|Condition:||Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia|
Imagine a world where one day you are acting and living life like you always have, then in a matter of days you don’t have the energy to get off the couch. Every time you did you couldn’t walk and your vision went black. That’s the reality Charlie had to face.
Charlie began to feel as though something just wasn’t quite right when she became too tired to even walk to her room, restricting her to a life on the couch. The symptoms began to get worse and worse. Charlie not only didn’t have the energy to walk but was constantly fainting when she tried.
Charlie’s personality has always been happy and outgoing, and she’s been known to be quite the jokester. When the fainting spells originally began, those around Charlie thought it was just a prank she was trying to pull.
On a blistering hot summer day is when everything changed for Charlie. While at church with her dad Chris and her family, Charlie collapsed on the church pew. When she could barely walk outside, Chris immediately knew that this was no joke.
Chris and Charlie got into the car and made their first trip to the hospital, first in Melfort before the recommendation came that Charlie should go to Saskatoon for tests at Saskatchewan’s Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (JPCH).
Originally, Charlie was thought to have either meningitis or cancer. When Charlie’s scans came back showing that her white blood cells were nearly non-existent the answer became clear. Charlie was diagnosed with b-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia, more commonly known as ALL.
Upon Charlie’s original diagnosis, Charlie’s physician, Dr. Felton knew that treatment needed to begin as soon as possible. This led to a month-long admittance for Charlie to JPCH.
As Charlie’s condition seemed to stabilize and progress, she was granted a day pass to go home with her mom and sister on September 10, 2021. While in Melfort, Charlie began complaining of severe stomach pains. Her mom knew this meant one thing – load up the car and make their way back to JPCH as fast as possible. As their car passed Wakaw, Charlie’s condition worsened to the point where Charlie’s mom immediately pulled over to the side of the road and called 911 to rush Charlie to Saskatoon.
Charlie was going into septic shock. Charlie had contracted an infection along the way causing her blood-pressure to drop to a dangerously low level which led to her veins beginning to collapse on themselves. Charlie was brought into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where she became unresponsive, her pulse completely disappearing.
Charlie was rushed into emergency surgery as her condition worsened after she was revived where it was discovered that Charlie’s bowels had perforated which is what caused the infection. The small hole in Charlie’s small intestine meant that the food she was eating and her fecal matter was leaking into her body causing this deadly reaction from her body.
Charlie was placed back into the PICU where she was placed in a medically induced coma for three days. As she had lost so much fluid throughout this ordeal, in order to rehydrate Charlie, eight IVs were administered at the same time, two in her feet and six in her arms. When Charlie woke up, she began another four-month stay at JPCH.
As if Charlie’s journey wasn’t hard enough already, on January 20, 2022, just after she had been discharged her stomach pains returned. After taking her to Melfort Hospital it was recommended that another trip to JPCH was necessary – Charlie’s worst-case scenario. It was thought she had gallstones, but instead it was a complete removal of Charlie’s gallbladder that was needed.
Throughout her journey, Charlie has had ten surgeries with potentially more in the future, more than six months spent admitted as a patient at JPCH, countless needles, unending complications, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, and so much more.
Though she may have lost her ability to do some of the things she did prior to her diagnosis, Charlie has never lost her personality. Her smile beams as bright as ever and her jokes have never stopped. In order to keep her in good spirits, Charlie has accumulated a substantial collection of Squishmallows from Sprout Gift Co. that anyone would be jealous of. As a big foodie, Charlie is looking forward to the day she can return home and begin making delicious meals for her family and friends again.
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