Archive for September, 2011

A Good Report from the Optometrist
September 27, 2011

From James:

I have good news to report from the optometrist (Dr. Richard Jablonski) tonight to confirm what So Young thought about her vision. Her corrected vision has indeed improved. Uncorrected, it’s still atrocious (she can’t read anything at all on the eye chart, even the largest letter), but her right eye can be corrected to 20/100. This means that what others see at 100 feet, she can see at 20 feet with her contacts on. Her close-up eyesight can also be corrected using standard reading glasses, which we purchased (2.50 magnification).

So Young is leaning heavily on her right eye for her vision. The doctor said that her left eye is more like 20/400. She also can’t see the color red very well with that eye. Diminished sight in her left eye makes sense, because the tumor is in her right thalamus.

Before So Young started losing her vision, her eyesight was corrected to 20/20.

We also looked into bioptic lenses, which are sort of like binoculars attached to eyeglasses. They helped and, with training and certification, could possibly be used for driving. Much hilarity ensued as we watched So Young try on a couple of pairs that gave her cartoonishly large eyes. However, because her eyesight is trending toward improvement and the bioptic lenses cost close to $2,000, the doctor recommended waiting a while to see if it will even be necessary in a few months.

If her vision improves to 20/70, she would be able to do some daytime driving.

Overall, the doctor said that this was an encouraging checkup, because he has definitely seen improvement over time. So Young is ecstatic and is going around reading everything she can out loud. Thank God for the blessing of being able to see!


iUpdate on iSoYoung
September 24, 2011

From James:

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or have talked to us recently already know some of this, but I wanted to post it on the blog.

The biggest news is that So Young is “going public” in saying that her vision has improved. That means she’s convinced that there has been a real, lasting improvement in her eyesight. She still can’t see well enough to drive, has difficulty reading normal-sized letters on a page, etc. She struggles, but the struggle isn’t as great.

We sincerely believe this is an answer to your prayers. Paul Miller writes that the way we expect answers to prayer is analogous to when you describe Disney World to a child. They want to go the next day! We know that our Father might not answer all our prayers immediately, but we keep praying and waiting patiently nevertheless.

The other great news is that So Young has started her own small group. (A small group is a gathering of people committed to learning about God, praying for each other, and becoming more like Jesus.) I’m so proud of her for this. She told me that God was saying, “Why wait?” Why wait to serve until your vision is restored? This is so convicting for me: a person who can barely see is taking on a task that generally requires decent eyesight and that most people are reluctant to do anyway. She says she also wants to “give back” some of what has been given to her. She meets with three of her best friends, Jin, Grace, and Laurie, every other Friday.

Technology, specifically the iPad and, have been a big help to So Young in this endeavor. I downloaded the ebook version of the book they are studying (A Praying Life  by Paul Miller) to the iPad. She opens it in the Kindle app, which enables her to zoom into the text. Touch screen devices are much easier to use for visually impaired people than mouse-and-keyboard-based computers. Reading is possible but laborious, however, so she also listens to the audio book on her iPod. She uses so much Apple technology, maybe we should call this an iSmallGroup…

A few days ago So Young fell down the stairs. This was caused by a combination of bad eyesight and wearing socks on polished wooden stairs. I was right behind her but of course couldn’t stop her fall. All the way down maybe four or five steps, her left leg was extended and her right leg was bent back. Her right leg just above the shin hit every step in succession with the full weight of her body — BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG. It was shocking to watch. I was sure she had broken her leg and possibly damaged her knee because of the impact with which she hit each step and the way her right leg was contorted behind her. But in a further testament to her toughness, she’s fine. Only bruised. I wonder if those years of running strengthened her bones. We’re grateful that she was upright the whole time and didn’t tumble and hit her head. She went running a couple of days later, of course!

The “new normal” of our lives continues, as the issues of the Irregular Prophet attest. School has started, and So Young walks the younger kids up and back most days, unless the weather is bad, and then Mom helps. Laurie drives Shanny to and from the bus stop. Mom is godlike in her ability to be everywhere when we need her, taking So Young shopping, picking the girls up during thunderstorms, driving Audrey to soccer practice, and granddaughter sitting all the time. We continue to be grateful for our big family, which consists of people far beyond those related to us by blood.

Audrey's Kicking the Soccer Ball

Audrey Kicks the Ball During Her First Soccer Game Ever

A couple of prayer requests for others:

  • Pray for my cousin Elizabeth. She recently lost her baby. We mourn with her and her family for their loss.
  • Pray for KT and Elaine. They left for Cambodia a couple of days ago to serve as teachers at an orphanage. They are newlyweds and will be there for two years. We asked for your prayers for Elaine recently for a tumor they had found. She is cancer free.

The Irregular Prophet: Issue 2
September 9, 2011

From James:

Our Editor-in-Chief, Shannon Gage, has rallied the family again over the past few weeks to create another issue of The Irregular Prophet, our family newsletter. This one announces Shannon’s first novel, contains a new short story feature, provides family news, and other fun stuff. Enjoy!

The Irregular Prophet: Issue 2

New FAQs Page
September 7, 2011

From James:

I have added a new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page to the blog. You can access it by clicking “FAQs” above or at this link:

I created it because a lot of people ask similar questions about So Young, and since we have almost a hundred blog posts by now, some basic information might get lost in the shuffle.