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In the blink of an eye, life can change.

Well, this is something I never wanted to have to write. I can still hardly believe I have to, but if I don't do it now, I'll attempt to put it off forever. It's sort of like thinking if you ignore a problem long enough, it will go away.

After a hopeful beginning, Sarah's news from Mayo yesterday was not good. But let me say I want to start by thanking God for my daughter! She is alive, healthy and happy; although saddened and shocked as we all are. I still have her here, can put my arms around her, give her a hug and kiss, and tell her I love her. I am so blessed.

This week, Sarah has seen a neurologist, a neuro-opthalmologist, a low-vision specialist and a neuro-surgeon. They went over every record from every test and doctor she has encountered along this journey. She had a specialized MRI to look more intently on the eyes and optic nerves, as well as many other tests. The results were that Sarah is suffering from chronic papilledema. Papilledema is a swelling of the optic nerve where it meets the eye, caused by increased intracranial pressure. Almost all cases are bilateral, and affect both eyes, as in Sarah's case. Sarah's tumor was the cause of the papilledema. If it had exhibited symptoms and been found and dealt with earlier, permanent damage might have been avoided. Unfortunately, her tumor took over 20 years to manifest itself and rear it's ugly head; all the while slowly robbing Sarah of her precious eyesight.

Yesterday my darling daughter was told there is nothing that can be done for her and she was declared legally blind. Oh how my heart aches to think that, let alone to say it. The doctor told her that the shapes, shadows etc. that she can see are surprising with the amount of damage she has. She was told that from a medical standpoint, there will be no improvement. But, it's like my youngest daughter Allie told me yesterday, "Don't cry Mom! Miracles happen every day!" So, we won't give up.

It is just so sad to think that it is what it is; that Sarah will never again be able to see the colors of a beautiful sunset, the blue of her husband's eyes or the precious face of her child if she decides to have a family one day.

Sarah and Nate now have a lot to think about and discuss. Being declared legally blind automatically qualifies her for Social Security Disability, when her long-term disability through her employer runs out. Another option is some sort of rehabilitation and training for a new profession or occupation. But, that could take years to accomplish and they may decide to start a family and she can be a stay-at-home Mom. Time will tell.

In the meantime, please remember my sweet Sarah in your prayers as she continues to adapt to her new limitations and move ahead with life. This has taken her down a path few, if any of us, can possibly understand. A specialist yesterday told her that most have no idea what a life-changing occurance this is. And because of that, she will be seeing a psychologist next week, to see how she is handling it all emotionally.

And finally, my prayer for all of you is that this causes you to open your eyes, eyes that can see, and look at what is around you. Look at the faces of those you love and who love you, look at your wife, husband, children, grandchildren, parents, friends, pets. Look at the beauty of nature, the ground as you walk putting one foot in front of the other and at written words. And then, look in your heart and make a lasting memory because you never know when the sight of all those things can be taken from you. We take so much for granted, don't we?

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Comment by Teresa Lindseth on December 2, 2009 at 2:53pm
Mary, Sad news, yet your daughter is right, Miracles happen every day! I will be praying for her eyesight! And yes, we need to be sure we don't take our good health for granted! Sara is in my prayers!
Comment by Jackie Orton on November 3, 2009 at 2:28am
Mary, I just read your post and echo everyone's thoughts. Thank God you still have her. Life will be different, but He never gives us more than He knows we can handle. Hang in there. We are all here for you.
Comment by Marie H on October 31, 2009 at 9:33pm
I am so terribly sorry to hear the news. The postive thing is you still have her and she seems to be doing well considering the news. I spent the weekend at the hospital with my dad and we found out we were just hours away from losing him. Today he is doing great. I can realate to not knowing what is in store for you at any time in your life. We are so greatful they were able to help dad and he will still be around to tease the grandchildren.
Also, they were able to get Sarah's tumor out. We have a few at the clinic I work at that haven't been quite that lucky. It does make you think and be glad and thankful for all the positive things in your life. I will keep all of you in my prayers!
Comment by Laurie on October 26, 2009 at 6:44pm
Mary, my heart and prayers go out to you, Sarah and your family. Miracles do happen everyday. The miracle may be something different than expected and even more wonderful. As a mother I can relate to the sadness for your daughter that you are feeling.
You are so right about taking things for granted. I appreciate you for sharing this story with us. It makes me realize that I have alot to be grateful for even when my life "seems" upside down.
I'm sure there will be many adjustments to be made and different ways of doing things to be learned.
As I mentioned before, my sister in law had to adjust to her sudden vision loss, but she is an amazing person with all the things she can do very well. I'm sure in time Sarah will be just as amazing. Will remember you all in my prayers.
Comment by Stephanie G. Benson-Greer on October 26, 2009 at 9:43am
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter. Don't give up hope. There are so many agencies out there that will be beneficial in your daughter's adjustment to her new way of life. Please ask your doctors where those agencies are in your area. Many hugs and snuggles coming your way!
Comment by Ginger Anne Johnson on October 24, 2009 at 8:51pm
Mary, I'm so saddened by the abrupt change in your daughter's life and in the lives of all who care for her. The older I get, the more is see that one never knows when your life will take an abrupt and complete change of direction. Sometimes I think it's harder on those around the individual who is suffering the change. I know mothers are so sensitive to their children's pains. It sounds as if you're taking the attitude that I tried to take while my husband was dying of bone cancer---take each day as it is given to you, and appreciate every moment that you have with your loved one. God CAN bring good out of this tragedy and I pray that He will bring it in abundance!
Comment by Ally Bryant on October 24, 2009 at 5:18pm
Mary my heart goes out to your daughter , you and your family. I can feel your hurt. Your daughter is so right we don't know what is ahead of us but miricles do happen, and your faith in the days ahead will help your daughter through what ever is ahead. May you fill the peace that only God can provide. I will be praying for you.
Comment by Linda Richards/N. Ontario on October 23, 2009 at 7:52pm
Mary, we will be praying for you and Sarah and just remember God makes NO MISTAKES. He has His purpose although we do not understand it. Hugs to you both. Take care and keep us posted as we are always here for your support.
Comment by Cheryl / NC on October 23, 2009 at 5:27pm
Dear Mary, I am saddened to hear your news about Sarah's eyes. I've been sitting here in tears as I read. As a mom I know how much more you wanted for her. You're right though, you still have her, you can touch her and hug her and cry with her, don't be afraid to do that, you will need time to grieve over this news. Then, as her mom, you will find a way to help her through this, to help you all through this. I know it's hard to see right now, but God has a plan for her. It won't be an easy road, but you all have each other to lean on, and I know you have the love and the strength to see it through. As I read through all the responses to your post tonight, I realized that God has already used both of you in a wonderful way! Look at the fellowship of prayer that He has given us, through you and Sarah! The friends we have made here, all of us of the same mind, to pray for a miracle for her. Good will come to her, and to you. We will keep praying, because miracles happen all the time. And we're here if you need us. But never lose your faith in Him, He will see you through this. God Bless you Mary!
Hugs! Cheryl
Comment by Cathy/IN on October 23, 2009 at 3:32pm
I have been keeping all of you in my prayers often. God always answers prayers, but sometimes the answer is "not right now" or something similar. I grieve with you over the loss of Sarah's vision, life just isn't fair at times. Thank you for giving us the nudge to appreciate all that surrounds us. I also have a friend who is losing her sight and it hasn't been easy for her. Please keep Barb in your prayers. Consider yourself hugged and loved on - you and your family feel like family to me.
Cathy

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