Friday, September 18, 2009
Today, Kerry had another follow-up visit at the Jules Stein with Dr. Kevin Miller. She did about the same as last time on the visual acuity test (her vision in her left eye is still about 20/300). The doctor removed three of the five stitches from the eye; he said that the eye was looking very good and that it was healing nicely. The doctor also tested Kerry to see if magnifiers helped in reading large print, but it was determined that in most cases the magnifiers would not be very beneficial.
Kerry will be going in for another follow-up visit in four weeks in which the last two stitches will be removed. She also has an appointment during the month of November to see the cornea specialist (Dr. Aldave) regarding the possibility of having an artificial cornea transplant.
God's presence is very evident as Kerry continues adjust from no eyesight in the right eye to having some limited eyesight in the left eye. God has given Kerry much joy and peace in the mist of this life-changing experience. He has taught her that the best possible place to be in life is always at the center of His perfect will and perfect timing. Kerry has seen first hand that when she waits upon Him, He shows her the way.
Thank you all who have been faithfully upholding Kerry and her family during this difficult season in their life.
God bless you all.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Kerry had her two week check up with Dr. Miller on Friday, August 28th. An acuity vision test was performed and for the first time since Kerry was a little girl she could actually read something on the eye chart with her left. Her acuity in her left eye is now 20/250. Also, an eye pressure reading was taken on both eyes and the right eye has a pressure of eight and the left eye has a pressure of 12 (the normal range for a healthy eye is from 11 to 21). In the months immediately following the surgery last January, the pressure in her right eye had been between zero and two; prior to that it had been normal. There is no change in the prognosis for her right eye, which has no vision.
One of the most exciting changes for Kerry is that she can now see individual facial features when she looks at other people at close range. She also can see colors more vividly and has been able to lower the magnification on her computer software that magnifies text and reads what is on the screen for the visually impaired. It was set on 24 times and now is on 14 times. Dr. Miller says that everything is healing beautifully. Kerry will go back for another follow-up visit in three weeks. After that the doctor will look into the possibility of performing an artificial cornea transplant.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude for the many people who have been praying for Kerry and our whole family during this very challenging period of our lives. By the way, some loving person (only you know who you are) dropped off a lovely basket of goodies (a stuffed animal and a loaf of banana nut bread) at our home the weekend just following the surgery. It also had a lovely note but no signature. Please let us know who you are so that we can personally thank you!
Monday, August 17, 2009
On August 13th, at 7:30am, Kerry again had cataract surgery at the Jules Stein Eye Institute (JSEI), this time on her left eye. Dr. Miller was able to successfully remove the cataract in one piece and was able to implant an interocular lense, but had to place it in front of the lense capsule rather than inside because the capsule was too fragile. The doctor also said there was a film residue inside the lense capsule, which he said could be removed at a later date using a laser. Kerry was able to leave the surgical center with no patch on.
Kerry and Dennis are rejoicing in the goodness of God because Kerry's vision has definitely improved in her left eye. There were not complications, no infections, and very little pain. Each day since the surgery, Kerry has been noticing, little by little, new things that she CAN see! Last night, when she was going on a walk, she noticed that she could see little flowers and could distinguish the color of the leaves from the color of the flower petals. Before the surgery, everything seemed to blend together and was very blurry. Early this evening (8/17) Kerry was looking at Craig's senior portrait that hangs in the living room; she proceded to point to his eyes, nose and beautiful smile.
The next step (Lord willing) will involve having an artificial cornea transplant into the left eye. The doctor said this may occur within the next three to four months when her eye has fully heald from the cataract surgery. Please pray that Kerry's eye will fully heal so that this next important step can take place in God's perfect timing.
We would like to express our deepest thanks for all of the love and prayers that many people have offered up on Kerry's behalf before, during and after this surgery occured. We would also like to say a special thanks to Joan Evans and Peggy Johnston for caring for Kerry while she stayed at the UCLA Tiverton House.
