW! 
AMAZING!

I have to be honest. I am not the biggest football fan. 
I LOVED to watch when my husband played but after that I only followed along to keep my marriage in tact J

This year there was just something about the team that was unstoppable and irresistible. 
For me it all started with one of the team members kept re-appearing at a place that I hold very dear to my heart – Seattle Children's Hospital.

You may have heard of him? 
Russell Wilson.

I mean how can you not LOVE him?!?!?! I became an instant fan!

Whether you are a Seahawk fan or not you have to admit he is pretty great on (and off) the field and he has beat the odds stacked against him:
  • He stands tall at 5’11 (for fun lets compare him to Colin Kaepernick who is 6'4 / average height of a NFL quarterback 6'2)
  • He weighs around 200lbs. Which is featherweight for the NFL.
  • 2012 he was drafted in not the 1st or 2nd round but 3rd (thanks Pete Carol for recognizing talent)
  • After graduating  High school he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles to play baseball. He instead elected to attend college. (WOW I cant imagine making the decision to walk away from that to attend college). He later stated "I was leaning towards (entering the draft). but a college education is something you'll always have"


Seattle is a city known for the inches we get in RAIN and the clouds that hang over our heads… THIS WINTER it didn't matter how dark and gloomy that it was outside. The spirit of the 12th man shined BRIGHT.  You can feel the electricity everywhere you go…. 
People are friendlier getting gas, at the grocery store, and even sitting in their normal traffic commute!

Just pause and look around. 
Everywhere you look you will see a 12th man flag flying 
From SUV’s to Skyscrapers and everything in between!  






We are a city that is LOUD and proud!
Speaking of LOUD.
Remember what this year brought… 
We broke a few records which caused an earthquake reading!?!?!?

Now that the season is over and you have to wait until the draft (may 8th - 10th) until football season heats back up I think it is important to reflect on why YOU love this team so much and what they have taught you…

I will start:
Like I mentioned above I first fell (back) in love with this game and this team when Russell Wilson caught my attention by spending EVERY Tuesday at Seattle Children's Hospital

He doesn't just show up and take pictures but he spends time with these children and their families. He gets to know them. 
This brings more joy to families than I can even begin to describe in this blog post.

Know what else it does? It brings awareness to this amazing resource that sits in our backyard…
With awareness comes funding.
With funding comes research. 
With research comes hope.
With hope comes LIFE.

For this I am incredibly grateful for him.

Then there was that Duracell commercial with Derrick Coleman.
“They didn’t call my name. Told me it was over.
But I have been deaf since I was three. So I didn't listen”

WOW. Isn't that powerful.
Need a reminder.

These are the just a few reasons why I am extra proud to be apart of this city and to consider myself a 12th man!
Your reasons for loving this city, this team and these men will more than likely be different than my reasons and regardless of what they are I encourage you to think about all of the GREAT things this team did on and off the field.
Its exciting because there is a lot more to celebrate than a Superbowl win. That is just the icing on the cupcake!

Feel motivated to give back?
Donate HERE or wear RED this month to help me and my family spread awareness!!!
Don’t forget to send me photos: Kelsey.garka@yahoo.com


WEAR RED FOR MASON


It is that time!

February 7th-14th is National CHD Awareness Week, and it kicks off with GO RED DAY- The day you deck yourself out in RED to support Mason and all of his heart friends!

Each year we ask ALL OF YOU to capture pictures of yourselves wearing red to honor Mason!
This year we don't plan on breaking our tradition!
Last year the response was overwhelming; This year lets break some records!!!!



Deck yourself out or add a red accessory to your outfit this FRIDAY and then send me your pictures to kelsey.garka@yahoo.com or you can facebook them to me!

We appreciate you all always!



Heart Hugs - KELSEY

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pardon the pause...

We interrupt "Heart Month" today and today only to cheer on our team! 
#GOHAWKS




Saturday, February 1, 2014

ITS HERE... HAPPY HEART MONTH!


"Happy Heart Month - a full month to be mindful and raise awareness for Congenital Heart Defects.
With awareness comes funding. 
With funding comes research. 
With research comes hope.
With hope comes LIFE." 








 BLESSED he works for children's!
#weloveourheartsurgeon

Missing a photo of Mason's AMAZING cardiolodist Dr. Chun!
Beyond blessed for these men and all who worked to save our son!!!!







Not HEART related but appropriate!
#gohawks


Don't forget to wear red this month (the best day would be the 7th but anyday is A OKAY). 
Send your photos to me at kelsey.garka@yahoo.com so I can continue to create and spread awareness. 

We appreciate you all!

 
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