How do you begin to write the story of how seconds changed your life? That is all, just seconds. I have been contemplating how to write this story for weeks. With tears streaming down my face every time I start to type, I have stopped more times than I have tried to finish it. This story is an important story, just as seconds changed my life; seconds could change yours too.
November 18th was a normal day for the Bailey’s. Logan woke up, and we all ate breakfast while watching Highly Questionable (he loves Papi). We loaded up the car and headed to an eye appointment. You all know the story of why Logan is in glasses but what you may not know is that we waited 16 weeks past that appointment to see an eye doctor who works more with Children.
After we arrived and checked in, the medical assistant called us back to prepare for the doctor. Once the doctor arrived she tried looking in his eyes, but he wasn’t having it, so we had to hold him tight and pry open his little eyes. That is when the first life changing second happened; the doctor pulled back and looked frightened. She excused herself to grab a colleague who did the same exam and reacted the same way. As Logan curled up on my shoulder holding on tight, the two doctors looked at Wes and I and told us that Logan had a white scar that is raised in his left eye. They told us it was highly likely he had Retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma is eye cancer; they told us he wouldn’t be able to drive, play sports, or be normal because most likely he would lose his eye. They sent us immediately to a Retina Specialist.
How do you react to hearing that your child may have cancer? You can’t even explain it. We drove over to a specialist and again had to hold down our sweet baby boy while he screamed for mama and dada. It was the most heartbreaking thing I have ever had to do. I had nightmares for days; I never want to hear those screams again. The next two doctors that examined Logan also had the same look on their face, but instead of confirming or denying what the previous doctors had told us…they simply told us they were sending us to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Thanksgiving was next week, and every day that passed with no answers to when I could get Logan in to see these doctors in Los Angeles hope started to fade. I was powerless, someone told me that my baby has a high possibility of cancer, and I couldn’t get anywhere with scheduling clerks. I do not want you to think that they were not trying their damnedest to get us in, in fact; it was the opposite. They were our advocate. Little did we know that it all boiled down to the doctor at Retina Specialists of Nevada not calling the doctor in Los Angeles for a doctor to doctor consultation. This was the hold up. With every avenue almost exhausted I reached out to the CEO of the company I work for and by some miracle, he called the doctor in Los Angeles, and they spoke, doctor to doctor.. Receiving a call from the clerk telling me to come in on Tuesday (just days before Thanksgiving) was life changing.
We packed up the car and left Las Vegas with our destination being Los Angeles. The morning of our appointment was horrific, Wes and I were sick to our stomachs. The doctor took us back and was amazing with Logan; there was no need to wrap him in a blanket and hold him down. He simply was better. The doctor told us he did not believe it was life threatening but unfortunately, there wasn’t a clear answer. We needed to bring him back for an Exam Under Anesthesia when both the cancer specialist and the general specialist were available.
Waiting – something that can be the hardest emotion to succumb to. We celebrated Thanksgiving and called the very next Monday afternoon. December 9th, this was the day we would be back in Los Angeles.
We gave Logan his last meal at 8:30pm and some milk at 10:00pm as instructed. Then the next morning we left for the hospital with the fear of the unknown. Not only were we worried over the exam but we were worried that he has never had to fast and here he was…no food, and we couldn’t explain to him why. Then, of course, the worst could happen for a little guy who hasn’t eaten, his exam kept getting pushed back because of other surgeries. Logan fasted for 22 hours before being taken back. You never would have known, he was so good. With not having any water or liquid for that long it took four try’s to get an IV in because of the dehydration.
Then Wes and I waited.
Thirty Minutes later we were sitting in a room with the cancer specialist. Image sitting in a chair staring at the one man who is about to tell you news about the most precious thing in your life. It was terrifying, but I needed to know. Dr. Kim said “After numerous test’s, Logan does not have cancer…”. I just broke down and started to cry. I haven’t had any emotion through this whole thing, I never allowed myself to cry because I wanted to be strong but at that moment I just wept tears of joy. Dr. Kim also told us that he hasn’t ever seen a case like Logan’s before, and he is unsure what it is, he just knows that it isn’t cancer. Once he left, he told us that Dr. Lee was performing additional tests to try and find out what it is and to wait in the room for him. Wes and I just held onto each other while we waited. When we saw Dr. Lee, he started the conversation with “Logan will lead a completely normal life.” but we can not tell you what it is. Both of the doctors have never seen what Logan has, they do not know what it will do in the future. They suspect that he will have little to no vision in his left eye, but they will need to monitor it every 4 months for the first year to make sure there is no fluid build up and to see if there is growth, etc.
We held on to Logan much tighter for the next couple of hours.
So why do I bring up life changing in seconds? Because one of the most under-utilized health resources for children under the age of 5 who can’t tell you if something is wrong with their vision needs to start being utilized. If I had not noticed Logan’s eye slipping when he was younger, we never would have found out that he has a health issue, and whether or not it is serious at this point, it is still a health issue. What resource am I referring too; the flash on your camera.
Take a picture of your child with the flash on and if you see anything besides red eyes, take them to see a doctor.
I don’t use the flash on my pictures because I impose sunlight on most of my photos. So the day they told us Logan could have cancer I remembered a story I read about a mom who took a picture of her daughter and put it on Instagram. One of her friends told her it wasn’t normal, the mom took her daughter to the doctor, and she had Retinoblastoma.
So please take a picture and tell your friends to do the same. It takes just seconds. If it looks like Logan’s, call your eye doctor.
Click on this picture and zoom into his left eye to see what milky look I am referring too.