reposted from an online story by Yahoo Parenting
July 8, 2015
I am aware of the shock factor of this photo. This is my daughter, Poppy, when she first came to us from her birth country of China. She came to us quickly because of her eye.
Poppy was born with a descemetocele of her left eye. This is a benign tumor that was present at birth. It is likely the reason she was abandoned. In the first days of life, these tumors can sometimes be removed and the eye saved, but Poppy lived to the age of 22 months with this tumor.
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It grew in a cyclic pattern — growing and growing until it would burst, pressure would release and the cycle would begin again. At the most painful part of this cycle, the tumor would grow to a few cell layers thick and blinking was enough to rupture it. This happened an untold number of times in Poppy’s 22 months of life before coming to us. Her eye would become infected over and over, almost every time it ruptured.
Poppy held on long enough to get to us, where she received a state of the art surgery to remove her eye and replace it with an implant and donor tissue. Poppy was in so much pain at the time of the surgery that the actual process of removing her eye was a relief to her — 24 hours after the surgery, she was up and running around in her usual Poppy way.
Over the donor tissue inserted into her eye socket Poppy wears a “shield” that looks like a thick contact lens in shape but is the color of an eye. Creating the perfect shield for Poppy has been a challenge. We’ve had 12 different shields so far. The latest one isn’t a good fit and she hates it. She often takes it out and prefers to wear nothing.
Poppy isn’t old enough to understand how others view an empty eye socket but I am keenly aware and so are her siblings.
People stare. All the time.
We often laugh at the inopportune moments Poppy chooses to remove her eye shield. She is 2 years old and she is rough, loud, dirty and raucous, just the way 2-year-olds should be.
She could care less what people think and I kind of adore that about her.
She lives large and loves fiercely. She is our girl, whether she has her “eye in” or her “eye out.” But, because of the stares, I usually make sure she is “eye in” when we’re ou