Elizabeth Montijo suspected something was wrong with her son’s left eye since birth. When she talked with her husband, friends and even the pediatrician, they all said Raylan had a lazy eye. But, when Raylan was 3 or 4 months old, you could cover his right eye, and he would become agitated. Then, in January 2015, the kitchen light shining in Raylan’s eye showed haziness.
An ophthalmology specialist confirmed that Raylan suffered from Bilateral Retinoblastoma. He had never seen a case so severe. After doing some quick research on the disease, Elizabeth asked that the hospital send Raylan by ambulance to CHLA. There they met Dr. Kim, who confirmed the gravity of Raylan’s disease – not only was he to lose his left eye, but his right eye had 11 tumors.
A friend had sent Elizabeth the website link to Know the Glow®, so she went through her photographs, looking for “The Glow.” She didn’t find any and later learned that it was due to Raylan’s retina detaching early in life. Today, Raylan undergoes systemic chemotherapy for the tumors, which are responding to treatment. He also is waiting for a prosthetic left eye. You can follow Raylan’s journey on his Facebook® page: Raylan Montijo’s Fight Against Retinoblastoma
Raylan was diagnosed with Bilateral Retinoblastoma when he was 10-months-old on January 14, 2015. On January 29, 2015 his left eye was removed leaving him blind on his left side. He currently has 11 tumors in his right eye, which causes his right eye to be visually impaired. He is a patient at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles under the care of Dr. Jonathan Kim, a Retinoblastoma specialist, and Dr. Jubraun, an oncologist.
He goes every month for an Examination Under Anesthesia of his eye. So far Raylan has undergone: six rounds of chemotherapy, 14 months of laser treatment and cryotherapy, four blood transfusions, two platelet transfusions, 60 injections (to help his white blood cells while undergoing chemotherapy), hair loss, permanent hearing loss in both ears, and sleep apnea.
He has also endured: a port placement and removal, his blood has been drawn 106 times, 22 EUAs, 9 MRIs, removal of his tonsils and adenoids, tubes placed in both of his ears, four hospital stays, 19 visits to the emergency room, one Life-Flight transport, one ambulance transport, four viruses that left him fighting for his life, and much more.
Through it all he has kept a smile on his face and taught us how to be strong. Raylan is a true hero. He still has a very long road ahead of him, but he is a true fighter.
What is Raylan doing today: as of May 5, 2016 Raylan finally became stable in his right eye. He still has all 11 tumors, but remains stable. He now goes every eight weeks for his EUAs and is in OT and feeding therapy, due to him not eating since March of 2015.
Currently Raylan goes to school for the blind and visually impaired. We as parents, feel that it’s the right thing to do by putting him in school and preparing him to live in this world blind. Raylan is a very happy and rambunctious 2-year-old. He loves swimming and playing with cars and trucks. Raylan also loves his three brothers and sister more than anything in this world. Through all of this, Raylan has kept a smile on his face and has taught us how to be strong, take things one-day-at-a-time, and live in the moment. He is our hero.