Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A HUGE reason for my family to celebrate!

Disney World, here we come! After seven years of wearing an eye patch daily, several surgeries, and countless trips to Duke University Eye Center, our battle to save the vision in our son's right eye is coming to a close.

Our first baby, Thomas, was born with a birth defect in his eye. We had no idea until he was 6 months old and I started to notice that his eye would drift out once in a while. I took him to our pediatrician and was sent straight to Duke University Eye Center, a world-class facility which we are lucky enough to live 20 miles from. We were also lucky to have access to Dr. William Buckley, a leader in his field. Dr. Buckley found a cataract in Thomas's eye, caused by a hole in the lens. This is a one in a million occurrence. He scheduled surgery for a few days later since the risk of Thomas losing his vision quickly was so high. He told us it would be a long road to recovery with several years of treatment. It was heartbreaking for us to hear and the long road to recovery proved to be challenging, heart-wrenching, and, at times, just plain awful. I honestly don't know how I did it. There were days when I wanted to give up since it was so hard but I knew my son's vision depended on me and I refused to let him down. When Thomas was two, and we were at the worst of the "Patch Wars" as we referred to them, I told my husband that the day Thomas was done patching was the day I was booking a family trip to Disney to celebrate!

And here we are today... Thomas's vision has improved so much from his years of patching that his ophthalmologist has declared that we can stop patching. This is a HUGE victory for us! We may have to go back to temporary patching at some point, and he may have other surgeries ahead, but we'll take what we can get. And, gosh darn it, my kid is getting his Disney trip!!

Thomas will have to wear bifocal glasses for life since the artificial lens implanted in his eye doesn't focus and Thomas does not see well out of the eye without the glasses. With glasses, he can see 20/30 which is a huge improvement over the 20/1200 visual acuity he started with! Thomas has been wearing glasses since he was 8 months old so they're second nature to him. (Did I mention how challenging it is to keep glasses on a baby? They were his favorite chew toy!)

Below are some photos of my sweet little guy.

This is Thomas at eight months old with his tiny bifocal glasses. This photos melts me!

Here is Thomas at nine months wearing an eye patch over his good eye which forced his brain to use his weak eye, otherwise he would go blind. I had to rotate the patch every day since the adhesive was really irritating to his skin, and the patch would tear his delicate skin when removed. I had to keep Thomas distracted at all times or that patch would be pulled off in a flash by the little rascal!

And here he is at age 7, three days after his latest eye surgery. Isn't he handsome?!


Sarah said...

What a huge accomplishment, for BOTH of you. I remember those first few weeks and hearing that you might have to patch him for *gasp* seven years and thinking, "That's forEVER!" And here you are. You are such a hero. And he is such a handsome little dude.

BConky said...

He's very handsome. What a tough road. But thank goodness you've had success. Have fun at Disney.

Cole's Corner said...

Oh Lisa!!! He is such a handsome little guy!!! I am so excited for you guys!!!

How wonderful.

Anonymous said...

What wonderful news! He is a cute little thing. Having had vision problems most of my life, I understand what it means to him. Kathy

Terri Bowden said...

Lisa- Thank you so much for the sweet compliments on my blog! I am so new to all of this- sewing/embroidering/blogging/etc and it's so nice to hear good things about my projects. All of your designs are awesome. My cousin Nicole (Cole's Creations) is the one who introduced me to your amazing website!! Congratulations on the wonderful progress with your son. That is SO awesome. Hope that you all have a terrific trip!

Kris said...

OH LISA!!!! My goodness, I've got tears in my eyes right now just reading this. My heck girl- you go to Disney and shout that one from the ROOFTOPS! I am so thrilled for you, for Thomas, and for your whole family. Thank you for letting us in on a little part of your world. You are such an amazing person and mother and Thomas is lucky to have a stalwart advocate fighting for him since day 1. When is this trip planned? We need to get in count-down mode!

Pickle Pie Designs said...

Thanks, everyone! Our trip is planned for May 3 and Thomas is so excited he can hardly wait!!