May God richly bless you!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
It has now been about six months since Kerry had her first surgery on her right eye. Since that time there have been several setbacks, particularly with the infection that resulted in a very long recovery time. In May, Dr. McCannel (the retina specialist) released Kerry from his care saying that there was nothing more he could do for her right eye. Due to the infection the retina had been severely attacked, leaving that eye completely blind. This had been her “good” eye prior to the surgery and we had been told that there was a good chance that her vision would improve after the procedure was performed.
Recently, Kerry met with the doctors at the Jules Stein to discuss the options available to her for her left eye. Drs. Miller and Aldave have recommended that a cataract surgery be performed on her left eye as soon as possible. Surgery on this eye will be somewhat more problematic due to the condition of the cornea and the density of the cataract (Dr. Miller has called this one the “mother of all cataracts”). If all goes well Kerry’s eyesight should be much improved in this eye. Please pray that doctor Miller will be able to successfully remove the cataract from her left eye and, if the eye structure allows it, place a lens implant in the eye. Also, please pray that Kerry’s testimony will shine brightly during this next major step of faith. Additionally, and this almost goes without saying, please pray that Kerry’s eyesight will greatly improve in this eye and that there will be no infection. Pray for the provision of helpers to assist Kerry during the initial recovery period. The surgery is scheduled for August 13th.
On July 29th, Kerry has a series of doctor appointments for the purpose of taking measurements and other preparations for the surgery. Please pray that these perparations will be performed correctly and accurately so that everything will go smoothy during surgery.
For those of you who have been praying, Kerry (and Dennis) would like to express thier heartfelt thanks. God has been answering them and we praise Him for it.
Finally, Kerry really likes it when people leave comments. It is a nice reminder that they are praying for her... and the encouragement is a blessing.
May God richly bless you.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Today Kerry went in to the JSEI for another examination. Drs. McCannel, Miller and Aldave (the three kings) attended to her during this visit. Dr. McCannel, the retina specialist, said that her retina is healing nicely, there is no detachment, but there is some scarring. Kerry's eye pressure appears to be on the low side, still. Please pray that it will increase to a normal level.
Dr. Miller performed a color light test and Kerry was able to see red, blue and green squares with her right eye. He explained that this demonstrates the retina recognizes color, but it does not mean that she will be able to see color in the future. Right now Kerry's vision in her right eye is very dark but she can see a little; it is like looking through a dense, gray screen. She can see hand motion and delineate between horizontal and vertical motion. Dr. Miller removed two more stitches from the cornea transplant. There are six stitches out of the original twelve that still need to be removed. Dr. Miller is very concerned that stitches are coming to the surface too early and wants her to remain relatively inactive for the next two weeks.
Dr. Aldave felt that things were coming along alright w/r/t the cornea, but it is imperative that it survive until an artificial (i.e., permanent) one can be put in place. Please pray that this donor cornea will hold out until the artificial one can be implanted. Dr. Aldave said that there is no way they can help Kerry's vision until her eye is completely healed; this could take up to a year or so. During this time, her eye is still susceptible to infection... please pray that no infections will occur as she continues to heal.
Praise report: Kerry's pain level has diminished to the point where she no longer has to take Percocet. Another praise is that her eye has become more rounded since the last surgery, but it is still smaller than it was originally.
In short, there have been many trials, setbacks and complications since the original surgery. Our trust in our awesome God remains. He is always faithful, always true.
BTW: Kerry would love to have encouraging comments from people!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
It has now been over six weeks since Kerry had her initial (cataract) eye surgery this year. Many pain medications, antibiotics and doctor visits later, she still suffers from significant pain and very low eye pressure. The doctors have said on several occasions that having normal eye pressure is critical to having her eyesight restored... so the main prayer request is that her eye pressure would be restored to a normal level. Second, Kerry's pain level has recently shifted to more of a surface pain; this could be indicative of stitches coming out again (this happened earlier). Please pray that her stitches would stay in place the full duration needed to keep her eye intact until it's fully healed.
The doctors still have Kerry on bed rest; a number of helpers have been coming in to help Kerry during the day while she has been convalescing. She has another doctor appointment on the eleventh. We are very appreciative of all the love and support we've been getting from friends and family.
