Yes, I Can Take it Out This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

June 1, 2008
When I was three, my dad was giving me a bath one day when he noticed that my eye was cloudy. He called my mom but she couldn’t see anything wrong. My dad covered my left eye and asked how many fingers he was holding up. I couldn’t see a thing and guessed wrong.

My doctor examined me and sent me to an ophthalmologist, who did an ultrasound and a CAT scan. The doctors agreed that it was cancer of the retina (retinoblastoma), and they recommended removing my eye. At first, my parents were skeptical, but the doctors pointed out that if we decided to remove the eye, there would be no need for chemotherapy or ­radiation. My parents agreed that this was the best thing.

Four days later, we went to the hospital for my surgery. According to my parents, I was in the operating room for four hours and stayed in the hospital for one night. I had an IV for the pain medication, and I also had a big bandage over my right eye socket.

Before going home, the doctor took my bandage off and put on a smaller one. My eyelid was swollen shut. Being an energetic kid, three days later I was already outside riding my tricycle.

My eye was sent to a clinic for analysis. The result was that I didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation, because the cancer was only in my eyeball.

Two months later, I got my prosthetic (which means “fake” in doctor language) eye. My ocularist, or “guy who makes fake eyes,” is a true artist because he had to paint the prosthetic perfectly to match my other eye. I sat for hours while he examined my eye and painted it. To make it, he poured a hot, gel-like substance into my empty eye socket. I had to lie perfectly still for ten minutes waiting for it to harden. Then he shaped it, which took several fittings. I wore it unpainted for a month to make sure it was going to fit. Then he applied the finishing coat. I had that prosthetic eye for seven and a half years but by then I had grown so much that it was practically falling out. Yes, your eyeballs grow with the rest of your body.

The years that followed my surgery were filled with doctor appointments. I had to go to the ophthalmologist every three months to make sure that the other eye was doing fine and cancer-free. When I was eight, my doctor told me that I was his best patient. We appeared together on the local news to talk about retinoblastoma and how I recovered from my surgery. It was really fun and a very good experience. Since I only have one working eye, I wear glasses even though I have 20-20 vision in my good eye. The lenses are extra thick so if something comes flying at my face, I won’t become blind.

Most people are aware of my prosthetic. It still shocks me though when someone I have known for a long time figures out what happened to me really late. Usually the first question they ask is, “Can you take it out?” My response is always yes. The next thing they say is, “Oh my gosh! Take it out … please!” It is hard for me to refuse, but I won’t if we are in a public place.

When people say that they feel sorry for me, I think, They don’t know … I am lucky to have a fake eye. So what if I can’t see. At least I’m not dead.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

gold fish said...
Feb. 10, 2009 at 11:11 pm
I need a message and a summary for this story! Thank you
Hello kitty said...
Feb. 10, 2009 at 1:42 am
This is a great story, but I want it to contain a message and and excellent summary!!!!!! Thank You!!!!!!!!
Joaniegirl said...
Aug. 21, 2008 at 2:41 pm
I am Madison's grandmother and I am so proud of her. She has always been a go getter and believe me this has not interrupted her life in any way. We have 3 generations of right eye problems. I don't see out of my right eye, my daugher doesn't see out of her right eye and now Madison, however, we have different reasons and have not had to cope with Cancer. She is one brave little girl and not just because she is my granddaughter.

Joan Roach
lettercarrier said...
Aug. 19, 2008 at 4:39 pm
Madison is one of a kind and a real trooper, as well as a great dancer and now it seems, a good writer.
dancinhippo said...
Aug. 17, 2008 at 3:27 am
Madison didn't mention that she dances competitively. So the great attitude she displays in this article truly represents the way she lives her life. She hasn't allowed this to stop her from doing what she loves.
flamingochick0220 replied...
Dec. 7, 2010 at 11:15 am
Aww I love you guys!! :D 
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