I apologize for my absence…
Kelsey is set to have her sixth surgery tomorrow. She is having corrective eye surgery to fix her wandering, right eye. If you’ve been with me for awhile, you’ll recall that she’s had this before. When Kelsey was just shy of a year old, she had surgery to correct the inward turn of her eyes.
Well, as we were warned, the surgery didn’t “stick.” Over the last four years, she went from crossing inward, to perfectly straight, to a wandering right eye.
We’re not sure what specifically caused the initial strabismus, or turning inward, but it probably relates to four brain surgeries (including one infection) in her first five months. And the human brain is very smart. Especially the young brain. When her eye wasn’t aligned properly, she shut it off as to not see double. The right eye became “lazy.”
Since then we have seen a developmental optician and two new ophthalmologists. We landed on one we love at The Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. The first thing the new doctor did was to fix the prescription in Kelsey’s glasses. Her left eye is slightly near sighted and her right eye is VERY nearsighted…to the point of being barely able to see. To help to strengthen ol’ Righty, we have been patching our hearts out and making those glasses stay on her cute little face all the time.
Kelsey can now say “glasses” and “patch” and has her favorite colors and patterns (Green! Hearts!). In her recent Enlightenment Season (joyful! silly! smart! a chatterbox!), she has tolerated the glasses and allows us to keep the patch on her for four hours a day, as the doctor ordered.
Our hard work has paid off, slightly, and Righty is getting stronger. When patched, Kelsey clearly uses the right eye to play, walk, watch TV across the room, etc. Now that she will keep the patch and glasses on (something she wouldn’t do when she was one), there’s a better chance that her brain and properly aligned eyes will help her to use the right eye more. So, surgery was suggested.
Surgery is not something we are particularly scared of. We are even used to surgery on our kids. In the last nine and a half years, our children have had six surgeries. Six encounters with anesthesia and its effects wearing off. Six mornings and afternoons of not being able to eat or drink for an infant and four year old. Six experiences of waiting for a surgery time, getting it postponed, waiting longer, and having to keep a child happy in a hospital during that time. Six times hearing all the possible, negative scenarios if something goes wrong during surgery (“…or even death”). Even with all that, we are pros. “Get in there, fix the problem, and let us go back home!”
Surgery didn’t scare us as much as not fixing the problem the surgery was intended to fix in the first place. Refluxing urine into the kidneys, water on the brain, infections in the brain…yes, please get in there and fix those as soon as possible!! No surgery never scared us. Until now.
You see the last time Kelsey had this surgery, she went in as our happy, easy, laid back baby and came out an entirely different child.
Seriously. It was like night and day. And the grouchy, hard-to-please, stuck in (lack of) development phase stuck around way too long for our liking. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed and “cured” of her seizures (over 18 months later) that our Kelsey came back to us. Now, no doctor has ever acknowledged the fact that something happened during that surgery to have caused the change. Some admit anesthesia could have had a lasting effect, or that sight distortion was now upsetting her, but no one has really listened to us (and definitely not agreed) about this concern regarding the surgery. The surgeon who will operate on her tomorrow listened the most, and for that we are thankful. I’m not sure it will make a difference, but everyone knows that parents know their children best, and we knew a different child before the last eye muscle correction. That’s all there is to it.
So this week I’ve been more anxious about surgery than I ever have before. I’ve been praying for steady doctors and attentive nurses. For an awesome anesthesiologist who uses caution and makes careful decisions. I pray that we walk in and out of one of the best hospitals in the world with the same, joyous adorable little girl who is lighting up our life with laughter and smiles. Happy and healthy…happy and healthy…happy and healthy. I pray we have an early appointment and that the waiting is limited. And of course, I pray that the surgery works and that the recovery is quick. That this is the next step to helping Kelsey see the world with both of her beautiful, blue eyes. Amen.
And in true Larrick fashion, not only do we have a surgery planned for tomorrow but we’re also due to FINALLY break ground on our new house. Annnd the next day (bearing all goes well with Kelsey), we will gather to remember and celebrate the life of my beloved uncle who passed away at the beginning of the month. So if you wouldn’t mind sending some prayers, happy thoughts and well wishes our way, we could certainly use them in the next couple of days.
Thanks, friends. Xo.