Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Reading by 5" vs. "Reading by 9"

Children can’t read what they can’t see. Simpler words have rarely been spoken, but this truism is so often overlooked that it bears mentioning. I remember the stories about my oldest brother, how they thought he was “slow” up until 2nd grade when they finally discovered that he was legally blind. How frustrating that must be for a child to not know that everyone can see what you can’t.

I never realized what that meant (and not just because I made the previous sentence as convoluted as I thought I could get away with!). For years David Bear and I would go out on our balcony and I would remark how lovely the mountains looked and David Bear would agree with me. The morning after his “miraculous” sight recovery, we were standing on the balcony and he was quite quiet. After a long moment, he quietly said:

“So that is what a mountain looks like.”

Wow. Years later I am still moved to tears remembering that morning.

Children can’t read what they can’t see. We wanted David to know how to read, but let’s face it – I’m far too lazy and self-centered to learn Braille. When David was born, we lived just a few blocks from the local Blind Institute in Anaheim, so it would have been logistically quite simple for me to take him around the corner to learn Braille. However, being the selfish person that I am, all I could think about was the dozens (closer to a hundred) books that his father and I had from our childhood that we wanted to share with him, and buying them all in Braille just didn’t seem like an option at the time. So we had to find another way.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

(excerpted from “The Man Who Thinks He Can””Walter D. Wintle
We found our way in the Institute for Achievement of Human Potential program. I just can’t say enough good things about them because we got such great results from them. When we first started the program, we created flash cards which were 12-inch squares, each card with one word written in bold 4-inch red thick letters. We did our best to make sure he could see the words, because ... children can’t read what they can’t see, so .

We started with five words per day, and we would hold the card and say the word five times per day, always changing the order of the words. As he began to recognize words, we would introduce new words or groups of words, such as “TRUCK” and “RED” would become “RED TRUCK”.

He really liked trucks back then. As he started moving away from words to phrases, we changed the shapes of the card so they were now 6-inches high by 18-inches wide. Materials can be purchased at any art or office supply store, and we turned the card creation process into his art time, killing two birds with one stone, so to speak.

We mainly purchased books with super-large print. THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO WRITE A CHILD’S BOOK WITH SMALL PRINT. None whatsoever. We thought we were doing a great job until someone challenged us to do more. David did not speak until after he was two (another story for another day), and a friend’s mother commented that we did not read to him enough. I was thoroughly insulted. At first I thought she was making a racist remark (because her husband was a jerk) but after I allowed my own negative thoughts to give way to her message, I understood that she was not insulting me, but rather challenging us. In her view, we needed to read David no less than five (5) books per day to encourage him to speak. At the time we were reading him two (2)-to-three (3) books per day, which is well over the “minimum” standard of one book per day, or so we thought.

I have no idea why this worked, but he was talking in less than a month. Moreover, he was reading by 5. The best part – we had an excuse to hold our son a few extra times per day. Does it get any better than that?

Children can’t read what they can’t see, and children can learn whatever they are taught in a loving pleasing manner. If you think your child can, and then show them how, they will learn. Be patient with your child and yourself, but don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

*Note: At a friend's suggestion, we are considering sending him to the School for the Blind so he can become more independent. Considering, but not quite sold on the idea.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Miracle of Sight

“Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.”
Walt Whitman

David was born with Retinopathy of Prematurity, or ROP. It is a natural condition of severe prematurity. ROP is exacerbated by the use of oxygen, which causes extra blood veins to forms in the back of the eyes, blocking vision. ROP is responsible for more blindness among children in the United States than all other causes combined. His doctors cautioned us that at best case, he will probably never see without glasses. At worst case, he could be blind.

When he was three days old, he started seeing a world-renowned ophthalmologist from Newport Beach, California. At three months, his ophthalmologist performed the first round of surgery on both eyes. David was less than three months old and less than 3 pounds in weight at the time. He felt at that time that David needed at least one more round of surgery but that partial blindness was still the likely outcome.

One week later, on September 7, 1998, David Bear opened his big pretty eyes and I got to gaze into his eyes for the first time in his eighty (80) days of life. It was love at first sight.

