Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Faith shall be sight...

It's hard to put into words the events of the past few days. We appreciate all the calls, e-mails, messages, tweets, thoughts, and prayers. For those of you reading about this for the first time, thank you for caring about us.

On Thursday morning, Holly texted me during a meeting to tell me that she was seeing double. She's been spending a lot of time working on graphics this month, and she thought she had just strained them from spending too much time in front of the monitor. After taking Thursday off, she woke up Friday still seeing double. She walked in for an appointment with Dr. Stanfield, our optometrist and friend. After his exam, he said Holly's eyes were fine. She was seeing 20/20. She could read the bottom line on the chart, she just saw two lines instead of one. Dr. Stanfield said most people who say they're saying double are actually seeing blurred or ghost-like images. She was truly seeing double. The abrubt onset of the double vision and her eyes being fine were a cause of concern. Dr. Stanfield wanted her to go see a neurologist for an MRI as soon as possible. The problem was that it was Friday afternoon - not a great time to schedule a last minute MRI. After striking out finding a neurolgoist, our surgeron friend, Dr. Mathis, ordered an MRI so we wouldn't have to wait out the weekend wondering if there was something serious causing the double vision. The three hours we had to wait seemed like an eternity. I can't imagine what it would've been like to wait the weekend.

Holly's fear in the morning was that her streak of perfect vision was coming to an end after 31 years of 20/20. At 3:45, the fear was a bit more intense. Now we were conerned about a mass, an anuerism, or something like M.S.. I don't remember a worse period of time in my life than the few hours of not knowing whether or not my wife had something serious causing her double vision. The test took about an hour, and Dr. Mathis called about an hour later and said the MRI was negative. There was nothing in her brain causing the double vision. So, her eyes are fine, and she doesn't have any of the major things that cause this. Great news! Bad news - she's still seeing double. Did I mention this is the day we were supposed to be celebrating our 11th anniversary? Not quite the celebration we planned for.

So, we survived the weekend with a new appreciation for how people with visual disabilities navigate through life. Her vision did not improve at all over the weekend, and with the difficulty in focusing came headaches and fatique. We were anxious to get to the neurologist on Monday to try and get some more answers.

The neurologist gave her a full neuro exam and declared her neurologically fit with the exception of something going on with her left eye. The condition is best described as a palsy of the 6th cranial nerve. The doctor's best guess is that a small blood clot is what's caused the palsy. There's no reason they can find by exam or MRI, so that leaves physiological deduction. Guessing. There are some viral infections that can cause this, some obscure diseases and blood conditions. So, they've ordered a very thorough blood work-up to rule out all of those things. Those other conditions, though, should be accompanied by other symptoms. She has no other symptoms. They've put her on aspirin to increase the blood flow, and if the blood work comes back negative the condition could begin to heal. If that's the case, without supernatural intervention, it could be up to 6 months before her vision is restored to normal.

The neurologist said that we'll never meet another person with this, it won't come up in conversation. It's a unique situation that little is known about. We are so grateful for all of you in our lives. The support has been overwhelming, and we'll be taking you up on the help offers until we get through this. Earlier in the week, Jacob and I were doing a Bible Study together. We were talking about faith, and I told him that scripture says that faith is believing in what you can't see. When he was talking about mommy not being able to see, he said, "That's like faith, Daddy." So we're believing in what we can't see, and as I was listenting to the new Aaron Ivey CD, I got hung up on the verse of "It is Well" that says, "Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight...". Clearly the verse is talking about seeing Jesus, but it has an additional meaning for us now. We believe our faith will be the return of Holly's sight.

For now, it affects everything - her graphic work, her photography, her ability to drive, to watch movies, to read, to do everything really. The neurologist recommended a patch to cover the affected eye because the other eye is fine. She's tried that around the house the past couple of days, but her equilibrium is messed up from trying to get acclimated to only being able to see out of one eye. We've got an appointment with the eye doctor again tomorrow to explore some other options for closing off that eye. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of explanation and not a lot of good options for what's going to happen from here. We are trusting God for a full recovery, and until then we're just taking it a minute at a time trying to make the best of a very odd situation. We love you very much. Thank you for taking time to read all of this.

Much love,

Jason, Holly, and Jacob


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