On November 29, 1997, I gave birth to a beautiful baby who weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces. My husband and I named her Mikaëlla (pronounced Meek-eye-yella). We've been told that she looks just like my husband ( ) but my baby picture looks like Mikaella, I think. (Now, at 4 and 1/2, Mika looks just like me. But the baby Leonida is the spitting image of Michael. Hey, maybe she'll change like Mika and look like me someday too!) Besides having extremely dry skin and a big lump on her head, Mika appeared to be a healthy baby. We were concerned about her eyes because my husband is legally blind from congenital cataracts and nystagmus which were treated when he immigrated to the US from Haiti in his twenties. He also has small eyes (microphthalmia) as does my daughter. At Mikaëllaís two week old appointment, her pediatrician noticed that she did not follow the light. We were referred to the HMOís ophthalmologist. Since then, Mikaëlla has had EIGHT OPERATIONS under anesthesia. By the time she was 13 months, she had had the eight surgeries. She has had three ophthalmologists. The HMO doctor did the first two surgeries in the right eye. The second doctor from a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts did the third and fourth surgeries. The new doctor from a private practice successfully operated on the right eye in June. On July 14, 1998, Mikaëlla had her sixth surgery in the left eye to remove more residual lens material and to also put in a glaucoma implant called an Ahmed implant in the left eye because she had developed glaucoma in that eye. Mikaella had her pupils surgically enlarged during the second and fourth operations. The left one is larger, stretching close to the iris. Mikaella also has had glaucoma surgery in the right eye. We patch her left eye a few hours a day (currently 3 hours) and she wears aphakic glasses which she used to take off and through across the room when she felt like it. Now Leonida is doing that. Mikaella and Leonida are fortunate to have a very experienced and wonderful doctor who follows them regularly.
Mikaella now has a wonderful baby sister--Leonida Manuela Besson, born September 3, 2001. We will try to post her picture soon! She was also born with cataracts and is doing well.
Mikaëlla was taking something called AbsorbAid at one point. It is a natural enzyme that even pregnant and nursing women take to help the body to better absorb nutrients. (For more information, call AbsorbAid at 1-800-827-7656). This was at the suggestion of Bill Sardi , a medical journalist. I feel that the AbsorbAid really helped Mikaella as her eye pressures were down during the time she was taking the AbsorbAid with vitamin C tea for children. It was during the time that I ran out of the sample that they had sent me that Mikaella's pressure went back up. I believe that this may have been a contributing factor. Mika is currently taking timoptic eye drops in her right eye for the glaucoma. I think we may try the AbsorbAid again.
Since publishing this web page, I have begun to get some helpful information. I have gotten ideas on eye exercises and massage to reduce eye pressure from the Center and School for Self Healing. The person who has this school, Meir Schneider, also had congenital cataracts and was once legally blind until he discovered certain exercises and methods for improving his vision. He can now read small print and drive.
When I presented Mikaëlla in church on Saturday, April 25, 1998,
I sang Sandy Pattiís "Masterpiece" because my daughter truly is a masterpiece
from God. I thank the Lord that He sent us Mikaëlla and Leonida
who are both masterpieces that the Lord has given me and Michael.
I started law school full-time in August 1998. Going back to school is extremely important for me and I believe is a good decision for my and my familyís future. It has always been my dream to go to law school and to advance myself. I am interested in public interest, health care law and disability law. I believe that I will focus on healthcare and disability law and policy and I will also be getting a joint masters degree in public administration. I am scheduled to complete my degrees in December 2002. My husband is a gifted musician (guitarist, bassist and singer). He gives lessons and does studio work.
My family has seen the geneticist at our HMO. No one in Michael's family has gone to the doctorís or been tested for anything in Haiti so we thought it would be a good idea. So far, the only tests that have been taken for our first daughter are glucose and calcium. The glucose was normal and the calcium just a little elevated (10.5). I'm not sure that athe genetic test accomplished much but we wanted to see if there was another possible underlying condition.
Mikaëlla use to wear +32 Silsoft contact lenses (for a few months as a baby) but has been wearing glasses since.
I would like to explore the following when I can find the resources:
Also, and most importantly, please keep Mikaëlla, Leonida,
my husband, and me in your prayers. And please let us know to do
the same for you. All of the prayers and support I have gotten from
peoplehave been extremely helpful for us.
* Please click
to the right here to sign my guestbook.
Other links (please see links within body of text also):
Miranda's Page: A journal from a baby's point of view (Miranda was also born with bilateral cataracts and is doing great. Her daddy Mike Fowler helped her keep this wonderful journal of her experience.) I sure hope that the page is still around. It was helpful for me when Mikaella first started having surgeries.
Aphakic newsletter website managed
by Nancy Penney
BVI parents list serve. Parents and some blind adults share information and are a wonderful resource. Go into the yahoo groups and do a search for BVI parents to get more information or join.
The National Federation of the Blind. Watching their video "That the Blind May Read" was an eye opener.
National Braille Press, This is a wonderful organization with Braille books at the same price as print books. They have a children's Braille book club. Check out their web page at www.nbp.org
Nalida was the guest speaker at the National Braille Press 2001 Annual Meeting. For a link to the speech on the importance of literacy and Braille, please go to http://www.nbp.org/bessonspeech.html
Nalida's paper on attitudes about blindness and its effect on Braille at http://besson.freeservers.com/attitudesonblindness.htm
last updated January 30, 2007