Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One Really Long Week

Hazel, CHUBBY Hazel, looking at mommy's NEW camera tonight. So, no more blurry Blackberry pictures (at least for the most part!).

Me trying to get a picture of Gus's inward tilted left eye (read the story below). As you can see, he is not cooperating, but he sure is cute!

Chocolate face. Shhhh... I let him have some of daddy's candy bar today!

In the bath a few nights ago.

The rest of the pics are still with the phone camera, sorry. Gus playing with the new baseball glove daddy gave him for his birthday.

Bed head. No joke, this is what Gus wakes up to some mornings. He almost looks like he could fly away with those wings!

Hazel taking her first real bath yesterday.

Snuggling with mommy afterward. Hazel at 4 weeks old. Not a real smile, but I still love when she makes these funny faces. I can't wait for a few more weeks when she really smiles at me. Oh I love this gal!

Gus on his birthday.

Hazel helping to celebrate the festivities.

My little sweetie pie.

So sorry it has been such a long time since my last post. We have honestly had a really really long eventful, at times horrible, week. The high point was Gus's birthday last week. We really enjoyed that. But, it all went down hill from there...

My parents were in town last week (thank you thank you!), because as many of you know, I have been trying to finish up the last two and half weeks of classes, meaning, that I went back to work when Hazel was 13 days old. After tomorrow I will finally get 5 weeks off before summer classes start in July, but the last few weeks have been really difficult. I am nursing, so I am up all night feeding her and then go to work, and then rush home so Josh can go into work late (as he stays home with the kids some days until I can be there). My parents have been here off and on over the last two weeks to help watch the kids too so that Josh could go into work some of the days, so that helped out a lot. But anyway, I am totally and utterly exhausted. Just ask Josh (or my mom!) I am definitely not a joy to be around when I am tired. And Josh has been drowning in both his home and work expectations- he will be thankful when I am off work this next month and he can work regular hours.

But anyway, thank the Lord my mom and dad were here because last week our basement flooded. Yay. That was definitely not needed. And I could not take any time off work because I had saved (and used) all my sick days for the week and a half after Hazel was born. Dad and Josh think they have fixed the problem. Let's hope. In the meantime, we seriously need to consider getting this house on the market.

And to round off the week, and this is very serious and has been the hardest thing to endure- ever I think, we had a bit of a health scare with Gus. LUCKILY it was just that- a SCARE- but it has made the last three days the most stressful days Josh and I have ever had as parents. I haven't prayed as hard as I did the last few days ever, I think.

So, Gus went to his 2 year check-up on Monday. His weight, height, head circumference were all normal, but I honestly can't remember what they all were- we had much bigger things to discuss at this appointment. His cognitive development, physical development, all great. But, as we have known for a few months, Gus has one eye that has started to turn in. I assumed it was not a big deal and something we would just have checked out at this appointment. Maybe he'd have to wear a patch or something, some glasses perhaps, but it would be pretty routine. Lot's of kids wear those cute thick glasses, right?

Well, the doctor was very concerned. She said it did not look like lazy eye, and she was worried that he could have tumors in his eye (this is usually a rare form of cancer in children). And she said the word tumor like 5 times to me. She had several of her colleagues come in and evaluate his eye as well. No one could come to a consensus. So... I was freaking out. Really freaking out. She said that it was imperative that we get him into an eye surgeon/specialist THIS week. So we have been pretty much been scared to death and crying and praying nonstop the last few days. We really didn't want to tell anyone in case it ended up that there was nothing to worry about.

Well, today Gus went to the specialist and PRAISE THE LORD he just has strabismus (you have probably heard it called lazy or cross eye). It affects about 4 % of the US population. She did say that for his age, his eye tilt is about 2-3 times worse than it should be for typical strabismus. Strangely, I have never been more happy in my life! Gus is fine! THIS- we can deal with. Bad news, his type of strabismus, accommodative esotropia, is fairly common, not the MOST common type, but common enough and will require him to wear bottle thick glasses more than likely during his entire childhood, and he will need to wear a patch most of the summer, maybe longer. If this doesn't fix it, surgery may be necessary, but hey, no tumors, so fine with us.
I was surprised to find out that there is no cure. The patch will hopefully correct and repair the vision loss that he has already accrued (yes he has lost some vision in his left eye already- but he is too young for us to know how much for sure- hopefully not a lot- in a few years he can be tested to find out the permanent damage), and hopefully make his eye move back, and then the glasses for the rest of his childhood will hopefully prevent it from happening again. He might have to wear glasses forever to prevent this eye tilt from coming back (I am unsure if you can wear contacts for something like this- hopefully) or have one or many surgeries to move his eye back in the right place. This all is just a little more intensive than I thought it was going to be. I have to keep reminding myself of what the prognosis COULD have been. We are fortunate.

We of course, got him groovy thick trendy frames, so although it will look like he is wearing magnifying glasses, they will at least be cool ones :) I will say that it was not the year to cancel the eye insurance policy... yikes. But Gussie is worth every penny. Now the big task is getting a 2 year old to wear glasses and an eye patch. It's a good thing I have some time off coming up to really focus on him. Josh and I are going to get new glasses and wear them more, so he sees us in glasses too. Maybe it will help him adjust better.

