Saturday, August 1, 2009

Shadows and light (67 days)

Bryce ventured out into the world for the first time at nine this morning. His trip was brief and uneventful, and he was snug in his new home at Children's Hospital shortly thereafter. We're still adjusting to the new surroundings; the faces are friendly but unfamiliar, while the facilities are reassuringly similar and yet also alien. We spent much of the day awkwardly bumbling around, although I'm sure we'll find our sea legs (or perhaps NICU legs) before too long.

Christie and I cringed at the sight of poor Bryce enduring his second eye exam of the past 24 hours, but we were both impressed with the retinologist, and very grateful that she cut her vacation short to see him. However, I'm sorry to say that Bryce was not the only one to shed a tear this afternoon. His prognosis is grim: the abnormal growth in his eyes is very severe, and even with prompt laser treatment, the odds of retinal detachment are 40-70%. Given his condition, she estimated that the odds of 20/60 or better corrected vision are only 40%. Also, our previous assumption that this would be a "one and done" surgery was incorrect: his eyes will need to be monitored closely for at least several more weeks, and he may require multiple treatments, so tomorrow's operation is just the first step of yet another journey.

Though it seems like a pretty dark day for Team Sonnek, we're trying to remain positive. Given the challenge we're facing, I believe that we've entrusted Bryce to the most capable hands available. The doctor seemed cautiously optimistic that Bryce would have some sort of functional vision, and if he was destined to face some medical trial related to his prematurity, we're glad it's one that isn't life-threatening. Even in the worst case, we know that blindness does not preclude one from experiencing a rich and meaningful life; coincidentally, Stevie Wonder's blindness was due to ROP. More importantly, we never know what tomorrow will bring; given all the amazing advances in biotechnology, little Bryce may put his old man's "hawk eyes" to shame a few years down the road. Go, twinkie! Print this post

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