For the next year-and-a-half David wore an eye patch on alternating eyes and we implemented an aggressive sight therapy program. At age two, his ophthalmologist performed his second set of eye surgery and he informed us that David had spots in his eyes and would need to start wearing glasses. With his glasses, his vision was 20/60.

A few years later David has his third set of eye surgery, this time to correct his wandering left eye and to bring both eyes into focus. This is when we discovered that David has macular degeneration. Prior to that day I had never even heard of MD, but now I see it everywhere. We left the hospital and David immediately exclaimed:
“I can see everything.”

He spent the next few days touching everything, saying “I can see the chair,” “I can see the table,” and “I can see …” He got tired of saying it long before we got tired of hearing it. With his new found vision he was no longer walking into walls, missing doorways when trying to walk through, or fumbling around trying to grasp things directly in front of him. It was so much more than we’d ever hoped for, but we still continued the Doman sight program.

February 16, 2006. Age 7.
I took David to see his doctor for his follow-up visit. We were concerned that David’s sight was deteriorating because he was standing closer to the television and looking over his glasses. We were convinced that he was ready for his next set of surgery, even though we had hoped we could have waited until after May.

The doctor examined David, and while he was talking to me, David started reading the letters on the wall chart without his glasses.


He could see the letter “E” at the top of the chart. His doctor became very excited and started conducting what seem like countless iterations of the eye chart in what was probably less than five minutes. I mistakenly thought the doctor was overly excited that David could read, so being the proud parent that I am, I explained to him that David had been reading for years. This world-renowned ophthalmologist then said

“Oh my God. It’s a miracle.”

David could see. Then reality sunk in (to the both of us) and Dr. Prepas clarified by explaining that David had astigmatism and now needed two pair of glasses – one for distance and one for seeing. My baby can see.

When we returned home, his father was waiting for us. David Sr. usually takes the Bear to the eye doctor because I get lost. In fact, he takes Bear to all the appointments that don’t involve needles or the dentist. As soon as he saw his son without glasses he immediately asked him if he had lost them. David Bear proudly exclaimed that it was a miracle and he didn’t need glasses anymore. Of course his father was skeptical until I confirmed the doctor’s diagnosis. My husband started crying right there at the front door.

That night at the dinner table for the first time, my son sat across from me, and I gazed into his beautiful dark brown eyes, and he smiled at me and for the first time, I saw my beautiful baby boy looking back at me.

The next morning, David Jr. proudly informed me that he dreamt that a miracle occurred and that he could see without his glasses. Then he flashed me his big beautiful smile and went for his morning bike ride around our cul-de-sac, without his glasses.

Our blind-at-birth baby can see, without glasses. Sometimes I wonder if he ever needed the surgery or the patches or the glasses. Was he ever vision-impaired? Did I imagine that he would grasp at an item several times before he could finally focus on the one he was reaching for, or did I imagine that my son was playing today without glasses on. I gaze into his beautiful eyes and think I must have imagined that his eyes were slightly crossed and wandered. There are only slight traces of any evidence that his eyes ever wandered. His face is so free from scars that he couldn’t have worn an eye patch for four months. I must have imaged that my baby was ever blind. Is this for real?

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

Some people say it’s a miracle, but I prefer to believe that this particular miracle was helped with two sets of cryotherapy, one set of eye surgery, two years of patch therapy, five years of aggressive vision therapy, and the full faith that our child was always intended to have sight. Miracles occur, but they aren’t always cheap or easy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How and When to Challenge Your Doctor

"It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself." Epicurus, Greek philosopher

We used to call David “God’s Little Miracle” because he was so tiny (744 grams/ 1 lb 8 oz) and had so many problems at birth. Then a friend read his story and proclaimed that David was actually a “gift from God” who served to remind us that “He is still in the healing business”, and that my husband and I were the actual miracle. In this friend’s reality, the “miracle” was that his father and I refused to be stopped by conventional wisdom and instead successfully sought out alternatives to learning how to live with a disabled child. It hasn’t always been easy and as strong as I pretend to be, there were times when I wanted to scream.





