Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We're home from Boston with good news!

Well, we made it home last night as the first snow storm of the season was hitting the north country.  We drove in rain all through New Hampshire and Vermont, finally hitting the first of the snow in the Champlain Islands.  By Ellenburg, the road was covered and it was slow going.  We were exhausted by the time we pulled in and so delayed the update until this morning.

Boston was hectic and busy but Alex and I loved the bustle of the city.  Alex got to take his first subway ride on our way to visit cousins Lee, Peter, and Dan in Cambridge for dinner.  We had a wonderful visit there.

Of course, you are all tuning in to hear about the nitty-gritty of the trip I am sure.  We met with the surgeon midday on Tuesday at Children's Hospital.  This was Alex's toughest appointment yet - bad timing during the day.  He was tired and cranky but managed to hold it together with some help from Mom while the doctor was kind enough to do the eye exam while he nursed :)

The surgeon's plan is that two surgeries are inevitable (both cataracts will have to be removed and they will not do both at the same time).  The good news is that Alex's cataracts do not need to be removed right now.  At this time, his visual acuity is testing within the low average range for his age.  The plan for now is to keep monitoring his vision very closely (likely with monthly trips to his pediatric ophthamologist in Vermont).  If/when the cataracts progress (get worse) or if his vision fails to continue to improve (as a typical toddler's does), then it will be time for surgery.  There is no way to predict when or how quickly the cataracts will progress; we only know that they will progress at some point.

Our other happy piece of news is that the surgeon feels as though Alex is a good candidate for intra-ocular lens (IOL) placement.  This means that Alex would receive an artificial lens in his eye when they remove the cloudy natural lens.  This is wonderful news for us as it means no contact lenses (which are used when young children do not have an IOL implanted).

When the time comes, we will return to the Boston area (likely Waltham MA)for surgery.  After each surgery, Alex will have a few weeks of recovery and then be measured for glasses.  Once he is past the age of 2, those glasses will likely be bifocals.  Alex is quite certain this means he will be able to pick up the smart chicks down the road :)

So.... for now, we watch and wait, we continue to patch the right eye daily, and we hope he gets a bit older before it is time for surgery.

As always, we are so grateful for everyone's love and support and prayers.  Visiting a place like Children's Hospital is a reminder both that we are blessed with a healthy child - and also that the world is blessed with many well trained and caring people watching out for all kids who pass through their doors.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Fall Pictures of Our Peanut

Sorry to be slow posting these - Alex and I were lucky enough to join our friends Deanna, Lukas, and Emma and their family on an apple picking trip in Southern Quebec two weekends ago.  Alex loved the tractor/hay ride and dogs at the orchard - not to mention the chance to mosey around the orchard, chanting "Apple!  Apple!".  Last weekend, those apples (along with many others) became 42 quarts of applesauce (with help from Grandma and Grampa).  Yum!

Our (generally) happy boy (after making a mess in the hall).

Another average day at home: cleaning out the recycling bins and causing general mayhem!

Alex and Grampa playing with blocks.  We're now patching Alex's right eye for an hour a day.  the busier we can keep him during this hour, the happier everyone is, though he is generally pretty good about leaving the patch on.

We just took this picture today (Sunday) as Alex wanted to model his cool new Halloween shirt (thanks Aunt Judy!).  He has a bit of a cold right now but was fairly cheery while playing this morning.

Friday, October 3, 2008

We've chosen a surgeon

Well, as of this morning, we have an appointment to meet with a pediatric ophthamologist/surgeon about Alex's cataracts.  We have chosen to go to Children's Hospital of Boston as they are well knows for treating pediatric cataracts and are actually doing research on them there.  Surgery is not a definite yet - but Alex's pediatric ophthamologist wanted a surgical opinion sooner rather than later.  Surgery could be within a few months - or a year or more down the road.  We just don't know yet.

Our appointment is the week of Halloween - which seems so very far away but I know will be here soon.  It is amazing to me how I can get frustrated when I cannot make doctor appointments quickly for me - but I am 100 times more antsy and anxious about it when it is for Alex.  I guess just like any mom, I just want the best for him - and I want it right now :)

In the meantime, we will be patching Alex's right eye (his left cataract is significantly worse) for an hour a day.  In kids with cataracts (especially when only one eye is involved or one eye is worse than the other), amblyopia can very easily develop.  In amblyopia, the brain blocks out the signals from the "weak" eye because it is focusing on the stronger vision in the "strong" eye.  This can lead to poor depth perception and reduced vision down the road.  Patching the stronger eye helps the brain rely more on the weaker eye, therefore retaining better vision.  We will certainly be patching a lot following surgery (if and when it is recommended) but Alex's doctor wanted to start some now.

The upside of patching is that Alex and I will get a lot of practice making pirate noises!  We practiced this last week when we patched a bit - and he thought my "Arrrrrr!" noises were very funny.

And, to finish up this post with a random tidbit... Alex said "banana" for the first time today!  When I asked him if he wanted a banana for breakfast, he smiled and said "nana".  His language is growing by leaps and bounds and I love seeing what new thing he learns every day.