For Patients

Living the Life I Fought For

Patient: Sandra Colbert
Diagnosis: GVHD
Sight Restored:  2002

Cancer survivor Sandra wears BostonSight PROSE devices

In May of 1997 Sandra Colbert, a busy mother of three young girls, started to notice strange dark bruises appearing on her legs.  Less than a year later she found herself diagnosed with the most aggressive form of myelodysplastic syndrome.

Determined to live and be around to raise her daughters, Sandra realized her only option was to undergo an unrelated, mismatched bone marrow transplant. Despite all odds she survived the procedure, and for a while it seemed as if her biggest battle had been won.

A few years later Sandra began to develop chronic ocular graft-versus-host-disease, and she realized that her ordeal was not yet over. “It was just so frustrating after everything I had been through with the transplant. My eyes were now the only thing keeping me from enjoying the life I fought so hard for.” Her sensitivity to light, constant eye infections, and chronic discomfort made daily life as challenging as it was uncomfortable.

“As a mother, I began to worry how I was going to do the things I needed to do to keep my family going.” For Sandra, simple things like driving to the grocery store, or even being able to read her girls a story before bed, began to seem like they would soon become impossible. “It was embarrassing showing up to school functions, softball games, and ballet recitals in my huge dark sunglasses. I remember having to carry around a big bottle of saline solution everywhere I went, always trying to sneak in a few drops when no one was looking.”

Desperate for relief, Sandra tried everything from punctal plugs to having her tear ducts cauterized. Nothing worked very well and her condition only seemed to worsen. “At one point I couldn’t even see the ‘big E’ during an eye exam; that was really scary for me.”

Sandra continued to suffer as her disease progressed, until one day a local optometrist suggested she contact Boston Foundation for Sight. “My husband just happened to bring one of my daughters in for a routine eye exam, and upon hearing about my condition the optometrist couldn’t believe we hadn’t heard about BFS!”

Within weeks after contacting BFS, Sandra finally found the relief she had been desperately seeking for years. “The first time I put in the PROSE device it was this incredible instant relief. I couldn’t believe it!”

12 years later Sandra continues to live her life free from debilitating symptoms of ocular GVHD thanks to BostonSight® PROSE treatment. “I cannot live a day without them. Boston Foundation for Sight has given me my life back, and for that I will never be able to express how grateful I am. Surviving my transplant gave me some extra time, and now I can truly enjoy it.”

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