9 November 2016

About a week ago, we pasted an eye patch on Elise’s left eye and realised she couldn’t see, so we got a referral to NUH’s Pediatric Ophthalmology. We went to the hospital today to check on her but were greeted with much worse news. The hospital found a tumour hiding behind Elise’s right eye, causing her vision to be blocked. All along, we thought it was lazy-eye and people told us “it will go away by the time she turns 1”.

When we were in the hospital waiting for her tests to be done, I occasionally checked the television screening the results of the US Presidential Elections. A Trump presidency seemed likely. The news was made final later in the afternoon, but Elise’s test results easily made the day much worse. You know it’s something more than just a common condition if the doctor has to call in her senior colleagues for further discussion. They showed me an ultrasound scan of how Elise’s left eye is clear but her right eye is obstructed by a large tumour. They suspect that it is Retinoblastoma. If left untreated, the tumour may spread to her good eye or to other parts of the body and she will almost definitely die.

Being emotional and easily shaken, I told my relatives and friends the news through WhatsApp. My friends offered to bring baby food for Elise and drive us home, my cousin helped to find doctors for a second opinion, friends asked around for recommendations and my uncle flew back from China to see her and promptly sought an opinion from his eye surgeon friend. My colleague and boss were very understanding and told me to leave work aside for now and attend to her. Other friends prayed and some even cried.

The tumour is located behind her eye, so surgery to remove the tumour will involve removing her entire eye. I can’t stick my finger in and remove the tumour so I’m hoping prayers will make the tumour disappear (yes, not logically possible, thanks) before any surgery is done and that it hasn’t spread elsewhere. I have to admit that our family does not practice any particular faith, so I feel quite hypocritical asking my friends to pray when I haven’t been praying before this. We used to attend church when I was young but haven’t been connecting. Obviously God is not somebody who is there only for the hard times to be forgotten during the good times. Many friends have offered their support and provided me with scriptures to read or chant; but they are all from various faiths. Maybe we should be multi-religious and chant everything, like how Formula 1 gets the 10 faiths in Singapore to bless its tracks. -_-

We can also be logical and scientific and see if we should bring Elise to Korea for treatment (going to cost a bomb because she’s a foreigner, but who needs money when your kid is sick)?

I’m also honestly not sure how I will hold up myself, seeing how I freaked myself out so severely 5 years ago, but I’m Elise’s momma, so I need to find a way to get her mended. My reaction to unfortunate events is usually “at least it isn’t that bad, it could have been worse”. This time though, I think it’s enough. More than enough.

I hope my baby will be okay. She’s so cheerful and playful 🙁

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