Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Extensive Emergency Surgery

Dear friends:

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

A Difficult Weekend

Dear friends:

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

Painful Recovery, First Milestone Finished

Dear friends and family:

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

Praise be to God !

The big praise of the day is that Kerry has made it through the first hurdle toward regaining her eyesight. The doctors were able to remove the cataract from her right eye. The cataract, which was quite dense, took longer to remove than is typically required. "Plan A" also involved the implantation of a lense and artificial iris into her eye; however, certain complications prevented the latter of these from being accomplished. Thus, the doctors involked "plan B," which involved only the removal of the cataract and a temporary lens implantation. Kerry will be going back Wednesday, the 21st for a post operative visit.

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.

Agnus Dei - Amy Grant

Everlasting God - Chris Tomlin

My Story

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.”