Helping Jasmine See the World
By Jasmine, a Children’s National patient
As an artist, I love painting, but when I was a kid, my eyesight was not something I thought about much. Then I almost lost it. Doctors at Children’s National Hospital saved my sight.
It started when I broke my arm as an all-star cheerleader when I was 15. I stopped cheering and put on weight. My head hurt worse than a migraine. Sometimes I would feel light-headed and see black dots.
My mom took me to see a neuro-ophthalmologist at Children’s National who diagnosed me with pseudotumor cerebri. It has to do with increased pressure around my brain related to a buildup of spinal fluid caused by weight gain.
Weight loss would cure the condition, but it was slow. Even after two eye surgeries, my eyesight got worse. I was scared about losing my vision. Once after a surgery, I visited the healing garden while my eyes were swollen shut. I loved feeling fresh air on my face and the sounds of kids laughing. It made me feel like things would be OK.
A lot of people at Children’s National, including Dr. Evan Nadler, put their heads together to save my eyes. He performed sleeve gastrectomy surgery so I could lose weight faster. There was a nurse who played my favorite song while taking blood because he knew I hated needles. All of that care kept me from needing a shunt put in my brain to relieve the swelling. I lost weight and I got better.
I’m 26 now and studying architecture. I see the world in a whole new way, thanks to Children’s National.