Over the past nineteen months, Ryan’s pupils really have done
little nothing to show any cognitive recovery. Sure, sometimes we thought we might see something, but couldn’t say conclusively. I can not begin to tell you how many times we (and countless doctors) shined a light into his eyes… and hoped for his pupils to react. Even if we did see something, it was so excruciatingly slow that there was absolutely no way we could attribute it to the light stimulus. Or, for that matter, any stimuli.
One Week Ago
Last week while Dr. Hinkle was examining his eyes with a slit lamp, I was sitting just off to the right-side watching. This is a very intricate exam, where Dr. Hinkle looks through magnification for the tiniest of scratches on the surface of the eye, not able to capture but the smallest of area. Remember, he is literally looking through a slit with an entirely different aim. But, a light is shined in his eye nonetheless and I could have sworn Ryan’s pupil diameter tightened, albeit slowly but, noticeably. I said nothing to Dr. Hinkle. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t only seeing what I wanted to see. I’ve been called crazy before (remember, I’m married).
I was anxious for two reason. One, I felt Ryan’s eyes looked exceptionally healthy all week and I was anticipating a good report. Two, I wanted Dr. Hinkle to confirm my observations that Ryan’s eyes are reacting. It’s so easy to stop believing myself, even after just a few minutes. I put my head down throughout the exam, fearful of what I might or might not see.
The report was better than good… it was great. Ryan had zero, nada, none, zippy abrasions on either eye. Perfectly healthy! This is important in more ways than one, because if Dr. Hinkle confirms pupil reaction I can start discussing removal of scar tissue partly impeding on Ryan’s visual field.
Already with an exam light in hand, I ask him to look for pupil reaction. Again, I am afraid to look, but do so just the same.
Yes! He sees it. Not “normal” by any measure, but present. The right eye more so than the left. They way I understand it (and even with him “dumbing it down” for me, I hope I can get it close) this is measured on reaction time on a linear four-point scale; where 0 (No Brisk) is no reaction and 4 is normal reaction (High Brisk). The left eye was unofficially scored at a 1. The right eye was unofficially scored at a 2. What does this mean? I have no idea, other than the eyes are reflexively detecting and reacting to light stimulus. I view it as the left pupil at 25% and the right at 50% of, well, something.
I’ll take it! ANYTHING is better than zero. I now look at the world as “half-brisked”.
With Ryan’s eyes generally healthy for a couple of months, I floated the possibility of surgically removing the scar tissue (corneal abrasions) from his eyes. They do at least partially block Ryan’s visual field. Gotta tell ya, I was worried Dr. Hinkle might have good reason to not want this to happen.
He was very receptive, although I’m sure not without at least some reservation. In fact, he must have thought about it all day, since he sent me a text around 10:45 PM. Yes, Dr. Hinkle “takes Ryan home with him”.
He offered to reach out to eye surgeons for their opinions too. He could see my want to remove any obstacles that might inhibit Ryan’s recovery. In this case, diminished visual input. If Ryan does have the ability to process information (which is different from reflexively responding to information) gathered through his eyes, I want to exploit this… even if it is just light and darkness.
Like Dr. Hinkle said, we just have to just keep moving forward.
- Dr. Hinkle: “Eyes are Best I’ve Ever Seen Them” (ryansrally.org)
- Eyes Improved: Constant Battle (rallyforryan.wordpress.com)
Yippie!! Good news is always welcome…
Here thinking about all of you. I can’t wait to see you all again… I miss Ryan
I am so excited! But I can honestly say that I’m not surprised. See, I know Ryan is getting better everyday. I know it in my heart & deep in my soul. I truly expect to hear news like this from you, Ken. I know not to expect it every day or even every week. Your diligent & loving efforts, the incredible doctors and the countless and never ending prayers are making it all possible. All of these little steps forward add up to a full recovery. And we’ll be here to witness it with you!! Never give up & never lose hope — we got this!!!
The Colangelis says
God is helping Ryan as he moves forward. Great report on the eyes.
Oh, happy day! We love hearing about clear signs of hope for Ryan’s recovery. Here’s something the Bible has to say about hope: “…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts…” (Romans 5:4-5) We know how much your family has suffered, persevered and proved the quality of your character. God is also blessing you with hope and love, and we know without a doubt that He won’t disappoint you. Keep moving forward, believing and telling Ryan, “We got this!”
I like that – Just keep moving forward. It will take time. I continue my prayer for Ryan’s complete recovery
Gail Doyle says
Ken, So glad to hear this and hope everything keeps progressing with Ryan..He IS healing a little each day thanks to his family’s undying care and the prayers from sooo many.Keep those posts coming!!! God bless all
Jane Hofmann says
Love reading about Ryan’s victories! Thank you for sharing them. 🙂
John Maletta says
WOW! I held my breath through the entire post! Such great news!
Jo Hobbs says
Good news, Ken. I will never know how you find time to write to us every single day, but I sincerely hope you know how much it means to us to read it! Yes, our hope, faith and love remain steadfast, and even though some of us don’t post, we anxiously await any news about Ryan and read your blog every day — sometimes more than once — and we read all the comments. God is good. Still here with love and prayers.
Sandy Martin says
What great news!!! SHSP
Ken and Sue,
So very, very happy to hear this news! God is good and miracles do happen. We will never stop believing and refuse to give up! Patiently waiting as faithful prayers continue for Ryan always.
Keep up the terrific work that you tirelessly give to Ryan every minute of every day. It is what is making all of the difference!
Ms. Blasé says
“The beauty of the human body is its ability to recover itself.” — Dr. Oz
Julie Manausa says
Every day he gets better and better. Ryan is the strongest person on this earth. Hang in there buddy!!!
Ken, this is wonderful!! I am thanking the Lord right now for this miracle in progress!! Ryan’s eyes are recovering right along with his mind and the rest of his physical being. All your efforts, along with the love and caring of Sue and Kari, the dedicated doctors, and all who give their support and love to Ryan every day — it’s all making a difference. And our boy is getting better and better every day!!! Like the song goes, “Don’t stop believing, hold on to that feeling!!” Love & Hugs, Paula
Lisa Svendsen says
Chills running down my spine with the excitement of this INCREDIBLE news. Fantastic doesn’t even begin to cover it. Keep up the great work, Ken!