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Nifah Caraway, 40- A tumor was found on my pituitary gland

Social media handles: been_queening_

Where are you from? New Jersey

Where do you live now? Texas

On the road to recovery, at the hospital wearing a medial eye patch
On the road to recovery.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I'm a soon-to-be-married woman with a 12-and-a-half-year-old son. I've spent 15 years working in the medical industry. For the most part, I like spending time with my son and fiance. I normally go to a movie, eat dinner, and sing karaoke with others. My mother, sister, son, and nephew can be seen with me poolside. As someone who is very spiritual and in touch with the cosmos, I think that everything happens according to the divine plan.

What’s your eye story?

Where should I start? When I was a young child, I recall going to the Ringling Brothers Circus and only being able to view through one pair of binoculars. I didn't notice this because I was only 5 or 6 years old. Seven years later, I informed my mother that I could not see out of my right eye. She drove me to the eye doctor, where I began my quest to determine the cause of my right eye's loss of vision. I would get pain in my right eye and a headache from bright lights. My eye had started "wandering eye" by that point. One doctor directed my parents to the CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) after they had seen other doctors with various theories.

My parents and I started to understand things after that. I was in my peak high school years at this point. A tumor was found on my pituitary gland. I detested going to CHOP because every time I went, I had to have an MRI or CT. The staff consistently used my hand to initiate the IV because the MRI with contrast was required. They sometimes had to keep poking because they couldn't find a vein, which still traumatizes me today. My parents were given a partial solution by the doctors, who advised them to biopsy the tumor and remove the wandering eye. My parents believed that having my eye removed would be best.

It was discovered that I had a meningioma tumor, which grows slowly. Later, I had a prosthetic eye fitted for me, which I used up until last year. It was distressing for me to lose an eye while in the 11th grade. For at least two years after, I mimicked the artist Aaliyah by covering my right eye with my hair. I eventually developed the confidence to acknowledge that God formed me in this manner. Not always was it simple.

After my brain surgery - still at the hospital, shaved head and visible scar.
After my brain surgery

What has been the most challenging mentally?

I've finally acknowledged my depression. Being the girl with the lost eye in high school was awful. This man bullied me at summer school. Because of my wandering eye, he and many others would always refer to me as giant smalls. My junior and senior proms were never attended by me. Even in my early to mid-20s, my friends would gossip about me. I was incredibly insecure.

What has been the most challenging physically?

I've always been curious about how it feels to have two eyes. My son and I went to the movies with a friend, but because the film was in 3D, I was unable to even appreciate it. Because of my prosthetic eye, I detested taking pictures as well.

Where are you now in your recovery?

It took me twenty years to get a new MRI. After my final CHOP visit, I didn't see a doctor again. I seldom ever removed my prosthetic eye because I was too terrified to get it cleaned. I learned last year that a Dallas physician does peg implants for prosthetic eyes. Instead of being motionless like a prosthetic eye, the peg implant moves when your eye does. I scheduled a visit with the doctor, who advised me to follow up with a brain surgeon to obtain an update on my tumor. I did as instructed. It was eventually discovered that my tumor was only a few millimeters from my left optic nerve and filled the entire right side of my orbital cavity. I would have gone blind in the following few years if I had delayed any longer. I concurred with the doctor's assessment that the tumor must be removed as the only alternative. On August 4, 2022, I had a 12-hour-long brain operation. 90% of the tumor was successfully removed by the doctor, and 10% is still on my carotid.

My opthalmologist and the neurosurgeon collaborated to make sure I wasn't leaking brain fluid and that everything was in order. I had a second surgery to remove tissue that was protruding from my right eye about a month after my initial procedure. Recovery: Since last year, I have been without a prosthesis because my old one no longer fits. On the plus side, I've never felt more assured than I do right now. A lot of facilities in Texas do not take insurance. Eventually, I will get fitted for another prosthetic.

What advice would you give to someone going through their eye impairment

Right after the tissue removal surgery.
Right after the tissue removal surgery.

journey? Talk to someone; do not keep your emotions to yourself. I wish I had been more honest with my family. Additionally, words are meaningless; people will talk negatively about you, but those are the people who don't matter. Keep living life with one eye open. I never imagined falling in love and having a child. Never quit.

Who are your eye surgeon and ocularist?

He passed on. James Katowitz

How did you find EYEHESIVE?

I started to follow a lot of individuals with one eye and stumbled across Eyehesive.

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