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Tina Sixberry, 42, Retinoblastoma

Social media handles: @fightwitha_smile and @eye_am_____


Where are you from? Portland, OR


Where do you live now? Happy Valley, OR

Only picture of me I can find as a child where you can kind of see that my eye was removed.
Only picture of me I can find as a child where you can kind of see that my eye was removed.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a two-time cancer survivor, of retinoblastoma as an infant and breast cancer as an adult. I believe that everything happens for a reason and positivity is life’s greatest medication, along with meditation and love. I have always loved numbers and was a math/probability girl until I realized sometimes you just have to throw numbers out the window and believe in a higher power and what is meant to be will be. After my breast cancer journey, I was told I wouldn’t be able to have children naturally but luckily 4 years later I had my daughter Gemma. Positivity and hope truly are game changers. Believe in Big Dreams and little miracles.

What’s your eye story?

When I was 6 months old my mom noticed my eyes reflected light in the dark, like a cat’s would. So she mentioned it to my doctor at my 6-month check-up. There it was learned I had numerous tumors in both of my eyes. My right eye was unable to be saved so it was removed and then I went through radiation treatment to save my left eye. Luckily being so young, vision in one eye is all I’ve ever known. I was told sports could be more difficult for me and that I should always wear glasses but being a bit of a rebellion I kind of did what I wanted. I got contacts when I was told I shouldn’t and I played all the sports I could. I just wanted to be as normal as possible.


Picture of my Me and my daughter Gemma who is also battling the same eye cancer I had (retinoblastoma)
Picture of me and my daughter Gemma who is also battling the same eye cancer I had (retinoblastoma)

What has been the most challenging mentally?

Well, growing up it was trying to fit in and just be “normal” and look like everyone else. I wanted to blend in and not have people look at me funny because my eyes look different. I didn’t want anyone else to refer to me as crossed-eyed. However now as an adult, I realized I had a lot of past trauma from trying to “blend in.” so I have been trying to accept my difference and embrace it. My daughter is currently battling retinoblastoma and if she happens to lose one of her eyes I want to be a positive example that it is ok to be different and she will be fine with limited vision.



What has been the most challenging physically?

Trying to not look cross-eyed (so learning to turn my head when speaking to people instead of moving my eyes) and then learning how to navigate doing things with my depth perception being off compared to others.


Where are you now in your recovery?

Vision wise I am recovered (as in the eye was enucleated and the socket is healed), it’s the emotional journey that I have just started.


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

Be patient with yourself. You will find ways to adjust and your depth perception challenges will get easier.


Who are your eye surgeon and ocularist?

Christina West was my surgeon (she is now retired)

All baby pictures of me from 6 months to a year my right eye is either covered with clothing, hats or it’s a right side profile.
In all baby pictures of me from 6 months to a year, my right eye is either covered with clothing, hats or it’s a right side profile.

and Christina King is my ocularist


How did you find EYEHESIVE?

Through the Center for Ocular Prosthetics

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