Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Do you believe in miracles?


When I started this blog and titled it "In the Midst of Miracles," we had just reached a point of stability in life. The girls' adoptions were final, we were living in our new home, I had just opened the appraisal business, and everything was going great. Our life is not easy every single day--that wouldn't be normal. But overwhelmingly, we continue to be very blessed. Every once in awhile, I get a reminder of exactly how I continue to live surrounded by miracles. Here is our most recent miraculous story:

In April of 2007, my youngest daughter, Jennica, was diagnosed with a very serious neurological condition called Nystagmus. It is a condition that, while caused by the brain, is manifested in vision and has to do with convergence. It is generally very debilitating, and the majority of people with this diagnosis never have vision better than 20/60 and, therefore, never have driver's licenses, often struggle desperately with basic reading, and other very basic functions that contribute to leading what most of us consider a "normal" and independent life. Most written sources on the condition state that there is no cure and that it is permanent. Period.

On top of the diagnosis of Nystagmus, we were also told that, much of the time, Jennica's brain was most likely only seeing what her left eye was seeing. When her left eye was covered, her brain engaged the right eye, but as soon as the left eye was uncovered again, the brain returned to the use of only the left eye. Puzzling...and worrisome!!

Fortunately for us, our eye doctor has expertise in the field of brain-eye connection (which is why we were there to begin with). She was able to tell us that both of Jennica's eyes physically have good vision. The problem was not in the vision, but in the way that the brain perceived the vision. So............with this heavy load to bear, we went home with a stack of exercises to work on. Dr. Inverso was quite positive that, because she is so young, we had a good chance of "re-training" her brain. WOW! Heavy-duty stuff......Especially for a newly-turned-three little girl. And remember from earlier posts, this is a child that we were told at birth had a high likelihood of autism, a very high probability of learning disabilities, and heaven-only-knew-what-else. Jennica has defied the odds and has NONE of the issues we were told to expect.

Now, I admit that after reading all the information on Nystagmus and what we were facing, I wondered if this was finally going to be "the one." The thing she couldn't overcome........

On November 30th, Jennica went back to her eye doctor. I'm overwhelmingly humbled and thrilled to report that the Nystagmus is GONE. G-O-N-E!!! And just as miraculous, her brain is now "seeing" with both eyes!! The eye doctor worked and worked to make sure that she was giving a correct report, and finally admitted that she could find no sign of either condition! WOW! We will continue with the eye exercises for several more months, just to be sure that we have given her brain an opportunity to solidify what it has re-learned, but the likelihood of these conditions returning is reportedly very, very slim.

So our stubborn, wonderful little daughter has once again beaten the odds. She has DEFIED the odds! Nothing short of..........well.........a miracle!!!

1 comment:

Edie said...

Hello Beth,

I have been writing about nystagmus for a few years now as I have had it since birth. I wonder if what your Jessica has is a form of nystagmus called spasmus nutans. With this variation, the nystagmus seems to disappear within a few years of onset. The only way to know for sure if she has spasmus nutans or not is for her to get an eye recording done. The recording will show if the nystagmus is still there on a subclinical level. I thought I should share that because if she does not have spasmus nutans, then the researchers would like to talk to you and her doctor about the nystagmus reversal. I don't think any of us have heard of that happening before and as you say, it would be a miracle. Either way, she is a miracle just for being Jessica.

Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Edie Glaser, Author
Navigating Nystagmus
All Children Have Different Eyes
2007 USA Best Books Finalist
www.lowvisionkids.com