Update from Charlie
Hello there! It’s me Charlie with the first ever update straight from the source. Exciting right?! Don’t get too excited though because life is as busy as ever and I have no idea how often I will be able to update. But after hearing some chatter that some of you have been itching to find out how I’m doing, I thought I’d give it a try. I appreciate all your continued support and am glad some of you stuck around and understood that my family needed to take some time to focus on our time together.
On Thursday, I had surgery at John Hopkins to release the two main contractures under my right arm and my inner elbow which I never knew what the term was for until now when my curiosity got the better of me. That part of your arm is actually called the cubital fossa or the chelido which I think is kinda funny. Anyway, my burn surgeon also did a release at my neck with several z-plasty revisions because I still had a few scar bands that were pulling. Surgery lasted 5 hours which was a little longer than any of us anticipated, but all went well and my surgeon was very happy. I’m sure she just wanted everything to be perfect. My Aunt Laurie drove up from Georgia to help me while I recover and I’m relieved she has no issues with driving because she sure did a lot of it. After making the 8 hour drive up, she then turned around and drove through traffic to Baltimore, waited for me all day in surgery and then drove me back home (in more traffic) same day. We arrived a little before midnight so it was a long day and she’s a trooper.
Two days post I am doing well. My right arm is casted straight and I am not to use it by bending or raising it but it’s not terribly painful. I do however have a wound vac system hooked up to drain fluid which you all can probably guess I am not so ecstatic about. I don’t like anything tying me down and am currently counting the days that I’ll be able to have my arm back and won’t have tubing connected to me and a machine to carry around. My neck is looking good and like it’s healing well. They used dissolvable sutures so that will be a breeze. For my arm however, they ended up using a skin substitute and so those wounds will require more attention and will take longer to heal. But I look forward to having more range of motion when all is said and done and will hopefully have an easier time getting dressed and reaching things.
Last Friday, I actually had the opportunity to go to Dallas! Avita medical, the company that developed RECELL which was the spray-on-skin substitute used on me, flew me down to kick off their annual sales meeting. It was amazing to share my story with so many people within the medical and burn community. They don’t often get to see the results of their life saving hard work and I truly hope my story of survival and hearing how I’m thriving gave them a renewed motivation. While I was away, the kids stayed back enjoying the snow days they had.
As you well know, my life is about more than what happened to me with my burn injury. Since early October following the last update here, it’s been just me and my boys. André and I are separated and he currently lives an hour away. Adjusting to this new normal hasn’t been easy, especially with London just beginning to process the feelings surrounding my accident, but it is what’s best for all of us. I am so grateful to have progressed to a point in therapy where I am able to take care of them with a little help from friends and family. The boys get to see André weekly for a few hours but in time once he’s settled in Charlottesville, they will see a lot more of him. As anyone could expect, there have been some lifestyle changes to adjust to including London switching schools but he is loving his new school and gets to ride the bus with all his neighbor friends.
Understandably, this news may catch you by surprise. And I’m aware it doesn’t go along with the fairytale story that’s been building for 2 plus years but in life, not all things are as it seems. Marriage is stinking hard and it’s ever changing. In my case, things weren’t great before I had my accident so one can only imagine what throwing a traumatic injury in the mix could do. But was it the ultimate reason for our demise? The end of a 15 year run? I guess we could never know for sure, but I’m fairly certain in my heart of hearts, this outcome would have been the same even if my accident had not happened.
This is not a sad story or an ending to a great one. This is the beginning of a time where I can be truly happy, where I can be authentically me. A time where if you’re reading here, it’ll be my voice you’ll hear.
I do still want to maintain a certain amount of privacy especially at this time, but please know I have plans to create a blog in the future.
Thank you all for your support and for reading this far. It means a lot to me.
The attached photos are of my underarm before my surgery, the after of my neck z-plasty, me in Texas and me momming hard.