Charlotte's Journey Home

Just a Regular Kid, Sort Of


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For the First Time In Forever, A Cardio Check-Up Report

Watching her skip to the car this morning, I struggled to remember that six weeks ago today Charlotte underwent her third open heart surgery. But, it was 7:00 the morning and we were headed to see Dr. Young for Charlotte’s post-op cardiology check up.

After patiently lying still for the shortest EKG in history and watching “Frozen” for 30 minutes during the echo, Charlotte eagerly awaited Dr. Young’s verdict: Could she resume her full activities, and then some? Or not?DSCN1265

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I’m not sure who is happier, Charlotte or Dr. Young.

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Charlotte and another original Team Charlotte member, the excellent Liz Capella, APN extraordinaire.

Dr. Young’s exact words: “I’m really pleased with what I’m seeing on the echo.”  The conduit and valve are working nicely. She is seeing some turbulence in the valve, but nothing that concerns her too much. Turbulence can be heard through the stethoscope, so Charlotte’s “thump-swoosh” may still be her defining sound. (She was concerned about that.)

Charlotte has Dr. Young’s full approval to return to her full activities, such as gym and (drum roll please) carrying her own backpack!

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After school, Charlotte couldn’t wait to get on her scooter, “For the first time in forever.” I have no words, really, for our gratitude.

We know how blessed we are that Charlotte continues to have best-case scenario outcomes. And we are so very grateful to Team Charlotte–the doctors and nurses who make sure that she continues from strength to strength and who clearly love their work. Please join us in our gratitude and Move for the Kids on May 17, in a 5K to support Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Click below to join Team Charlotte. And if you can’t walk or run, please donate to help us reach our $5,000 goal.

MFTK 2015


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Join Us on May 17 at Move for the Kids to Support Lurie Children’s

You’ve been with us from the beginning, from the first emails we sent in early 2005. So, you’ve heard me ask this a lot—please help us support Lurie Children’s. Specifically: Philippe, Charlotte and I would like to invite local Team Charlotte members to join us at Soldiers Field on Sunday, May 17 for Move for the Kids 5K, a fun family outing that supports Lurie Children’s  and long-distance team members to support us as “virtual participants” (yes, that’s a thing!)

We know that we are not the only family on this list who has experienced first hand the extraordinary care given by the doctors and staff at Lurie Children’s or had their child comforted by the patient-friendly surroundings of the new hospital. In fact, some of you have probably spent more time there than we have. Whether it has been a visit to the ER for an injury or illness, a tonsillectomy, asthma, allergies, or surgery, if your child has been a patient at Lurie Children’s, we’re pretty sure you understand why we are so committed to the hospital.

We have never been more aware of the power and importance of philanthropy than during four 5 night stay in the Regenstein Cardiac Critical Care Unit. The doctors and staff rely on philanthropic dollars to ensure that they can continue to care for any child, regardless of their ability to pay; to do cutting-edge research; and to recruit the finest minds in pediatric medicine. The hospital is truly a gift to our children, and to the 174,000 children from 50 states and 40 countries that it treats each year.

So…join Team Charlotte (click on the link) and walk or run with us! Strollers are welcome, but pets aren’t.

If you can’t walk or run on May 17, perhaps you’ll consider a donation to help us meet our Team Charlotte goal of $5,000?

Thanks for the concern you’ve shown Charlotte, and your prayers. They are so appreciated!


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Back to School, But Not Quite Back to Normal

Have you ever seen a conquering queen returned to her castle? It must look something like Charlotte’s reception at school yesterday. As soon as her classmates saw her turn the corner at the top of the stairs, several girls came running toward her to envelope her in hugs. As we approached the classroom, the crowd parted to let her pass. Her classmates peppered her with questions and other fourth graders stared and smiled. My heart swelled. It nearly burst when her teacher jumped out of her chair to give Charlotte a hug.  She was thrilled to be back at school, and school was clearly happy to have her back.

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Charlotte hard at work on a craft project dropped of by a friend of mine. She has been so spoiled for the past 4 weeks. Thank you, everyone.

Charlotte can’t carry her backpack for another month. I don’t know if you’ve carried a fourth grade backpack recently, but Charlotte’s must weigh 15+ pounds. It triggered the seatbelt alarm in my car this morning.  So, I walk her upstairs every day. In an effort not to disrupt class too much, I’ve asked for her to have help bringing it to the office. Her desk mates and dear friends Taylor and Annamaria have been helping, with big smiles on their faces. I suspect that will grow old eventually, but I so appreciate their support of our kiddo.

The APN suggested that Charlotte start back to school half days for a week or two. I picked her up at 11:30 a.m. and she was happy to see me, yawning all the way home. She didn’t nap, but she was definitely exhausted.

Same drill today. She wasn’t as tired when I picked her up, but our 1.5 hour wait at the pediatrician (for a post-surgery follow up) took the rest of her energy and she was in bed, fast asleep, by 7:32.

Still, she’s on her way back to her regular routine. And she couldn’t be happier about it.

Pediatrician appointment was truly unremarkable, except that Charlotte is now 59.75 inches tall. Look out, Jamie!