Cassie Shepherd

October 30, 2015

Lazy Eye: What's Next?


Did we rush into surgery too quickly? Was Emily's surgery necessary? Had we known it would fail, would we have done the same procedure on Adalynn? Was the success of the surgery based on the doctor's skill? What now?

Its been two weeks since Addie's surgery. And, my emotions surrounding the surgeries are still pretty raw. My gut twists every time I look at Emily's lazy eye. I question if we took the right steps. I feel guilty. Like it's my fault. Like I should've done something differently.

If we hadn't had to have the surgeries, would Emily still be as needy as she is? Would she frantically question where I am every time I leave the room? Mama, mama, mama?!?! Would she allow others to get close to her? When she is upset, would she let Mitch comfort her? And, what about Addie, who, just this week, is starting to show similar anxious behaviors? For the first time in Addie's life, she comes in and checks on me and panics if I walk the garbage outside. She fights more for my attention and neither girls are sleeping well. Sometimes one or the other will wake two or three times a night, calling out for me.

I know some of their behaviors, like stranger anxiety, is age appropriate. But, it's hard to know how much of it is just their personality versus how much was intensified by their experiences at the hospital and all these doctor appointments. I do know, the Child Life Specialist recommended we get a doctor's kit and the first thing Emily pulled out was the eye tool and held it up to her eye. She knew exactly what she was doing. They have both gravitated to the kit and I've noticed, more than once, them acting out similar real life experiences on each other and their bears. Which is a good sign, but also reminds me they are still working through everything themselves.


When Emily's lazy eye re-appeared we took her in for Addie's post-surgery follow-up. The next step - glasses. And the best case scenario is that is all she needs. And she might even outgrow the glasses. But, I can already tell you that isn't going to be the case. Her eye doesn't just slightly drop and she needs a little lens to help it stay on track (like Mitch)...it's just like it was before the surgery. So, my guess is, we'll use glasses for awhile, but the likelihood of another surgery is very very high. Mitch had to have 2 surgeries and has worn glasses since he was two. I asked the doctor how typical it was for the lazy eye to return so quickly. She said it's common to reappear, but this quickly was faster than she'd normally see. [sigh]

We have a family connection to another pediatric ophthalmologist (outside of Utah) and I did ask him a bunch of these questions. He reassured me he'd done exactly what we've done already and we're still on the right track. It's what I did/didn't want to hear. I'm relived he had confidence in our doctor and that we're headed in the right direction with glasses. But, I am also disappointed because in a way  I didn't want this is to be "normal" I wanted it to be a simple answer. Yes, glasses will fix everything! He told me to definitely prepare for not only one, but probably multiple surgeries because the girls are so young. Great.

And now, we wait. Emily's glasses have been ordered. I sure hope they work, if even temporarily so we can avoid another surgery for sometime. The last thing I want is another surgery in the middle of our big move. And, only time will tell on Addie. For now, she looks great and has even healed faster than Emily. But, I'm also preparing myself for the day Addie wakes up with another lazy eye.

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