Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pray for Karen Please

"The greatest treasures are those invisible to the eye but found by the heart." Michael Nolan

Last summer I wrote about my niece's heroic battle with a vicious cancer called ocular melanoma. At the time, though the surgical treatment was rough, it seemed she emerged victorious. We celebrated. But then the Cancer Demons said: Not. So. Fast.

Today (Wednesday) surgeons will Remove. Her Eye. Yeah, join me in a giant shudder. It's called Enucleation.

Here's the medical info:

What is Enucleation?
Immediately after the eyeball is removed, an orbital implant is inserted deep in the socket to preserve the shape of the eye. It will later be replaced by a permanent prosthesis.

It may hurt when you jerk your good eye to one side or another because the muscles of both eyes always move together and although your eye has been removed, your eye muscles move as if your eye was still there.

The plain facts in cold medical terms for laymen. What, they can't say life will go on, you'll be able to operate normally? Well, actually, they do.

What will I look like after my eye is removed?
Keep in mind that your eyeball helps to keep the eyelid up. Therefore, when the eye is removed the eyelid simply stays shut as if you are winking. You may be self-conscious and want to wear an eye patch or sunglasses until you get your prosthesis.

Will I be able to lead a normal life with only one eye?
It will take some time to adjust to using one eye, but almost everyone learns to compensate during the first year after surgery. There is reduced visual field on the side when looking straight ahead, and there is a loss of depth perception.

If the vision in your remaining eye is good, you will still be able to drive, read, play sports, and perform all your usual daily activities.

Yeah, enough already. In your wildest dreams you don't want this nightmare.

Here's the part they don't talk about. How long will I live?

That's because they don't know. They believe the enucleation will finally and completely eradicate the cancer. But ocular melanoma can metastasize to the liver and lungs. So even though the prognosis will most likely be good, the scans and tests and vigilance must continue even as life goes on.

Karen is 45 years old. She has a husband, two children, two dogs, a busy, productive life. Her 11-year-old son Alex also has cancer. A different kind, called

I want to howl to the heavens: HOW MUCH PAIN MUST ONE FAMILY TAKE?

I know the answer. As much as they're given.

Karen is such a warm, courageous, loving, caring person. She virtually glows with goodness and light. Read her story if you didn't already:
I See Courage.

Pray for her please. If you don't pray, send some healing thoughts her way.

We all thank you.

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Blogger Dan said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your niece. I said a prayer for her. I have an uncle who just died from esophogal cancer and know of other people who are affected by cancer, either themselves or someone they're close to. It's really difficult, but help is often available where you least expect it. Hang in there.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Marcie said...

I am so sorry for Karen and her family! We are all praying for her.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Mary Margaret said...


I just said a prayer for Karen and her family (including you). Cancer is an evil disease, but it cannot rob us of the love of family and friends. May God give you all peace and comfort through this trying time. I believe He can heal Karen, and that is my prayer.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Kim said...

Everything you write about Karen and Alex and your remarkable family makes me believe you have been sent to us for a reason. I especially admire how all of you use humor against your fear.

You are all an inspiration. I am sorry for your pain and will continue to pray for all of you, but you must take

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Kim said...

I didn't finish. I wanted to say you must take comfort in each other and everyone who loves you.

10:45 AM  

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