There were times I was so afraid I thought I was paralyzed, when I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, didn’t want to move. The best words of encouragement ever spoken to me were by a doctor whose diagnosis with whom I disagreed. She wanted to perform a hysterectomy on me because four months after I had given birth, she still couldn’t stop the bleeding. I wanted to hold onto my uterus because despite two unsuccessful pregnancies and one very premature baby, I still believed that I would carry a baby to term. She spoke to me in very clear words and said, “If you don’t have this operation, you will die. David needs a mother.”
“You will die.”

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. I agreed with her that David needed a mother, so I had the operation. Up until she made it a matter of life or death, I felt in control. Once it became a matter of life or death, all I cared about was living.

During the David’s first 108-days in the hospital we had many reasons to question his doctors. Our son was and remains one of the smallest babies ever to be born and survive in Orange County, California. The doctors who worked with him for the most part had zero experience working with babies that small. When he had his first medical procedure, the patent ductus, he was only 1 pound 4 ounces (678 grams). Although the hospital assured me that it was quite the routine medical procedure, I did not accept that a medical procedure which required touching both the lungs and the heart was routine, especially not on someone so tiny. I interviewed the entire surgical team. Notice I said "team". They work in teams, so it's important for you to know who is on the team. My first question to the attending surgeon was where he went to medical school, to which he took offense. I grilled every surgeon about their education, their grades, their internships and their general qualifications to perform this surgery on my 678-gram son. The attending cardiologist almost had me with his impressive credentials and experience until I asked him, “And how many 1-pound babies have you done this surgery on?” He admitted that he had only worked on adults, so I decided to help him keep his streak going and had my son transferred to a hospital that specializes in sick children. [I later had him transferred back for recovery, but that is a different story for another day.]

Not all doctors are created equal. They all go through similar medical training, complete an internship and a residency, but when it comes to their practice, remember, it’s PRACTICE. When it’s your life or the life of someone you love, you have every right to demand the best available care.

I prefer to believe that all parents would have made similar choices and obtained similar outcomes if they had someone show them how. THIS IS ME TELLING YOU HOW!!! During the past twelve years I have discovered that there are dozens of wrong ways that you can challenge your doctor’s medical opinion. No matter how much you disagree with your doctor’s expert advice it is still up to you to find the right way to question your doctor’s opinion and maintain a healthy relationship.

STEP 1: As Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” Your goal is to find the best specific treatment for your particular ailment. Remove all emotion and remember that your only allegiance is to healing. Nothing else matters.

STEP 2: There is no substitute for PLEASING CONDUCT. You really do catch more flies with sugar than vinegar, so while it is acceptable to disagree with your doctor’s medical opinion, there is no need to become disagreeable.

STEP 3: Question the advice, but not the competency of the doctor. Doctors are scientists and therefore trained to seek out knowledge. They routinely discuss medical problems with their colleagues, so chances are they may know and respect someone who is familiar with your ailment. Discuss your specific concerns about the treatment (benefits and side effects), costs, and your comfort level with the doctor.

STEP 4: Be firm, and follow-up. If you say you are going to seek out a second opinion, DO IT. Keep your doctor in the loop and discuss the second opinion with your doctor. They may have specific knowledge about whether or not the second proposed solution will work for you.

Remember: It’s all about healing you or your loved one. Nothing else matters.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Curve Ball

Today we took David to see a new orthopedist. We just haven't been happy with the doctor he has seen for 10 years and decided to get a second opinion. We've been complaining about David's feet since he started walking ... prolonged toes, flat feet, misshapen legs ... but his old orthopedist just considered it "normal, considering".

We get that a lot, "normal, considering".

"Considering that he has cerebral palsy, you should be happy that he can ..."

Not the words we like to hear.

A few weeks ago I noticed that David was always in pain after playing with the Scouts. We started him back on the strengthening drills, but something just wasn't right. As a parent, sometimes all we have to rely on is that "something just isn't right" feeling.

So we took him to a new orthopedist. First set of ex-rays revealed bone tumors on his lower leg, which would explain the pain he was in. The doctor assures us that most tumors are benign, but we have to go back for more x-rays next month to monitor him. Didn't see that one coming.

He does have fallen arches (like his father) and will also be fitted for special shoes, something his old doctor was reluctant to do.

Fallen arches is a condition in which the foot doesn't have a normal arch. It may affect one foot or both feet. Most people have a gap between in the inner side of the foot and the ground when they are standing. This is referred to as an "arch". Feet that have a low arch or no arch at all are referred to as flat feet or fallen arches. On standing the patient will have a flat arch and the foot may roll over to the inner aspect.

The symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition. Individuals may experience corns, hard skin under the sole of the foot. The arch area may be tender and shoes will tend to wear out quickly. In severe cases the patient may experience calf, knee and hip pain.

David first met his original orthopedist when he was eighteen months old. We had rejected the first two doctors the HMO recommended before selecting the head of Pediatric Orthopedist at Children’s Hospital Orange County. His original doctor is obviously a learned man who has probably seen most things related to children’s orthopedics. At our first meeting, he examined David’s recent brain MRIs and his medical history. At our initial meeting, Dr. R. informed us that in his medical opinion, David would have severe cerebral palsy and would likely be a vegetable. Meanwhile, David Jr. was walking around the doctor’s office, pulling everything that interested him. Then the good doctor asked us, “When can you bring him in for me to examine him?” We pointed at David Bear and informed the good doctor that the very active toddler was David, and the good doctor remarked

“No. More than 75% of David’s brain is damaged. He has cerebral palsy. Didn’t they tell you that at the hospital?”

We informed the good doctor that, yes, they did tell us that Bear had cerebral palsy, but that we thought it meant that he would walk with a limp. I use to teach karate in Baltimore, MD, and several of my students had cerebral palsy. They all walked with a limp, so we taught him to walk with a limp. He shook his head in amazement, implemented a more rigorous physical and occupational therapy course, and sent us on our way.

We spent the next few months teaching David to walk without the limp. We wouldn’t see Dr. R. for another few months, but David continues to be followed by Dr. R. for the cerebral palsy. He was treating Bear for his fallen arches, but we were unhappy with the treatment.

If you aren't happy with a medical opinion, get a second opinion. Familiarity breeds contempt, so often it's best to have a fresh set of eyes look at the same set of facts.

So what did we do when life threw us this curve ball? We decided to seize the day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Be Who You Are

David was born with a beautiful head of curly hair, which his fabulous neurosurgeon shaved when he placed the shunt to manage his hydrocephalus. The shunt left a nasty scar on the top of his head, and you could see the tube running through his head and down his neck.

David has hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) builds up within the ventricles (fluid-containing cavities) of the brain and may increase pressure within the head. Although hydrocephalus is often described as "water on the brain," the "water" is actually CSF, a clear fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. CSF has three crucial functions: 1) it acts as a "shock absorber" for the brain and spinal cord; 2) it acts as a vehicle for delivering nutrients to the brain and removing waste; and 3) it flows between the cranium and spine to regulate changes in pressure within the brain.

When the neurosurgeon informed us of the likelihood of shunt failure and multiple shunt surgeries, we decided that we would let his hair grow between surgeries and let Dr. Malkasian cut it when he did the surgeries. Based on the information we gathered about shunt failure, we never expected it to grow so long.

As luck would have it, by the time David needed to have his tube replaced, advances in medicine were such that the doctors only needed to shave parts of his hair. Good thing too. Combing his hair usually results in me threatening to cut his hair, but he really loves his hair.

Funny thing is, he doesn't think he has a shunt. He doesn't believe us when we tell him about his brain surgeries or injuries. He doesn't believe us when we tell him that his hair is a cushion. He just thinks he is cool. That is who he is.

We got really lucky with this. I was wise enough to reject the first doctor they brought in to do the shunt surgery (excellent w/ adults, no experience w/ preemies) but that alone doesn't account for the shunt not failing. We were lucky. We still count it as a win. Why look a gift horse in the mouth?

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Since his birth 15.5 weeks prematurely, the doctors have told us all the things David would never be able to do:
- Never going to walk.
- Never going to talk.
- Never going to speak.
- Probably blind.

We didn’t believe them. Our parents raised us to believe that “can’t” was not an option. There is “won’t”, “shouldn’t”, and “didn’t”, but we can do whatever we set our minds to do, provided we seek the right counsel and heed their advice. We didn’t listen to those who told us what David would not be able to do and instead actively sought out those who believed that all things were possible.