Monday, February 23, 2009
A lot has happened since the last update. Kerry has been in a great deal of pain since her surgery on the tenth. She has had nausea, loss of appetite, and headaches. She was lovingly cared for by her mother- and father-in-law and Kerry greatly appreciates the tender loving care she received from them. On the eighteenth, Kerry saw the three primary physicians that have been attending to her during this ordeal. Dr. McCannel said that the retina is still very inflamed; but the good news is that there is 0-2 eye pressure, which indicates that there is some eye pressure. Thank you for praying... please continue praying. Dr. Miller, the cataract specialist was able to remove some of the stitches from the cataract surgery. This alleviated some of the surface pain. Dr. Aldave, the cornea specialist, was able to remove a cornea sutcher that was especially painful. However, he is concerned that Kerry's donor cornea is not attaching well to the surface of the eye. He has told Kerry to continue bed rest and to keep the eye closed. If the cornea is not looking better by the next visit (Feb 25th) he will have to do something to make sure the eye stays closed and he stressed that it would not be pleasant. Please pray that the cornea will heal as it should. Dennis' parents flew home to Oregon on the 18th. God is so good in providing help for Kerry since Dennis' parents have left. Several ladies have come to care for Kerry during the day while Dennis is at work, making it possible for Kerry to get the bed rest that she needs. The time spent with them has been very precious and special. We celebrated Craig's 18th birthday on Saturday. Kerry will again see all three specialists on Wednesday, the 25th. God has been so faithful in pouring out His tender mercies during this time; His presence has been very evident.
"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you by My righteous right hand."
1) Pray for no scarring of the retina
2) Pain to lesson
3) Cornea to heal properly
4) Prayer for continuing to homeschool Craig while all this is going on.
Thank you for your love, prayers and support. We are grateful.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The official word from the doctors is that yesterday's surgery was a success... thank you, Jesus! The doctors were able to inject just the right amount of fluid into her right eye to get the pressure up to a normal level. So, for now, we are thankfully receiving the good news that at least something is going right for Kerry. We were recently asked about the possibility of Kerry regaining her eyesight in this eye; the quick answer is that there is no immediate answer to this question. The doctors choose not to speculate at this point. They are merely saying that the eye now needs to have time to heal from all these surgeries. At some future date there will need to be a decision as to what the next course of action will be. Until that day, we again ask for prayer that Kerry's eye will soon become healthy. During this time of healing she continues to be on pain medication and antibiotics.
A special thanks goes out to Dennis' parents (Gerald and Lois Philpot) for coming down from Oregon to stay with Kerry during the day while Dennis is at work. You are wonderful parents ! ! !
God bless you all.
Monday, February 9, 2009
As mentioned earlier, Kerry will be going in for surgery on the 10th at JSEI (where else?). Today it was revealed by her doctor that the situation is actually rather critical. Due to the deleterious effects of the infection, Kerry's right eye cannot produce the fluid that keeps her eye pressure at a normal level; hence, her eye is losing pressure on a daily basis. The purpose of the oil solution is to temperarily bring her eye pressue up to a normal level to help the eye to be healthy enough to heal properly (this is the best explanation that can be derived from an engineer who's working with second-hand knowledge). However, if the natural pressure-regulating mechanisms do not return to their normal functionality Kerry will again be in danger of losing this eye.
Please pray for Kerry that her eye will be able to regain the functionality of the fluid glands that will allow her to keep this precious eye. She, quite understandably, has anxiety about this situation. Yet we are relying on God that His perfect will will be done.
Thank you all for your prayers on her behalf; you are a blessing to the Philpot family and especially to Kerry.
God bless you all.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Kerry will be going in for a another surgery on Tuesday, February 10th, to correct an eye pressure problem. The low eye pressure in her right eye has caused her a tremendous amount of pain lately. Correcting the eye pressure is expected to help alleviate the chronic pain in her eye and if it is not performed soon it could result in the loss of her eye. Please pray for a successful outcome (obviously) and that this will be the last surgery she will have to endure until they put in a combo lens/iris ring and artificial cornea several months from now. The doctors say that if Kerry is to gain back any eyesight it will only take place after the artificial cornea is put in place.
