Tomorrow we leave for Birmingham--Kale is having his last set of hydrogel expanders put in. Woohoo! After this last pair come out, he'll hopefully be fitted with conformers that will actually stay put and keep his eyelids from healing back together.
So, just in case anyone is coming in on this with no clue what I'm even talking about, here's a recap:
Kale was born with bilateral microphthalmia (a.k.a. "small eyes"), which means his eyes didn't fully develop while he was in the womb. His is a severe case and he is blind, with some light perception in his left eye. Every case is different and Kale is (knock on wood) so far "Okay"--nothing else seems to be going on with him.
The reason for surgery? His eyelids were fused shut and had to be surgically opened (surgery #1) when he was six months old. The doctors discovered that his left eye (a.k.a. "globe") is actually a decent size but is all sclera (the white part of the eyeball) and mostly covered with tissue. His right globe is very tiny and very far back in the socket. In order for his face to grow proportionately and to avoid any potential future ENT issues, Kale was fitted with these little plastic things called conformers. These are put in place to promote eye socket growth. Well, his left one didn't last more than a week before coming out (and refusing to go back in at any size) because his lids aren't formed very well. The only other option that we felt necessary was to surgically implant expanders (surgeries #2 and 3). There are three different sizes and they expand by the natural fluids in the eye. Once in, his lids are sewn shut. Which means that once he is wearing the conformers, they will have a very large and wide stem sticking out to keep the lids separated so they can heal. Eventually, the conformers with be stemless and actually be painted to look like an actual eyeball.
It's been a long year going through all of this, but Kale is a champ. We're hoping that he only has two more surgeries left (this one on Thursday and one after to take them out and put in conformers) but it is kind of hard to tell right now. It all depends on how his lids hold up through everything.
Anyway. That's it in a nutshell in terms of his condition and what his surgeries are all about. He has handled everything so well and we just hope he continues to. Keep him in your thoughts and keep your fingers crossed that there will not be too many surgeries in 2010 for our little man.