I will share in later posting the tools we used, but we did rely heavily on the Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential ( IAHP is an incredible organization with consistent incredible results. The results we achieved for our son following their at-home program speak for themselves:

Age 1 David can talk and walk.
Age 2 David is fully potty trained.
Age 3 David can dress himself.
Age 4 David eats solid foods.
Age 5 David can read.
Age 6 David can ride a bike.
Age 7 David can see, without glasses.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Between 7 and 10, David’s development has accelerated. But then, life, in its queer way, threw us a curve ball. What started out as a routine physical resulted in us seeing several specialists and Bear having two shunt surgeries. We had to see the endocrinologist because they were concerned with his rapid growth. We had to see the urologist because his testicles weren't behaving properly. (He's fine, and yes, his father was more concerned with the problems with the testicles than he was about the possibility of tumors on the glands. Men!) There was the orthopedist because of his misshapen legs (which are barely noticeable). The problem with seeing these doctors is that his regular doctors (pediatrician, pulmonary and ophthalmologist) all insisted on seeing David as well to ensure that the specialists weren't mucking something up, which of course made his dentist feel left out. We ended up seeing nine (9) doctors several times each during the month of November.

After all the tests came back, the doctors agreed that he needed to be first hospitalized for a sleep study, then his shunt tube needed to be replaced, and after he recovered, he needed to be hospitalized for an asthma study. As luck would have it, he was admitted to the hospital right before Christmas.

The sleep study was inconsequential and his surgery was quite routine, but his recovery was far from routine. The most frustrating part of his recovery was the treatment we received at his hospital. The first few days after the surgery he was quite fine. We even went to the mall where he ran around in his Santa costume pretending to be Santa. (That's another story for another day.) Three days after his surgery, he woke up screaming and holding his head. That liked to scared the life out of his father and me.

The surgery he has required that they remove a shunt tube that ran from the top of his brain where the shunt is located into his stomach, where the fluid is supposed to drain. Rejection of the tube and shunt failure is so common that we were forced to learn the symptoms. If only they had bothered to teach the ER personnel.

Trip 1 to the ER: David Jr is in extreme pain. When he tries to lie down, he screams. He has a very high threshold for pain, so I can only imagine how much pain he is in. The ER doctor decides to X-ray his skull to ensure that the tube is still in place. Since the tube is in place, they send him home with prescription strength pain relievers.

Trip 2 to the ER: Two days later and David is still in excruciating pain. We no longer allow him to lie down, instead propping him up on pillows. This reminds us of his first years. When he had a cold we kept him elevated in his car seat so he could breathe. Poor baby. This time we point out to the doctor that David’s stomach is distended. The rather rude doctor dismisses me and then send David for another set of head x-rays. These x–rays come back normal, so the ER doctor concludes that David has the flu. David Sr. argues with the doctor and they actually call security on us. They send him home with cold medicine.

After spending two nights watching him around the clock and waking him up every twenty minutes just to make sure he is alright, we decide to take him back to the attending brain surgeon. David’s surgeon went on vacation two days after the surgery (and before the complications set in), but his partner was familiar enough with Bear’s case that we decided to bring what would become the third brain surgeon to cut on our child, into the picture. At this point, David was too weak to walk and for the first time in his life, had to be pushed around in a wheelchair. To this day I am haunted by seeing his limp body in that chair. It's that constant reminder of "what could have been."

Trip 3 to the ER: The attending surgeon examines David and sends him to the ER 14 miles away at Hoag Hospital, the place of Bear’s birth. We drive David to Hoag and the attending ER doctors examines our entire child, performs an x-ray of his head and stomach, and determines that the shunt tube was wrapped around his intestines and that all of his brain fluid was dumping directly into his cavity. I have no idea what it means, but I understood when he said “We need to correct this right away or he will die.”

He was surprised that David hadn’t slipped into a coma but when I explained how we woke him up every twenty minutes, he praised us.

At this point I have to stop and thank my sister Jea. Many many years ago when I knocked myself unconscious she was really mean to me and wouldn’t let me sleep for days. Every time I tried to sleep, she forced me to walk around claiming that if I fell asleep, I would die. I didn’t believe her, but she is bigger and older than I (and rather crazy in a scary big sister sort of way) so what could I do. When we were waking up David, I was channeling my Big Sis.