We would like to thank everyone for your faithful prayers and love. Kerry is resting in the Lord that He will be glorified and that He will see us through this difficult situation.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” Psalm 103:1
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Kerry started her day with very intense eye pain, which began very early in the morning. It was serendipitous that she had an appointment at the JSEI this afternoon. We are very grateful to God that the doctor said her eye was "normal" and that the pain was probably due to the stitches in the cornea. Unfortunately, the stitches couldn't be removed as of yet; the doctor was able to prescribe a topical anesthesia, however, which was a blessing.
Another recent challenge is that Kerry's eye pressure has been extemely low. Because of this the doctors will have to perform yet another surgery on her right eye... and this is again one of those urgent situations. In this case they will need to inject an oil-like fluid into her eye to get the pressure up to normal. Please pray that this procedure will be a success. Thank you, in advance for your prayers.
Dennis and Kerry would like to say a huge "THANK YOU !" to Kerry's father, Ralph Lawrence for coming from Boise, Idaho to stay with us and help Kerry through her health challenges this past week.
Also, as always, thanks goes out to all the angels who have brought meals. You have all been so wonderful to the Philpot family... thank you, thank you, thank you ! ! !
Monday, February 2, 2009
Today, Kerry had another doctor visit at JSEI... this time with a bit of good news to share! The more salient points are as follows:
- The eye is showing signs of healing. The process is still expected to take several months, however.
- Kerry was able to detect hand motion with her right eye! This was really encouraging for us. Up until now all she could see was a glimmer of light when a bright light was shined directly in her eye.
- Her retina does not appear to be detached in the classic sense. That is to say, there appears to be a small pocket of fluid behind the retina in one particular area. The doctors will "keep an eye on it" (sounds silly, doesn't it?) to see if the fluid dissipates as time progresses.
- The doctors were able to take Kerry's eye pressure today and it was on the low side, but still in the normal range.
- The sutchers are still intact. However, the doctors indicated that they (the sutchers) will probably start causing Kerry to have some irritation before long.
- Kerry is still having a lot of eye pain. Please pray that it will subside so that life can begin to get back to "normal."
- For now, no more surgeries! She will have to go in for the next phase in about six months, but we will trust God for a good outcome when we cross that bridge.
As always we are very grateful for the angels that have brought meals and have served in so many ways... thank you, thank you, thank you ! ! !
God is good all the time. Kerry is in His powerful, loving hands.
Blessings to you all.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Kerry was again taken into surgery on the 27th at approximately 3:20pm to address the strepoccocus that has attacked her right eye. The surgery went on for approximately four hours and was much more extensive than was originally planned. The cornea specialist removed the center of Kerry's natural cornea and replaced it with an artificial "button" cornea; this gave the retina specialist a clear view of exactly where the little pockets of infection were located. These areas and the retina were irrigated with a saline solution and a second antibiotic injection was given. The doctors also decided to remove the temporary lens from her eye "due to the tendency of infections to cling to such appliances for safe harbor." Finally, the artificial cornea was removed and a more permanent [living] cornea from a donor was transplanted into her eye... amazing! Kerry refers to her three primary surgeons as "The Three Kings"-- Drs. Miller, McCannel and Aldave.
As for the prognosis, all we've been told is that there is no guarantee that Kerry's eyesight will return to her. As of this morning all she can see are "glimmers of light" when a bright light is directed into her eye. However, we are confident that God is working in this situation. We've been giving God the glory He richly deserves each step of the way and making sure that the doctors, nurses and staff at the Jules Stein Institute know of our faith in the One True King who is Sovereign over all of creation (no offense intended toward "The Three Kings" mentioned earlier). During these challenging times God has impressed Psalm 103:1 on Kerry's heart, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name."
Please continue to pray for healing and eyesight restoration. Pray that God will be glorified in this situation; certainly, that has to be the ultimate purpose of this, regardless the the outcome in terms of Kerry's vision, etc.
