Recently I have become a die hard Derek Fisher fan. Of course living on the West Coast, it was only natural for me to have a love for the Los Angeles Lakers, but that wasn’t the reason for my sudden interest in the ball player. I also remember the controversy that arose when Fisher transferred over to the Utah Jazz, but I still liked Fisher the same. It was not until a couple of months ago, that I started to research Fisher more in depth and found out that we have more in common than just basketball. Our common denominator is that we both have daughters that have very rare eye conditions. We have both been in a situation of having to work right before or after a day of procedures and/or surgery, and attempt to not let the hurt that your child is enduring affect your livelihood.
March 24, 2012 will be a day that I will never forget. It was the day that I took my daughter in for a routine eye exam, for replacement glasses. Our insurance changed, so we had to see a new optometrist. Now, let me give you a brief background. My thirteen year old has had an astigmatism ever since she was five years old and began wearing glasses. She has had a routine eye exam every year since then and everything has always came back normal. This day, her normal thirty minute appointment turned into a two hour long visit, resulting in a STAT exam with a local ophthalmologist. The optometrist found calcium on her eyes and was concerned. She was hoping that it was nothing, but she had to warn me that the calcium could be coming from a tumor on her brain. She also said that Diamond (my daughter) needed a bifocal lens because she now only possessed 20 percent vision from her left eye.
I didn’t know how to digest this information. My mind started running in so many directions. My first thought was how did this happen? Where could this have come from? That is when the guilt started to set in. Just like the Fisher family, I did have warning signs, but not as blatant as an unusual fluorescent glow coming from their daughter’s eye. My signs were ones that given the situation, a normal person would have probably reacted the same way that I did. I remember once when Diamond was nine years old, her former eye doctor told me that she had a little calcium on her eye, but that it was normal. In the beginning of March 2012, she failed an eye exam at school, but I thought it was just because she lost her glasses.
This initial appointment led to a series of appointments with many eye specialist throughout the city of Las Vegas, and now Los Angeles. She was diagnosed with Optic Nerve Disorder. Her optic nerve on her left eye is lifting. She also has calcium on both eyes and her optic nerves on both eyes are swollen. She also has a growth on the brain. During this chaotic and emotional time, I was in the midst of several major projects in my career. My business partner and I, were preparing for a major New York City launch of our new series He’s My Favorite Mistake; which included several pre-release engagements and interviews nationwide. This was traumatic, because I had situations that I had to be a mom and an author at the same time. The same day that we had a five hour appointment with Neuro-Ophthalmologist, I had to get on a plane a couple of hours later to attend a Chicago pre-release event. I also launched my latest title A Cold Piece at a local Barnes and Noble store the same day as a four hour appointment with the Retina specialist.
While trying to maintain balance and appear strong for my children, I was literally becoming depressed on the inside. I had so much going on personally, but still had to run my companies. Outside of my own titles, I was launching several other titles from the authors on the roster. My world was so hectic that I didn’t have a chance to rest, and ended up in the hospital for a couple days, right before my big New York launch party. My blood pressure was 180/91 which is completely too high, I was experiencing extreme chest pains, and I was dehydrated. Against my family and friends approval, three days after being released, I was on a plane to New York.
This is when I was introduced to Derek Fisher’s story. A very close friend, shared an article that Essence magazine wrote about him in 2009. It was scary how similar our situations were. The only difference is that Diamond does not have cancer as of date, but we still have a long road to go. Just like Fisher, I have to be closer to the care that my daughter is in need of. Currently, she is being seen in Los Angeles, but this is not feasible for us, now that my eldest daughter is preparing to attend college in the South. I had to step out on faith and do what is best, not just for my daughter, as well my company, and we are in the process of relocation.
I received so many emails, Face Book and Twitter direct messages from readers, family, and friends asking me if I am okay. I haven’t done an appearance since June, stopped communicating on social networks, and became really reserved and focused on my personal life. I let this situation take over, and stopped prioritizing. I am now in the process of gaining control of my life again. As a single parent, you already wear so many hats when it comes to the well being of your children, but you have to maintain balance. I always prided myself, that the main things that I taught my girls were to full fill your dreams, and live your life like today is your last. During this ordeal, I have to admit, I became unraveled. I had to remember that there were others going through the same thing that we were.
I first want to thank everyone that has showered us with love and words of encouragement. I want to thank Dr. Chow for taking just a few extra moments and giving Diamond a thorough exam and noticing that something was wrong. I also want to thank the Fisher family for sharing their story with the world. If it wasn’t for them, I probably would not have had the courage to write this blog post. Lastly, I want to thank Diamond for being so strong. She wants to co-write a book about this ordeal, and we have started documenting this trying journey.
I have to admit. I am crying every time I see her in pain, but she is not letting this ordeal get the best of her. Her Granny who was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Kidney failure told her that God has them both in his hands, and this is what my daughter in turns tells everyone that ask her how is she doing. At the end of the day, life goes on, and in the words of my baby girl, “God’s got me. Everything else is irrelevant.”
Diamond telling me that she wish this was over.
In the waiting room being silly