|On the ferris wheel at Navy Pier|
|Leah had a great time on our Chicago River boat tour|
|At the Field Museum. One of Stephen's favorite places. He loved seeing the dinosaurs, especially Sue.|
|Splashing in Crown Fountain (the spitting fountain) at Millennium Park|
|Family pic at Cloud Gate (the bean)|
|Sweet sisters at the bean|
But, now for the real reason for our trip, Leah's check up in Iowa. We met with the same 2 doctors again this year. Dr. Wilkinson is a vision rehabilitation specialist, who is working with us to help Leah maximize her vision. This includes tips for things to work on at home and ideas for her teachers to work on at school. He wasn't able to do any sort of acuity test, so we don't know if her vision has improved at all from last year. However, we do know that she is using her vision better. He encouraged us about Leah's vision and that she is continuing to mature in her use of it. After Dr. Wilkinson, we saw Dr. Stone, the molecular geneticist opthalmologist. He shared the results from the DNA testing that they have so far. Late last year, we found out that Leah has a chromosomal translocation, and that they were going to investigate that abnormality in the lab to determine what genes are impacted in this chromosomal translocation and what this means for Leah. At this appointment, they told us that they were able to clearly define the area that is involved and were in the midst of looking at the genes in this area. One of the genes that falls in this area of abnormality is a gene that plays a role in the development of the brain and other sensory organs (the eyes). This knowledge confirms the idea that this chromosome issue is most likely the cause of all of Leah's issues. We asked about any other cases of people with the same chromosomal translocation and were told that to their knowledge, Leah is the only one. This is both interesting and a little sad. It means that we have no other cases to compare Leah's to and no idea what Leah's future might look like. Dr. Stone also shared two things for us to be aware of. One is that people with similar retina issues have also been known to have kidney issues. We now need to be regularly checking Leah's blood pressure and kidney functioning (through blood work) to make sure everything is working well. Dr. Stone said that yearly checks should be fine for now. The other issue is that people with similar retina issues also have been known to lose their vision later in life. If this were to happen with Leah, she would be a candidate for gene therapy to maintain her vision. This gene therapy will not increase her vision, though.
So, overall it was a mixed appointment. We appreciate any information we get, even the stuff that's not so good. We need to know what to expect, so we can be ready for anything. And, nothing is definite. Again, Leah is the only one of her kind and most importantly, God is great. He is in control and knows exactly what is going on in Leah's body today and for the rest of her life. He created her and loves her more than we ever could. As long as we rest in those truths, we can face anything. For now, we face making it through each day, encouraging Leah to walk and talk more, and to be patient as she eagerly awaits the beginning of school (Mommy is eagerly awaiting it as well:)). Only a few more weeks...