If you’re anything like me, then you probably put off your eye exam until the absolute last minute. I don’t know why, but I hate going to the eye doctor so much (probably because hearing how bad my eyes are sucks, actually) that I wait until I’m down to one contact to make my appointment. On top of work and all of life’s day-to-day drudgery, the last thing we want to do is something that feels pretty non-essential if we still have glasses and contacts on hand.
But as it turns out, those yearly trips to the eye doc can save lives. Our eyes can function as windows into our overall physical health (and our souls, I guess) and they can show symptoms for problems that are way larger than they seem.
Just ask one little girl named Alexis and her parents. Mom took little 6-year-old Alexis in for her yearly checkup one day and left with news that left the entire family stunned.
In her mother’s words, here’s how it all began. “January 2017 I took my then 6-year-old daughter for a routine eye test, along with our other two girls. I wasn’t going to take them — I thought they were all doing well and as a mom I would know if something was wrong. None of our three girls ever complained about their eyes.”
That’s when things took a crazy turn.
“While doing the eye test, the ophthalmologist did a routine pressure test that they do on everyone. Alexis’ pressure test detected high pressure behind her eyes. The ophthalmologist wanted the test redone. He said, ‘Wow, that’s so high it must be wrong.’ But the pressures behind the eyes were not wrong. They also did routine photos of behind the eyes, which detected swelling on the optic nerve that he felt needed to be investigated.”
Finally, in 2017, Alexis had an MRI that revealed something so crazy. The final verdict? The poor child need emergency brain surgery! Doctors were floored that the tough little kid hadn’t shown any other symptoms of what was basically massive cranial pressure.
According to Mom, “When they first kept sending us to different specialists, I wasn’t concerned. I thought everything was fine and we had nothing to be concerned about. But when they said the words, ‘getting surgery prepared,’ we had no time to think. I just cried and cried and cried. Alexis is a healthy child.”
It wasn’t much easier for Alexis. When they told the little girl what they had to do, she ran away from them shrieking. Can you blame her? Brain surgery to a young child must sound like something that’s too insane to be real.
When she woke from her first procedure, it became clear that there were not out of the woods. A terrified Alexis stated that she couldn’t see anything and reached frantically for her mother. She had another emergency surgery that appeared to fix the problem, and as of now, Alexis is doing much better. She’s attending the second grade.
When she was slated to go back to school, administrators called up her mom and helped create an action plan to make sure Alexis felt as calm and comfortable as possible and to ease Mom’s nerves a bit. Alexis is a fighter and is currently doing much better! We send all our love and best wishes to this tough little girl.
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