Back to the story. The ER doctor then admitted him to Hoag and had him transferred back to Children’s Hospital for the surgery. At this point it was quite late in the evening and the hospital gave us the choice of surgery right away or first thing in the morning.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Right or wrong, we decided to let the doctor get a good night’s rest before operating on our child. We spent one more night in the hospital waking him up every twenty minutes, but given the choice between us being tired or the surgeon being tired while operating, I think we made the right choice.

In the end, Bear recovered nicely. We are still upset with the Hospital for missing the coiled shunt tube the first two occasions. Had it not been for our persistence, David would not have survived. We’re not bitter though. We are that much more vigilant about trusting our instincts and refusing to accept rejection because of the ordeal.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Power of Focus

Singleness of purpose is essential for success. When David Bear was born prematurely back in 1998, the survival rate for little boys was dismal but we did not concern ourselves with those who did not survive but rather, we wanted to know about the ones that did. We made it our chief definite aim that our son would come home from the hospital, that he would thrive and that we would remain intact as a family. Then we went out and found the best advice we could find, followed it and created a better outcome for our son.

The first time I met David’s neo-natal specialist was when she walked into my room almost two days after his birth and she was noticeably upset. She very carefully said:

“Your son has a grade-3 brain bleed on the right side of his brain and a grade-4 brain bleed on the left side of his brain. Most of his brain has not developed; it is gray matter. It may never develop. He has an open artery between his heart and his lungs, which is causing bleeding into the lungs. If we can’t close it with drugs, we will have to do surgery. He is never going to walk, never going to talk, never going to see, probably will not crawl or dress himself, may never control bodily functions.”

I could tell by the look on her face that breaking this news to us was breaking her heart. Then she asked us, “What do you want us to do?”

There was no question. David Sr. and I both told her to “Save our Son”.

We were both very focused on saving our son, and we focused all of our mental, emotional and physical energies on keeping the hospital staff excited about saving our son. David was the smallest baby (744 grams) born at Hoag Hospital and his initial prognosis was “less than 12 hours”. Considering that he had already beaten the odds by surviving those first critical hours, we refused to allow anyone with negative energy to care for our son.

I’ll say that again. We refused to allow anyone with negative energy to care for our son.

Napoleon Hill (author, “Think and Grow Rich”) writes: “the dominating thoughts of my mind eventually reproduce themselves in outward, bodily action and gradually transform themselves into physical reality …” We made our dominating thought that our son would survive and thrive and we refused to allow anyone with negative thoughts to transmit their negative thoughts to our son. Considering his size, one negative thought would do him considerable harm.

I’ll say it one more time. WE REFUSED TO ALLOW ANYONE WITH NEGATIVE ENERGY TO CARE FOR OUR SON! We did not accept … no, we DID accept the medical opinions of his treating staff. We accepted them for what they were, opinions.

FACT: 15.5 weeks premature
OPINION: Nonviable life

FACT: Brain damage caused by bleeding in more than 75% of his brain
OPINION: Vegetable, cerebral palsy, developmentally delayed

FACT: Excessive blood vessels in the retina
OPINION: Blindness

FACT: Lack of surfactant in lungs resulting in lung damage
OPINION: Oxygen dependent

David’s healing started the minute he was born. It started with FOCUS. We set a goal and then focused on achieving that goal. If you read one motivational book, then you have read them all. They will all tell you the same thing, you just weren’t paying attention:

Stephen Covey:
Begin with the end in mind.

Tiger Woods:
My main focus is on my game.

Tony Robbins:
Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.

Dale Carnegie:
One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it.

Normal Vincent Peale:
When every physical and mental resource is focused, one’s power to solve a problem multiplies tremendously.

Whatever life gives you, if you focus all of your attentions and energy (and all the attention and energy you can borrow), then you dramatically increase your odds of prevailing.

Friday, March 18, 2011


David Bear was one of the smallest children ever born in Newport Beach, California. At 1lb, 8 ounces (744 grams) and 12 inches (30.5 cm), his doctors did not have much hope for his survival.

That was almost 13 years ago. Today he is a healthy, 5ft 6in active boy.

Follow me on our journey as I explain how we transformed our brain dead, blind, lung damaged, heart damaged, cerebral palsied baby into a healthy, running, seeing, reading, loving boy.