Charlie’s Story

Site created on January 22, 2020

Hey there,

Thanks for checking in on Charlie’s CaringBridge site. If you’re here, you know it’s been a rough few days for our family. We’ll try to keep our entries short and high level, but informative (and if Joe’s writing them, possibly full of puns).

The best way to send us notes of support is on this site - we know Charlie will love reading these. And we’ll try to post pics of our leukemia journey (or marathon, as they keep telling us).

There is also a Meal Train sign up. We are so blessed to have such amazing family and friends to help take care of our other two little peanuts, but we know meals delivered to them would be beyond helpful right now. Vandy has told us to expect to stay here for a month, and Joe and I are working on finding a way to split our time between Charlie and the girls.

Here’s a quick run-down of how this all went down....

Over the past few weeks little random things had happened - things that alone were of no consequence, but added all together seemed strange.

Charlie fell playing soccer at recess and was excessively complaining about his upper arm, so much so that we took him to get an X-ray (not broken). He also developed tiny red dots on that arm. He was getting bloody noses that took longer than normal to stop; he was having really bad headaches; he had lots of bruising (which was kind of normal for this “nature boy” of ours, but a few were in meaty parts of his legs and huge); and the last few days before we were admitted, he was extremely lethargic and sleeping all the time. 

On Monday, we took him to our pediatrician’s office and told them all of this. I felt like a psycho mom, thinking it was probably nothing, but with a nagging dread in the back of my mind. They ran bloodwork and we got the worst phone call of our lives the next day telling us to go to Vandy immediately.

Charlie was critical when we arrived because his White Blood Cell count was so high. Normally, for a typical person, it’s no higher than 10,000. Charlie’s was 485,000 and full of White Blood Cells that were essentially bad. There is a whole slew of conditions that can occur when your WBC count is this high, including clotting. We checked in at 5pm that evening and that night they were doing a procedure to try to remove as many WBCs as possible. And he did great.

Yesterday, he got a lumbar puncture to assess how much cancer is in his spine and he got his main pic line (he has another line in his groin for dialysis purposes). He also started chemo last night, which is big, because that officially kicks us off on Day 1 of our Leukemia treatment.

Joe and I keep saying how lucky we are to be in Nashville, where Vandy is right down the street. Everyone in the PICU and on our team has been as wonderful as we could imagine. And our pediatrician, Dr Paige Smith, has been so supportive and an angel.

We will fill you in as we know more, but we want to thank each and every one of you for all of your support! Even if we haven’t responded, know that it means the world to us. We love you and Charlie loves you. And we are more obsessed than ever with this strong, brave, kind boy of ours.

Love - The Fogartys

PS - if you feel compelled to donate, please know that the donations made through this site go to fund Caring Bridge. You can also check out the LLS donation page - it’s crazy, but so much research has been done and it’s yet to be discovered why young, healthy children like Charlie get leukemia in the first place. Like many diseases, there is so much to learn.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Joe Fogarty

It’s been about three months since our last post here, but more importantly, it’s been a year since our first post.  Exactly a year (written yesterday) since our little buddy was diagnosed with T-Cell ALL on our 14th wedding anniversary.  It has been a year full of so many emotions.  Fear, worry, doubt, pain, tears, laughter, joy, but most of all thankfulness.  Thankful that we have our family of five and our incredible community of family and friends across the the country.   Thankful Charlie is continuing to heal and gain back his strength.  

He is three months into the maintenance phase and doing great.  Three months down and about 27 to go.   The physical toll on charlie is lessening, but we know the emotional and mental toll is just beginning to surface.  This year, as we continue to ensure 
Charlie’s physical health, we will all focus on our mental health as well.  It is easy to push aside because it is under the surface...not in your face like the physical treatment.  The impact on the WHOLE family is easy to lose track of...especially with the girls.  They have stood beside their brother, been (mostly) supportive, but can’t help but feel like all the attention is on Charlie.  We will be focusing on that.  

For now, we have taken to the beach for a week to unplug and celebrate the accomplishment of making it through 2020 as a family (and it just happens to be our 15 year anniversary!).  Thanks again to everyone for the continued thoughts, prayers and overall support.  We love you all!   

As time goes on, we will post here less and less.  For those that have asked, Rachel posts more regularly on her Instagram account...much better pics there too!

Cheers to a great 2021!
The Fogarty Fam
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