what a difference a year makes…

It’s amazing how fast a year’s time goes by.  Thinking back on this past year, there has been so much that has happened, good and bad, happy and sad.  And while I know this sounds like a post I should have written about a month ago, there is a reason I am writing it now.

This week a year ago was one of the hardest I’ve ever had to go through, but also one that has changed the pace of the past year.  I started the week off at a conference at the Lake of the Ozarks, spending multiple days away from my sweet baby girl.  While I was gone, I missed her first real walking steps, turning her from a sometimes walker to an all the time walker.  Now, my baby is no longer a baby, but a toddler who never stops moving and is constantly running everywhere around our house.

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But, the real change was the surgery we had scheduled later on in the week.  It’s been a year since MacKenna had her eye surgery, a surgery that definitely changed the course of this past year.  I cannot say that the surgery was completely successful, but I am definitely happy with the results.

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In her hospital gown, ready to go in for surgery.

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After bringing her home from surgery.  What a good little girl, with a smile still on her face!

MacKenna still has a few issues with her eyes, especially when she is tired.  Her “bad” eye (her left) will go really far over to her left side when she is looking that way, which I think is the most noticeable imperfection.  We notice it cross to the inside only when she is tired.  But other than that, her eyes are beautiful and she has absolutely no vision problems, which I could not be more thankful for.  When we hear her point out something that is so far away that we haven’t even noticed it, I think Matt and I secretly do a little happy dance that she sees so well (and knows so much).

We have only had one little scare, on Christmas Day.  We both sort of noticed that her eye seemed to be crossing more than usual.  We spent the morning worrying and crying, hoping that it was just some extra tiredness of the holiday, and it would go away.  Thankfully, it must have been just that, because we didn’t even notice it the rest of the day.  I think we both let out a big sigh of relief with that one.

With as fast as the year since her surgery has gone by, looking back, it felt much longer than that from the time her 6th nerve palsy developed in October to the time of her surgery.  In reality, it was only about 3 months.  I felt like she had been wearing the eye patch much, much longer than that.  It was so difficult for us to see her like that and was probably the hardest time of her little life so far, as Matt and I had no idea what to expect.

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My beautiful baby sporting her adorable eye patch.  I’m sure she’d love wearing them much more now since she is obsessed with pirates!

We have people tell us all the time how cute MacKenna is.  I mean, really, she is absolutely adorable, but I am totally and completely biased, of course.  But, it makes me wonder if people would still say that if she still had to wear her eye patches.  It killed me to see her with crossed eyes, but she was still my beautiful baby.  Looks aren’t everything, but I know that it changed how people saw her.  It definitely puts into perspective what other parents go through whose children have disabilities and other hardships that cannot be fixed like a lazy eye.  We are certainly blessed and thankful that this was only just a lazy eye that could be fixed and even if it does happen again (which is likely, unfortunately).

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Still beautiful, even with a lazy eye.

I am so thankful this year is behind us.  We paid off her last medical bill this past week, and pray that we won’t have to pay another one for a long time!  Here’s to another happy and HEALTHY year…

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  • Alex Shaw

    Your daughter is absolutely beautiful! And she would be absolutely perfect with our without an eye patch :) And her eyes are a breathtaking blue! What a perfect little gal you have :)

  • Jennifer

    Your daughter is adorable, and even adorable with the eye patch! I’m an eye patch momma so I know how you feel about the patch and the stares and questions you get in public. My son is 3, been patching since he was 2 mths. I wish you the best with her eyes!

    • Kristen

      Oh my gosh, you poor thing! Like I said, it felt like an eternity having to patch her and it was only 3 months! I can’t imagine it being that long. I would love to hear your story – I know mine is different from most and was taken care of pretty quickly and flawlessly – I’m lucky!

      • Jennifer

        He was born with a cataract. They removed his lens at 2mths. He wears a contact now and we try to patch his good eye for 6 hours a day to strengthen and make his bad eye work. We usually end up at 5. Patching is very difficult as I’m sure you know. He has his good days and then his bad days where we go hrough patch after patch. We are actually looking at strabismus surgery now, his eye turns in just a little. And it’s a hard decision but is something that they think will improve his vision. He will probably have to patch till he is around 6. Love your blog…I’m usually just a lurker :-)

        • Kristen

          The surgery isn’t nearly as awful as it seems. Our pediatric opthamologist recommended we get the surgery done, so we did (of course, it’s his pay day with that). I am happy with how it went. She still hates when someone touches her eye, but she’s getting better. We’re hoping that now that she is more verbal, she can communicate with the doctor as to what she can and can’t see, but I’m certainly not worried.

  • Kenna’s Gigi

    She is as beautiful as ever! Love my Kenna girl!

  • Jen

    She is absolutely beautiful and would be no matter what! <3

    Littlr kids' health problems are the worst thing ever. Wyatt's FPIES reactions seem like a distant memory most of the time but every once in awhile I'll remember how horrible those few months were. We're so lucky they're healthy now.

    • Kristen

      True ‘dat! ;) I feel blessed every day that I have a happy, smart, health little girl!