Vanderbilt and becoming a Warrior

This has been a very busy week. I realize everyone reading this has also had a busy week, so cheers to you! Monday’s Vanderbilt appointment was truly disappointing. Calvin and I left the visit with the cornea specialist feeling very unsettled. The scenario he put forth, which included not doing a cornea transplant for at least a year, goes against all the research we have done. Additionally, other sources have advised us that the quicker we move on this the better chance we have of giving her better sight. There are certain parts of the brain, that involve vision, and those parts typically stop developing around 7 years of age. Lola will be six in January. We just don’t want to play around. If her sight can be improved, we want to do that for her. If not, that’s great, she will still live a wonderful and full life. But, there is an opportunity that seems very clear and we feel that we have to move in that direction.

We have yet another appointment at Vanderbilt this coming Monday. I’m going to sound cross here, but it seems that they delight in sending us back and forth between our two specialists. No answers, just back and forth. On Monday we will most likely object to the proposed plan which is: do muscular surgery now and cornea transplants in a year… maybe longer. Oh and He keeps throwing if in there on the cornea transplant. Please be praying for us. Our gut tells us this is not the right plan. Our gut tells us to listen to the others sources we have consulted with. We so want to make the right decision for our daughter.

Now, on to the more cheerful part of this blog post. Becoming a Warrior. We are zoned for a fantastic elementary school. The mascot is on the shirt pictured below.

photo-1I naturally assumed that the kids were the Indians. I think I complained a dozen times to my poor husband. “It’s a school for goodness sake, don’t they know Indian is not a correct term? It should be Native Americans!” So anyway, we found out tonight that our children are not becoming a bunch of insensitive, politically incorrect wahoos. They are becoming Warriors. I feel so much better. And silly.

So yes. Lola and Elliott are officially Warriors. Lola was more excited about her new shirt than pretty much anything else the school had to offer. Typical girl. Elliott was mildly impressed with the pretty Kindergarten teachers and most excited that he would see a few of his good friends at lunch.

Please forgive the terrible iphone photos. School lighting is atrocious.

Please forgive the terrible iphone photos. School lighting is atrocious.

Charlotte is in preschool this year. One more year until Kindergarten. Hard to believe. We love her little school and she was over the moon excited to start this week. Being at work is so much easier when your children are also in a place that they love.


Calvin dressed to match Charlotte, to help her feel confident on the first day. Thanks for wearing pink daddy.

Calvin dressed to match Charlotte, to help her feel confident on the first day. Thanks for wearing pink daddy.

Liam’s little school starts in a week or so. Hopefully he will stay still long enough for a cute photo or two! That kid is nuts. 🙂

About the author


Erica is an advocate for simplicity, family time, making a cozy home and loving others well. She is the community coordinator for One Orphan, the orphan care ministry of America World Adoption Association. Erica and Calvin have four young children; Elliott, Charlotte, Lola and Liam. They currently reside in Nashville, TN.


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  • Hi Erica! Not sure how I “stumbled” across your blog, but I did and have been checking in from time to time. Love your precious family! I almost posted when you shared the first time about taking Lola to Vandy, but then realized that they may offer exactly what Miss Lola needs. After reading this post, I decided to share a little of our story. I will do my best to make a long story short …. we shall see. Our son was diagnosed at age 4 with a brain tumor. He had severe nerve damage as a result of the surgery and now has facial paralysis, can’t blink or close his eyes, etc. He also had one eye that was completely crossed. Vanderbilt was exactly what we needed in the beginning – in fact, the opthamologist is the one who diagnosed him and sent us immediately for an MRI. As our journey continued we began to realize that they had very little experience in dealing with the eye issues that resulted from brain tumor related issues. We had been doing our research and are now very happy with Dr. Mary Ellen Hoehn at UT Eye Institute in Memphis, TN. She specializes in issues of the eye from cancer related issues….. sees all of the St Jude children. It was so wonderful to feel like we had found someone who wasn’t “stumped” by Ryan’s issues … she was honest with us. He still has eye issues and will most likely have to live with them for the rest of his life unless HE chooses to provide earthly healing (and we will never stop believing and praying for that :)). But, we finally had some answers that we just hadn’t been getting. All of this to say, we had had that same unsettled feeling and quite honestly, we wish we would have moved more quickly. I’m not saying UT is the place for Lola, but it might be worth looking into. They see sooo many different situations. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Our eye issues are completely different and I understand that. Will be praying for God to head you in the right direction very soon.

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