By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: Other | Issue: January 2015
Dr. Abby Overstreet discovered a benign tumor in 12-year-old Christian Garner’s brain during an eye exam last April. The golf-ball size tumor was pressing on Christian’s optic nerve, causing headaches and brain hemorrhaging. After surgery in Oklahoma City, Christian is now free of headaches and has perfect vision.
For almost a year, 12-year-old Christian Garner had been battling headaches. When the headaches grew worse and her son began vomiting, Christa Garner called Advanced Vision Center in Claremore for an appointment. Although his previous eye exams had turned out fine, she knew something was wrong. “I thought he was having migraines and might need reading glasses again,” says Garner. “He had worn them for a year when he was eight, but his vision had been corrected by the eyeglasses.”
When Dr. Abby Overstreet examined Christian’s eyes on April 1, 2014, she discovered something pressing on the boy’s optic nerve, causing severe swelling and blood hemorrhaging in the back of his eyes. “The first thing I thought of was brain tumor, so I immediately called Dr. Brent Hinkle, who is my primary care physician as well as Christian’s,” says Dr. Overstreet. “Within two hours, Dr. Hinkle had scheduled an MRI for Christian, which did reveal a large brain tumor.”
Surgeons at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City operated on Christian on April 8, discovering a rare golf-ball size benign tumor called Subependymal Giant Cell Astrogcytoma (SEGA). “While it was not cancerous, it could have caused more problems for Christian,” says Dr. Overstreet. “There was danger from brain bleed, and he could have easily gone blind. There was so much pressure on the brain that he could have had a stroke. He had already lost his peripheral vision, but since the surgery, he has regained it.”
In fact, there was no permanent damage. But the rare tumor could return anytime throughout his life, so Christian will need yearly exams, according to Dr. Overstreet.
Dr. Overstreet wants to emphasize the importance of yearly eye exams for everyone. “While children are screened at school, it is not a substitute for a complete eye exam. I think those screenings are great because they can catch early vision problems; however, a yearly exam to check one’s eye health is important for all ages.”
She has detected high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blocked arteries and diabetes in her older patients. “People often don’t realize the importance of eye health,” she adds. “One of my patients had blood pressure through the roof, and he had hemorrhaging in the back of his eye. We immediately called an ambulance.”
As for Christa Garner, she is extremely grateful to Dr. Overstreet for being so proactive in getting the care her son needed. “I encourage others to get a yearly eye exam because the health of your eyes can reveal a lot about your body in general,” she adds. Garner, who was finishing up her LPN studies when the event with Christian occurred, has now graduated and is employed part-time by Dr. Overstreet.
“It’s not that I saved the child’s life that day,” says Dr. Overstreet. “I just happened to be God’s helper.”
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After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.