Again, thank you, thank you, thank you, all for your wonderful prayers, meals, taxi service to JSEI, ect. Directions from 8230 Bobbyboyar Avenue are no longer needed... just follow the tire grooves.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The past three days have been difficult for Kerry and Dennis. Friday evening (1/23) she noticed that the pain in here right eye was actually getting worse over time. By Saturday morning, it was obvious that something was going wrong with the recovery process and on the advice of an on-call doctor we went to the UCLA Ronald Reagan hospital ER. This turned out to be a very wise descision due to an infection that was discovered in the eye. It is difficult to write about the severity of this latest episode; suffice it to say that Kerry's eye was (and still is) at risk of being lost completely by this infection. The doctors had to perform an emergency procedure in which they injected a very powerful, broad-spectrum antibiotic directly into her eye. Her eyesight in this eye is basically nil. Therefore, we ask that you pray specifically that the devistating effects of this disease will be healed completely by the grace and power of our mighty God. Kerry is laying low today after a follow-up visit to the UCLA Jules Stein center. The good news is that there is no appearent damage to the rhetina. Also, the ER doctors prescibed a much more powerful pain killer that actually works.
Dennis also asks for prayer as he has "a lot on his plate"... job at ATK Integrated Systems Division, environmental testing that requires occational trips to the China Lake Naval Weapons center in Ridgecrest, teaching short courses in engineering, helping get Craig through his last year of high school, elder board, prayer minsitry, Awana, jail ministry, Gideons.
As always we want to express our thanks for all of the prayers that have been offered up on our behalf. Thanks (again) are in order for those wonderful angels who have brought us meals during this difficult time... thank you, thank you, thank you ! ! !
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Today Kerry reached a milestone in her recovery process: she passed the 48-hour mark since the time of the surgery. The doctors said the first 48 hours would be the toughest... and they were very difficult. The main problem has been the intense pain in her right eye. The worst of it should be over, though. Today, she was able to "double up" on the vicodin medication, per the instructions from one of the nurses. This has also made a difference for the better, although it makes her feel very sleepy. Today was also the first day with no eye patch; this makes putting the antibacterial eye drops a lot easier.
Please pray that Kerry will be able to get a good night sleep tonight and that the pain will continue to subside. She is a long way from feeling normal. Please also continue to pray that when the surgeries are all completed and Kerry has fully healed that she will have regained the eyesight she once had... that would be a huge blessing !
We have much to be thankful for. God is working out His perfect plan for Kerry and we thank Him for that. We also want to thank the wonderful angels that have been bringing meals to us. Thank you, thank you, thank you ! ! !
God is good and we thank Him for wonderful friends like you !!!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Kerry is recovering quite well from this first surgery. Thank you all very much for your love and prayers. You are a blessing to the Philpot family!
More information to follow.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I will be having eye surgery on my right eye at Jules Stein Eye Institute (UCLA) on January 20th at 11:30am. I will be participating in a compassionate study to have an artificial iris implanted during a cataract extraction and intraocular lens implantation surgery. “This implant (of this artificial iris) is designed to reduce the amount of light coming into the eye, like a natural iris, reducing symptoms of veiling glare and improving vision.”(Dr. Kevin Miller, Compassionate Study, UCLA) The artificial iris is not FDA approved, but has been allowed by the FDA when combined with a standardized eye surgery like cataract removal surgery. This artificial iris has been successfully used in Europe for about 19 years. The artificial iris is not covered by insurance.
I was born with what is called bilateral anaridia, which means I have no iris in either eye. I was also born with cataracts in both eyes. The iris is what dilates and contracts the pupil and is the also the color of the eye. The iris controls the amount of light let into the eye. Because something is missing in my eye the structure of my cornea is very fragile. Over the years my eyes have developed chronic corneal ulcerations thus causing me to lose my eyesight. I have been legally blind for about fourteen years (I am in my sixteenth and final year of homeschooling). The doctors have told me for most of my life that my cataracts are inoperable and that I did not qualify to get artificial irises. That is, until May 2008, when I went to Jules Stein Eye Institute.