It's funny because his eye is not turned in all the time (it's his left eye by the way) so you can't see it in many of the pictures I've blogged- especially if you weren't looking for it. When the camera did catch it, the eye often glared in the picture, because the light couldn't reflect in it right. For example, if you go back to the post of when Hazel was born, there is a picture of Josh holding the kids and you can see what I mean- it's just a glare. Here's another example from a previous post, it's the 2nd picture down, where he is squinting and smiling at the camera. There aren't many pictures of it on here because I usually don't blog the ones with the glare, eliminating them as just bad pictures of him. In person though, you can definitely see that Gus has a turned-in left eye. The glare in the pictures is actually what scared us the most, as a glare or white reflection in only one eye in a photograph is one of the main ways that parents catch retina cancer in their kids, as well has having the tilted in eye. Like I said, I have noticed this happening in pictures of Gus for several months, as I am always frustrated the red eye removal function won't work in that eye. I just didn't know it really meant that anything could be wrong. Honestly, I thought it was that the red eye removal function on my computer just didn't work that well. The eye surgeon assured us though that she did not see any tumors and that his pediatrician was just being overly cautious. In my research, I learned that the type of cancer we were scared he had is VERY progressive, so that is probably why.

So, if you see my little man over Memorial Day weekend next week, he will have glasses on. Thick ones. REALLY think ones. No joke, they look like tiny little magnifying glasses that will make his eyes look huge when you look at him straight on. But, we all need your support, so please, tell him how cool they look- okay?!? Daddy and I feel pretty bad for the little guy, and hope the kids in school someday aren't too mean to him for having such thick glasses. Oh we love Gussie so so so so much, poor little fella. But, we are thankful. So very thankful that, in the big picture of life, he is fine.


The Varner's Blog said...

Love you!!! I'm so happy everything turned out fine- plus he is super cute so he can pull off any glasses!!!! Can't wait to see him and give him a BIG hug!!!!

Lane & Rachel Smith said...

Hey Gus!!! I think it's pretty cool that you're getting glasses. My Mommy wears them and I try to grab them all the time. She has really bad eyes, so I bet someday I'll have to get glasses too and then you & me will be the same!!! I will come play with you over Memorial Day and we can hang out and give each other high fives because we'll be the 2 coolest boys at the lake. Give you Mom & Dad a hug and kiss because they were really worried about you!! See ya later dude.
Love, Kamden Smith

jennifer noel said...

Oh, I feel bad for the little guy...but thank goodness it isn't a real big serious issue. You writing about the retina damage and how that is often discovered through pictures I can relate to. I had an eye injury when I was little and my cornea is damaged and I can see where it is in pics because of the glare or red eye. I think the glasses will just add to the cuteness!!!!

Hayes Family said...

Traci, I can't imagine how hard this week has been for you and Josh. Josh spoke to Pat earlier this week and tried to explain a little bit about what you guys found out. I am sooooo thankful that Gus is just fine....just needs some cool glasses! Mr. Gus, you have an AWESOME mommy and daddy, and the cutest little sis ever!!!!!!! Hugs, Arica

Amanda and Scott said...

We have been thinking about you! Hope this week is going better. We are glad that Gus' situation did not end up to be serious and he will look adorable in glasses! I always think that when I see a little kid in glasses. Hopefully we can see that little girl of yours before she gets too big!

Kristin said...

Hi Traci, I came across your blog from the link on Justin VanLaere's page, and I wanted to say hi! What beautiful kids you have! I just had my 2nd little girl in November and am just now coming out of the fog of sleeplessness. I cannot believe you went back to work so quickly! I could never have done that - amazing.

When I read this post about Gus's eyes, I wanted you to be sure to know about vision therapy. My brother and sister both had eyes that didn't track together, and went through a vision therapy program with a developmental optometrist in Webster City. Neither wears glasses today, although they did when they were young and going through this therapy. We drove from Rockford to Webster City for appointments 3 times a week for years and they did eye exercises for hours each day, but it worked. I know this sounds very preachy and I am so sorry to offer unsolicited advice when you’re overwhelmed already, but it sounds like you're doing lots of research to provide the best for your son and I'd hate for you to not know about this just because I was afraid of being rude. If you're interested in doing more research, look for a "developmental optometrist" (not ophthalmologist - that's eye disease, not function) in your area, and google vision therapy. It's much more than just strengthening the weak eye, it's exercising them together, and working on coordination and balance. With Gus being so young, you're at a real advantage. My sister's eye issues weren't discovered until she had trouble reading, and then they found my brother could benefit from it as well. His eyes recovered to the point where when he was playing baseball in high school, he talked about watching to see the pitcher's fingers on the ball at the start of the pitch to know what was coming.

Here's a start:

I wish you the very best, and I hope you get through this stressful time with some happy memories of your new baby. I didn't have any additional stressors when Audrey was born, and I was still a crazy lady for months! And really, the glasses are very cute. :)

Take care!
Kristin (Johannsen) Sullivan