Monday, October 18, 2010

Vancouver + Lowell's eyes = a good thing.

My Lowell boy is a wonderful, amazing man.... with bad eyes. He's had Retinitis Pigmentosa (low light blindness) since he was just a little gaffer, and his vision has now degenerated to the point that he's legally blind (as in, he has less than 20 degrees of peripheral vision in full light, and is completely blind in low light).

There's no cure for RP, and the only successful treatments that we know of are being offered by a Chinese medicine doctor in Vancouver. Lowell pursued these treatments with some success about 5 years ago, but had to stop for financial reasons (as they are PRICEY and not covered at all). However, since Lowell's eyes have decreased so significantly in the past couple years, these treatments have become a priority again.

In September, we made the 12-hour trek to Vancouver in my parents' comfy cozy minivan. Given that I'm the only one who drives in this little family of ours, it was absolutely imperative that the vehicle include a bed for regular napping purposes. It was a beautiful thing (and also very reminiscent of our van-living times in NZ and Australia!)

Although Lowell had treatments (which consist of acupuncture and an herbal regime) each day for six days, we still managed to squeeze in a lot of socializing, touring, and ethnic food!

We saw our friends Liz & Justin and their adorable kidlets in Kamloops. The camera didn't make an appearance until just before we left which made PJ-clad Liz and wet-hair Julie a very photogenic pair!

In Chilliwack, we got a few fabulous visits in with Marc, Kylie, and our cutie pie nephew Ty...

Our pictures are sadly SCANT, but we also had a marvelous time with Mike & Amy, and Shelley & Erik, as well as cousins galore. We stayed at Stacey & Andrew's place, and they did a marvelous job of hosting us, feeding us, and showing us Canada Place and the Olympic cauldron.

We also spent a lot of time with cousins Nelson, Lorna & kids, but unfortunately, there is no decent photographic evidence of these good times!

During our lunch breaks throughout the week, we toured Stanley Park and the local beaches. We saw a seagull with a starfish stuffed in his mouth, enjoyed the people watching, and loved our leisurely walks and runs along the beaches...

All in all, we had a lovely trip, and it was successful to boot! Lowell already notices subtle but exciting improvements with his vision which is SO INCREDIBLY AMAZINGLY AWESOME!!

As I mentioned before, the treatments are veeeeery costly (as in $5,500 four times a year costly), so we need to come up with a boat load of cashola. I have a few ideas up these little mischievous sleeves of mine, and you'll be the first to know if any of them pan out...

6 comments :

Shelly said...

Glad the treatment is showing improvements! Just to clarify, can Lowell see quite a bit better during the day? His vision is just very minimal in low lit places or at night? You stated he is considered legally blind, but I'm not sure if that's only at night. Sorry if that's nosy or stupid to ask, but I never realized it since he is so active. (And I have never met him). :) And I'm just a curious kind of gal.

Lowell & Julie said...

Shelly- thanks to your comment, I did a little clarifying in the post! Pretty much, Lowell is completely blind in low light (and has been for ages), but now even his day time vision has deteriorated to less than 20 degrees of peripheral vision (i.e., tunnel vision) which is considered legal blindness.
He's such an amazing man (and so active and successful), that even people who KNOW him don't know that he's legally blind. He's a trickster, that one! ;)

Raelyn said...

Julie. Its such a blessing to be able to read your blog. You're two amazing people, we're so lucky to have met you. We pray for you lots and will continue to. Its encouraging to hear that the treatment is helping.
love rae & jeff

ps we should hang out again soon!

Bloggy Mama said...

Love you two. So stoked to have hung out with you. However, seeing myself in PJs on your blog.... embarassed.... ;)
Glad to hear that the treatments are showing improvement! Praying for you lots and lots.
love, me

Shelley said...

It's awesome that he's noticing a change in his eyes with the treatment. I can't even believe how much it costs, though!! WOW. When you said it was pricey, you weren't kidding!

Avery said...

That Lowell is a trickster:) I never noticed a thing (although it has been a couple of years now!!). Good look with your cash rasing ideas!!

Avery