UPDATE: We hope this page may assist other families in catching Retinoblastoma at an early stage. Thanks to God, prayers and great medical staff, Mattie is doing well now. Proudly sponsored by DiscountFiling.com
On March 4, 2004, God gave us our second child, another beautiful baby boy. We named him Matthew Austin Mayo. We decided on Matthew because we liked the meaning of Matthew (Gift from God). We call him "Mattie".
Words cannot describe how thankful we are to be blessed with such a wonderful child. Since Mattie was born, we have been concerned with his eyes. We were first concerned with one appearing larger than the other. Then we were concerned with his left eye being two different colors. During this time, I caught the end of a show where a grandmother was talking about how a more extensive eye test with the lights off could have saved her grandson's life. Her story didn't seem to fit ours because she wasn't talking about different colored eyes. Unfortunately, we didn't hear all of her story. Little did we know that later our son would have the same hidden eye disease her grandson had.
In September we noticed in photographs that his right pupil appeared white or with a glare instead of the normal red eye. Finally after months of seeing this in several photos, we mentioned our concern to our pediatrician. He dismissed our concerns and our request to turn off the light to let his eye dilate for a more accurate eye test, which I had remembered to ask for due to that grandmother on the show. We finally took matters in our own hands, call it motherly instinct when we saw the glared look with our own eye a few times the week of January 31st. On February 5th we decided to do some research on the internet and within an hour we had Mattie diagnosed with retinoblastoma.
We cried and prayed we were wrong. On February 7th, (our oldest son Ben's birthday) our worst fears were confirmed when an ophthalmologist told us that Mattie had a tumor in his right eye and referred us to Emory University Hospital immediately. On Wednesday Feb 9th, Mattie was officially diagnosed with 'Retinoblastoma' - a malignant cancerous tumor that affects about one in every 20,000 children. We were devastated. For five days we had to live in fear that the cancer in Mattie's eye could have spread to his other eye or possibly even to his brain. On Monday, Feb 14th, the MRI confirmed that the cancer appeared to be contained within the eye and has not spread. In an effort to save his life and improve his chances for a quick recovery, we have made the decision to remove his eye and the cancer along with it.
Once the eye is removed, there is an 80% chance that Mattie will NOT be subjected to chemotherapy. This won't be confirmed until the pathology report after the eye is removed. Matthew's situation is far from over. Because he is so young there is still the possibility that the disease could reoccur in the other eye, so he will have to be examined regularly to ensure no future problems arise. For those of you that know him, Matthew is a wonderful baby and is truly a 'Gift from God'. He is our chunky monkey. He has been such a trooper through this entire ordeal. His learning and wonder increases each day as though nothing were wrong. He laughs, smiles, plays, eats anything in sight, whistles,blows kisses and flirts and each day we are reminded what a truly remarkable child he is. Keep Mattie in your thoughts and prayers so that he may get through this troubled time quickly and have a normal and blessed life.