Monday, March 24, 2014

The Eye Saga Continues...

Well, considering it's been over two years since I last posted (other than my side note today), I figure it's high time for an update! Things have been pretty quiet on the cranio front in the past couple of years, but we have had a bit of action on the side of Addy's strabismus, including the latest news which we have not yet shared with most of our own loved ones.

Here is the run-down (as well as I can recall)...

Early-to-mid 2012:
Addy continues seeing Dr. Y for her eyes. The alignment is not evening out as well as we'd hoped, so we change her glasses prescription once or twice, as well as trying various patching regimens.

Fall 2012:
Dr. Y starts talking about another eye surgery. We are not thrilled with this idea. I have recently started seeing a chiropractor, so we start taking Addy as well to see if that might change anything (since we've heard that this is possible). The chiropractic seems good for Addy in general (her motor skills seem to improve a bit as she suddenly learns how to jump up and down), but has no noticeable effect on her eyes.

As a second surgery seems imminent, we seek out a second opinion from UNC. Dr. Y's opinion is affirmed and seems highly respected by the folks at UNC. We begin to feel more confident that Dr. Y is trying her best to avoid surgery, but feels that it is the best alternative. We decide that if her opinion has not changed by Addy's next appointment, that we will go ahead with a second surgery.

January 3, 2013:
Addy's 2-year cranio post-op check-up. Addy is a bit small for her age, but everything else looks great. Clean bill of health as far as her head is concerned!

January 22, 2013:
At Addy's appointment, we find that things are about the same, so we sign ourselves up for another surgery. We are told that someone will call us the following day to set up a surgery date, likely a couple months away.

January 23, 2013:
The call comes in, but we are told that in addition to later alternatives, there is an opening for surgery the next day. We were not expecting this at all, but we decide that sooner is better than later, so we quickly arrange for a pre-op (that day) and a babysitter to watch our other two girls.

January 24, 2013:
Addy undergoes a second eye surgery. This one is a bit tougher than the last one -- probably mostly because she requires more anesthesia as a bigger kid, and this makes it more difficult for her to bounce back as quickly as last time. She takes it like a champ, though, and is mostly back to normal by the next day. Though still not perfect, Addy's eyes look better aligned immediately after surgery (which is better than last time, when they looked much worse at first!).

Addy resting a few hours after coming home from her surgery.

March 2013:
At Addy's follow-up appointment, her eyes are still a bit turned in. Dr. Y decides to try giving Addy bifocals, which she thinks may help train her eyes to stay farther apart while looking at objects up close. She also recommends that we start patching her right eye again.

Spring 2013:
Despite putting in the order for Addy's new glasses immediately, we run around in circles for nearly two months before we finally get them in hand. (They are first shipped to the wrong office, then are accidentally discarded by the courier who was supposed to bring them to the right office [I know, right?!], then have to be reordered, then arrive with the bifocal part of the glasses covering more than half of the lens, then have to be reordered AGAIN, then finally arrive as needed. Oy.) By this time Addy's next appointment is just a few weeks away, yet we have not had time to allow the glasses to help her eyes at all. (We also have not worked on the patching very much, and want to be a little more faithful with that before seeing the doctor again.) We decide to push the appointment back to July.

July 2013:
The new glasses and more faithful patching seem to have done something because Dr. Y says Addy's eyes look great! We are overjoyed. Dr. Y tells us to return in about 8 months.

January 2, 2014:
Addy's 3-year cranio post-op check-up. Addy is looking great on all fronts. However, we are noticing her eyes still turning in a bit, so we are not certain of what Dr. Y will think at her next appointment...

Which brings us to our latest update from...

March 21, 2014:
I go in with a bit of anxiety for Addy's next follow-up. We go through various tests, which seem to indicate (from what I can tell) that Addy's eyes are not seeing the greatest (I think we got down around 20/40, with the right eye seeing slightly better than the left), and that she likely still does not have three-dimensional vision. We see a fellow doctor of Dr. Y's first, who confirms that her alignment is a bit turned in again. When we see Dr. Y, she seems surprised and disappointed, and keeps asking if Addy has been sick or injured since she last saw her. (She hasn't had any issues beyond a minor cold or two.) Dr. Y finally seems to concede that her eyes are just growing and the alignment is changing with age. My assumption is that if Addy's brain could learn to truly coordinate with her eyes and provide 3D vision, the alignment would no longer be much of an issue... but the problem is getting her eyes to a place where her brain will recognize the difference. Which apparently has not been achieved so far. *sigh*

At present, one problem is that Addy needs a different prescription for the sake of the vision of her eyes individually... and it is actually a weaker one than she has now. (This would explain why she has lately been lifting up her glasses while she tries to watch TV... the prescription she has now is meant to help her focus her eyes more outward from one another, but it is making it harder for her to see overall.) As Dr. Y put it, that puts us between a rock and a hard place, because the prescription that may help her alignment inhibits her vision, and the one that helps her vision doesn't help her alignment. But, she said, there is a higher priority on her vision overall, so our next course of action is to get her a prescription that more closely fits what her eyes need individually. We will also be patching her right eye again in an effort to keep her brain from starting to ignore the weaker left eye.

We have another appointment in a little over two months. We'll see how she is then and go from there. Just to prepare myself for the worst, I asked if another surgery would be recommended if nothing changes from here. The answer was unfortunately yes. We are hoping and praying that the new glasses and patching will do the trick. This regimen seemed to help last time, so there is some hope. We'll see how it goes!

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