Payton’s Glow Story

Diagnosis: Retinoblastoma

In July of 2014, my son, Payton was standing in my laundry room. He turned his head to the side and I noticed a glow in his right eye. I immediately had a bad feeling about it. I thought back to a story I had read in 2013 about a little girl who had a white glow in her eye in a photo that her mother took and had posted to Facebook. This little girl had a serious eye condition. This is the only reason I knew that something major could be wrong with my son’s eye. I immediately scheduled Payton for an eye appointment.

After a quick exam, he told me that Payton had pink eye. I knew Payton did not have pink eye but I used the antibiotic drops for a week with no improvement. The glow was still visible. A couple of weeks went by and I scheduled an appointment with Payton’s pediatrician. The pediatrician examined Payton and said that everything looked fine.

At this point I was still uneasy about it; I knew something was wrong with my son. After a few more weeks I made yet another appointment with a pediatrician. By this time I had looked through many photos of Payton and found the glow in quite a few photos. I was almost certain that Payton had Retinoblastoma or Coates Disease.

Following the exam, the pediatrician excused himself. He returned with a red reflex light, turned the exam room light off, and checked Payton’s eyes. This doctor also said Payton was fine and he didn’t see anything. I just could not accept this because my instinct told me something was wrong. When I returned home, I called the insurance company and had them go through a list of eye doctors. I picked the best one I could and made an appointment.

Payton had an early morning appointment in November 2014 for a routine eye exam. After the exam, my husband and I got the devastating news that Payton had a mass in his right eye (Retinoblastoma). Before we even left the doctor’s office, Payton was accepted into St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN for treatment. We arrived later that morning (the same day Payton was diagnosed) and were welcomed from the moment we arrived.

We truly have the most caring doctors for Payton’s care. They had a treatment plan from day one. Payton has now been a patient for eight-months now. He was set up for 11 rounds of chemo injections, which included three chemo injections into the eye. Luckily his tumor was located just below the optic nerve so we have a great chance at saving his eye. His tumor is 80% gone and his last round of chemo is scheduled for the end of July, early August 2015.

Not only has St. Jude’s provided the greatest doctors, but all of the treatments and medications have been covered because insurance has denied every treatment he has received. St. Jude’s has provided this all at no cost to our family. I don’t know where Payton would be if we had not had St. Jude’s in our lives.

Payton has made a great amount of progress throughout this journey and we will continue to take steps forward. Our family is so blessed and thankful for St. Jude’s Payton’s physicians, and everyone who has supported our family through this difficult time. We also feel a very special gratitude to Know The Glow® for supporting Payton in his battle, raising awareness and saving sight and saving lives. Know The Glow is a campaign all doctors and parents should be aware of. It’s the reason I never gave up on my son.