Dr. Kevin Miller, who is performing the surgery, says that, “because the cornea is so clouded and heavily scarred, it will be very difficult to see the surgical site.” There is a chance that I will regain some eyesight (my cataract is very dense). Cataract surgery is the most common surgery in the world. My incision will be larger than ordinary cataract surgery, due to the iris implant. If all goes well in one year, I will have an artificial cornea implant done on my right eye. The doctor believes that my vision will then be greatly improved. The doctor will consider surgery for my left eye, if all goes well with the right eye.
How you can pray:
1. That the Lord would be honored and glorified in my surgery.
2. That I would never forget the many lessons the Lord has taught me in my blindness.
3. That the Lord would use me to minister and proclaim the gospel to those around me.
4. That the Lord would guide Dr. Miller and all who assist him.
5. That the lens capsule will remain intact for the duration of the surgery (this is where the intraocular lens and artificial iris ring will be placed and secured.)
6. That there will no complications. The most common complications are infection, bleeding, and retina detachment.
7. Pray that Plan B would not need to be implemented. Plan B is that if when Dr. Miller gets into the surgical site and finds that the supportive tissue surrounding where the intraocular lens and artificial iris ring are too stretched out (not very elastic), then Dr. Miller will only remove the cataract (the clouded natural lens) and close up without implanting the intraocular lens and the iris ring. Dr. Miller would have to do another surgery later to put in a different kind of intraocular lens that has an artificial iris built into it. This plan B surgery would involve a much larger incision and would not be as accurate location of iris.
8. That I will have a rapid recovery with little pain.
9. That things would go smoothly in homeschooling Craig while I recover.
The following link will take you to where you can watch a video of an iris ring being inserted on someone’s eye. I am not sure you would want to watch something like this, you choose. . . The is blood involved! I was brave and watched it. I feel more confident about the surgery after seeing it. My surgery will be done in reverse order. Dr. Miller will remove my cataract and then put in the intraocular lens and then implant the iris ring.
1. Click on OP Videos tab
2. Click on aniridia implants in the first column
3. Click on aniridia ring in second column
4. Click on Type 50C in third column
5. Scroll down and click “download video”
You can save this video to your computer if you wish. Bear in mind that this video was made back in 1997, improvements have been made and the doctor is putting in model 50F.
I was born (1963) in Idaho Falls, Idaho to Ralph and Beverley Lawrence, and grew up in Portland, Oregon. My father is a retired Methodist Minister and my mother is a Violinist. I have two brothers, Alan who lives with my mother in Portland, Oregon, and my bother Doug who lives near my father in Boise, Idaho. My parents divorced in 1974 and my father re-married Audrey in 1975. I met my husband, Dennis while studying Elementary Education at Oregon State University in the Fall of 1981. Dennis completed his BS in Mechanical Engineering in March of 1983 from OSU. We were wed on June, 18, 1983 in Portland, Oregon. Dennis started his first engineering job at Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, CA and I finished my BA in Liberal Studies (1987) and got my teaching credential (1989) from California State University, Northridge. Dennis completed his MS in Applied Mechanics from CSUN in 1989. Our daughter Emily was born on August 30, 1988 and our son Craig was born on February 21, 1991. Emily was also born with aniridia and cataracts. We started homeschooling our children in the fall of 1993. Emily graduated in June of 2006 and is a junior at Master’s College. Craig will be graduating on June 12, 2009. This date will mark the culmination of 16 years of homeschooling! Dennis and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary on June 18 of last year.
I grew up knowing who God was and knew that God loved me. But I did not have a relationship with God. God was there longing to have a close relationship with Him, but I only came to God when something would go wrong or I would have a laundry list of requests for Him. On March 5, 1982 I committed my life to Christ. From that day forward I have lived my life fully for Christ. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Gal. 2:20 NASBU. My life was transformed as I grew in my faith and learned to yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading. I cannot imagine going through all that I have without a close intimate relationship with God.
He is my strength when I am weak! 2 Cor.5:7-9 says, “7 for we walk by faith , not by sight —
8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”