Noa’s Glow Story

Diagnosis: Retinoblastoma

Noa was always a very good and calm baby. Her motor development was totally advanced, always very agile and that is why we never suspected that she had any problem with her vision. When she was about one year old, I started to notice a weird glow in Noa’s right eye. Mainly when she came up to my legs and raised her head asking me to take her in her arms.  It was then, depending on the light that entered her little eye, that I saw a “cat’s eye”.

I spent about a month and a half with this odd feeling, until one day, in a restaurant, I saw it quite clearly, but no one else saw it.  I told my husband and Noa’s grandfather, but neither of them saw anything. No one saw it other than me. I told the pediatrician but she looked with the ophthalmoscope and she didn’t see anything either.  Still, based on what I’d told her, she arranged an appointment for us with ophthalmology, letting me know that it could take up to 6 months for them to call us.

One afternoon not long after, while sitting on the sofa, I remembered something about the importance of taking a flash photo of children.  I remembered that and I didn’t know why, but I recalled once reading that taking a flash photo could detect serious visual problems.

And so it was, I called my husband, who was an hour and a half from home, but because of something in my voice when I called, he started to also have stronger concerns and so he came home.  I explained to him what I’d recalled reading and he was the one who took the photo…THE PHOTO. Day 02/15/2018.

Armed with the photo on my mobile, I went back to the pediatrician who, as soon as I showed her, referred us immediately to the Hospital Universitàrio La Paz-Madrid in our area (Ferrol-La Coruña) and from there we left with an Ophthalmology referral in Madrid, seven days later on 02/22/2018 . There, Dr. Peralta informed us that Noa’s diagnosis was Retinoblastoma, with a very advanced retinal detachment.  Dr. Peralta explained that she no longer had any vision in her affected eye and she would not see again. We did the tests prior to surgery and due to the size of the tumor the doctors informed us that they would need to remove her eye.  She did not need chemo beforehand, so on 03/06/2018, Noa’s eye was enucleated and she was born again.  She was given a clean slate and thankfully there was no need for post-enucleation chemo either.

Dr. Peralta did such a good job that you can’t even notice Noa has a prosthesis! You know doctors never want to “confirm” something without results, but he said she was RB negative, and after waiting months for the genetic proof, she was negative! He said she was clean, and the biopsy results showed that she was clean!! I remember when he got out of the surgery and said “this problem is solved here”… He’s our hero!

Today Noa is 6 years old!  She is a very lively and alert girl. No one, ever, is going to pass over her. She is the best and we are so grateful that we were able to get her to care in time!