Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Big Day For A Little Girl, Round 2

Our sweet little three year old, Makayla, has a very big day in her near future. She wishes it was her first day of preschool, but she'll have a few more months before that day arrives this fall. Instead, we are all a little anxious about another round of eye surgery on Monday to hopefully further correct her strabismus.

In this post I discussed her first procedure, where the interior muscles (those along the inside corners of the eye) were moved inward to 'loosen' the eyes into a more straightforward appearance. That surgery took place in July 2012, just before Makayla's first birthday.

It was successful in the aspect of her recovering well, and we felt as though the strabismus was improved somewhat, but it was obvious to us that it was still present. We knew going in that the rate of 100% success was not great, and that 10-20% of children require a second surgery. We just hoped that the odds were in her favor and we could be in the 'one and done' group.

Well here we are almost 3 years later facing round 2. We've tried multiple rounds of glasses, and while she looks so adorable in them, they don't seem to improve her strabismus at all. Her vision is excellent, so the purpose of the glasses was to hopefully strengthen her eye muscles if they were weak and therefore relaxing into a crossed or wandering motion due to the weakness. They may still be useful after surgery number 2 in further correcting any lingering strabismus. Only time will tell.

This time the focus of the surgery will be to 'tighten' the muscles on the outside of the eyes, to further stabilize her pupils in the center of her eyes. The younger that these procedures are done, the better the odds that the eyes will start to work together and things like depth perception will be improved. As far as we can tell she can't see things in 3-D, because her eyes work independently, one dominating over the other, alternating at any given time.

Our reasons for doing the second surgery are clear. There's been no change/improvement in her strabismus since the first surgery. Everything, including her eyesight, is stable. Waiting another year is only going to be just that. Waiting. So we are choosing to proceed with another corrective surgery so that hopefully she can start her school 'career' with the least noticeable strabismus possible. From the very beginning of this journey my deepest concern has always been how other children would treat her as she grew up. No parent wants their child to be the victim of teasing, and while I cannot protect her from all of life's dark sides, I want to do everything in my power to help reduce the struggles she will have to face.

As of now, she's a bright, caring, energetic 3 year old who only knows that she has very special and beautiful eyes. Roy and myself have been the ones to take on the burden of others unkind words during the last few years, and my hope for her is to never know how rude people can be.

She knows that Monday is a big day, and that she has a surgery on her eyes at the hospital. We've talked about being brave, and the Dr reassured her that she won't be getting any shots, just a special drink. It's so different this time around, knowing that she is aware of everything around her and will be asking questions and feeling afraid. The entire surgery is on the surface of the eyes, and we are told that the recovery is not very painful, mostly just a bit uncomfortable and achey. This girl has a high pain tolerance so I have no doubt she will be feeling like her normal self before too long.

Of course, all Prayers are appreciated. We will keep you updated.

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