Little Kaitland Davis is getting closer to the day when doctors will tell her parents if she will be able to see.
The toddler, born in December 2004, suffers from a rare congenital condition known as Fraser’s syndrome, which left her eyes completely covered by skin, one of the more dramatic features of the disease.
Her mom, Charmaine Walker-Davis, is convinced her 16-month-old daughter can distinguish shadows and light, but as for being able to see, that question remains unanswered.
Surgery is scheduled for 13 July at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, based on the results of a final assessment.
Kaitland has already been through a barrage of tests, most recently in December last year at the institute.
‘The doctors performed a visual function test. She has a little visual function in both eyes. According to an MRI, the optic nerve and the brain aren’t connected so doctors can’t explain how she responds to light,’ Mrs. Walker-Davis said.
When out in the bright sunshine, little Kaitland will actually shield her face and her mother recalls her shaking a hand in front of her eyes to make the shadows flicker, which usually resulted in giggles.
The first step for the doctors in July will be to make a small incision to check on the viability of Kaitland’s eyes and her ability to see, her mother explained.
If Kaitland can use her eyes, then other problems must be addressed.
‘Then the doctors have to figure out how to keep her eyes washed since they don’t think the muscles in her eyes are functional,’ Mrs. Walker-Davis said.
If her eyes do not work, the doctors have two options.
‘They can close her eyes again or replace them with silicone eyeballs for cosmetic reasons. But then, she won’t be able to see any shadows or respond to light.
‘The doctors aren’t sure if they can give her eyelids, and if her eyes stay open all the time, she’d be susceptible to infection,’ she said.
Mrs. Walker-Davis is also concerned about post-operative problems for her daughter.
‘After surgery, that is the part I’m worried about. Anything can happen because it’s a rare thing and new to the doctors. If she gets an infection, she will need treatment,’ she said.
Mrs. Walker-Davis expressed anxiety about the whole process.
‘I’m scared, nervous and very worried. It’s very frightening. I don’t know what to expect as so many different things are likely to happen.
‘I probably won’t be able to get a US visa for my mother or husband, so I’ll be on my own with Kaitland. I find that very hard to think about – having to go through her surgery alone without any support from my family,’ she said.
Throughout all these uncertainties, little Kaitland continues to thrive.
‘She’s walking around on her own and can find her way around the house. She’s always walking towards the open doors and windows where there’s light. If we close the door, she gets angry.
‘She plays a lot with her brother. She can say ‘da da’, ‘baby’, ‘na na’ and she’s learning to say ‘mommy’. She’s very happy.
‘When we tell her it’s time for prayers at bedtime, she clasps her hands together,’ she said.
Due to earlier fundraising efforts, the costs of surgery will be covered, but the family still has to pay for Mrs. Walker-Davis’ living expenses while in Miami with her daughter and any additional follow-up care.
She expressed gratitude to everyone who has helped Kaitland through publicising their cause and raising money.
‘I want to thank everybody for their prayers and encouragement. I know that God was speaking to their hearts.
‘I would like to thank Butterfield Bank, FirstCaribbean Bank, the Caymanian Compass, Kirk Office Equipment, Rotary Sunrise, Walkers and Shauna Haylock of the Early Child Association.,’ Mrs. Walker-Davis said.
She also singled out family friend Tishanna Higgins of Kirk Office, who spearheaded fundraising efforts for Kaitland.
Mrs. Walker-Davis, who was a pre-K teacher at Grace Christian Academy before Hurricane Ivan, thanked all the parents from that school for their help.
Anyone wishing to donate money for Kaitland can do so directly into Butterfield Bank CI$ account 02201-37239, under the name Kaitland Davis Fund. For more information, contact Tishanna Higgins at 329-7776.