Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hematologist Report (on Holly's ongoing eye issue...)

Thank you again for taking the time to read about the latest on Holly's 6th cranial nerve palsy. Her vision is still the same. Still seeing truly double, and she is wearing some glasses we rigged up that block out the affected eye to help her function with the double vision.

We went to the hematologist at the request of the neurologist. The hematologist was really nice, seemed to really listen, and really knew his stuff. He looked at the blood work the neurologist ordered, but he didn't agree that the findings necessarily indicated the antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. He's familiar with that condition, and in his experience people that have it have higher numbers on their blood work. To confirm or deny the diagnosis, you have to wait six weeks between tests. So, Holly will have more blood work done the week of August 10th. He also said that he has treated a lot of people who have clotted as a result of birth control. Birth control enhances certain genetic tendencies of clotting. Most people only clot when they get older, but the birth control brings the clotting sooner. If there's no genetic issue, then the birth control is the culprit. He also wants to check her heart, because the heart can cause clotting. He doesn't really think it's either of those things, but he has to check it out. He did also say that when he's seen clotting as a result of birth control that it's normally in the leg. Holly's being in her brain is unusual.

So, we're still pretty much where we started. It's great news that he doesn't think it's the autoimmune disease. If that's confirmed by the next round of blood work, then she won't have to be on blood thinners. More waiting around and more praying that the 6th cranial nerve will regenerate so she can see. We'll give more information as we have it. Oh, and we seem to be really noticing how many verses there are about sight and blindness in Scripture. Pretty amazing.

We love you and cherish your prayers. Thank you for your support.

Jason, Holly, and Jacob

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Holly Eye Update

Thank you again for all of your prayers and support during this strange time for us. It's now been almost four weeks since Holly woke up with double vision (diplopia). Her condition is basically the same. It's actually a bit worse because as her muscle is not being stimulated at all by the nerve, her eye drifts more medially and has made the double vision more severe. The abducens nerve is the real name of the 6th cranial nerve. A blood clot in Holly's brain has affected the blood flow to this nerve causing it to be paralyzed. This is the nerve that controls the muscles in the eye that move it laterally. Since this nerve is paralyzed, the eye drifts medially and inhibits the eyes from working together to see one image, they are working independently and seeing two.

Yesterday, we returned to the neurologist for a synopsis on the blood work (all 7 vials worth). They did find an abnormality. This was actually a bit comforting for us because it means something caused this. They found increased levels of her antiphospholipd antibodies. Antibodies are what your body makes to fight off anything that shouldn't be there. These increased level indicate that her body is creating antibodies that are attacking her own body. It is an autoimmune condition. The main consequence is the producing of blood clots in the body that could cause a stroke (or in this case a paralyzed nerve). Another symptom of this condition is miscarriage. We're two for two in the past year and a half. The next step is to have this diagnosis confirmed with a hematologist who will probably run all the blood work again to confirm. If he agrees, the solution is blood thinners. The question will be is aspirin enough of a blood thinner, or will they want to do something stronger that is prescription? Holly's body should be more well than it's ever been with this treatment. The appointment with the hematologist is a week from today.

However, it will do nothing to repair her eye. The healing of her double vision is entirely dependent upon the regeneration of that 6th cranial nerve. It is just as likely to regenerate as to not, but we are believing God for her total healing. Last week, a good friend of mine named John McComb (pastor of San Marcos Community Church), called and asked if he could bring some guys he prays with over to lay hands on Holly on Thursday night. I invited our elders and some others who have been standing with Holly very closely through this. It was an amazing time. One of the families is hosting an 11-year old Ukrainian orphan who prayed in her native tongue over Holly. That alone was worth the price of admission. It was so great to come together - regardless of church - and go hard after God's heart in all of this. Holly said she felt a couple of different things from the Lord during our prayer time (1) Look at how much Kingdom growth is happening because of this and (2) It's not time yet. So, we remain encouraged the God is working in the midst of this. We're still struggling to live normally as Holly's ability to do a lot of normal things is limited, but we're grateful for the opportunity to come together as a family, pray more than we ever have, and trust God for the future. The support from our family and friends has been almost overwhelming. The goodness of God is very close despite the weight of the situation. We each have our moments of melt-down, but overall we're very blessed, hopeful, and excited about everything that God's doing in this season.

Thank you for caring enough to read all of this and for walking with us. We love you.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Double Vision Update

First of all, I would like to thank you so much for all of your thoughts, prayers, and kind words over the past couple of weeks. It is still a bit overwhelming at times, and we are truly humbled by so many family and friends interceding on our behalf. I just wanted to send a quick update.

These are some glasses that I rigged up for Holly to wear. The only way for her to not see double at this point is to block out her left eye. Her vision is 20/20 in both eyes individually, but the left one is the affected eye. It's the one that is unable to align the two images she is seeing. So, these glasses allow her to see normally out of her good eye and to block out the double vision. They are not a great fix, but better than a patch. We went back to the eye doctor last week, and he has ordered Holly a +10 contact. It's a super strong prescription. It's like putting on eye glasses that are so strong you can't see through them. The lens is so strong that she can't see through it, and it just whites out everything. The thought is that whited out is better than blacked out, and with the contact, she can still see light without obstruction. So, that should be here this week for her to try out.

We went last we last week for the bloodwork, and they took 5 viles of blood. The next day they called and said they didn't see everything on the order, and they need 3 more. So, the three more will happen today. Again, the bloodwork is to see if there's a viral or blood issue causing the 6th cranial nerve palsy.

We're taking it one day at a time. Coping is a little easier each day, but still very life-changing. Our prayer is that God would restore her sight completely in his perfect timing for His own glory.

Again, all the messages, phone calls, and conversations have been a huge blessing. Thank you for standing with us.