The Lau Family: JoAnn, Norrin, Isaac, and Tammy
Tammy displays her watercolors. Isaac races in the Dragon Boat Festival
We noticed Tammy's cloudy eyes when she was 3 months old. She had her cataract surgeries, and now we continue to monitor her eye pressure lest she loses her sight (due to glaucoma). We put in eye drops several times a day.
When Tammy was young, she could walk by holding on to things (tables, furniture). Then she got a high fever when she was 1 1/2 years old, and all her motor skills were "lost". She couldn't even sit up by herself. What seemed like forever, we got her to the walker, and then to forearm crutches. But then her condition affected the bone growth of her knee joints. It made her knee joints crooked, so we did not feel comfortable about her safety. She is now in a wheelchair. We wish that we had stopped the growth in the bones when they started getting crooked (Tthat way they could still support her weight.) When she's at home, she crawls on her hands and knees.
Tammy was diagnosed as mildly retarded. She likes to swim, work on the computer, do water painting, read (she reads the Harry Potter books), speak Spanish with her friends (we are Chinese), and is getting increasingly hungry for her independence. She recently received a hand bicycle to ride around the neighborhood.
Tammy graduated from High School with mostly special education classes. She took only a couple of classes at the nearby Community College. Now our task is to find her something to do. She was filing at Dad's office once a week but she didn't like working for her Dad. Now she has a part-time job at the Honolulu Zoo Gift Shop renting out strollers and helping in the store a few hours each week.
Isaac also had his cataracts removed as an infant and also has glaucoma in his right eye. We have to monitor his eye pressure carefully and put eye drops in twice a day. He never had a violent illness like his sister, but he also has slurred speech and a hard time writing. When Isaac gets hit with a high fever (+104), he has convulsions. This happened twice, so when his fever is high, it throws us into our panic mode.
Before Isaac's legs got too crooked, we tried to straighten his right leg (osteotomy: take a wedge out of the bone) through Shriner's. It did not work and his leg atrophied, so he does not have much feeling below his right knee. This was really tragic for us because he was on a walker until this happened. They said the leg atrophied because the cells did not release "whatever cells release whenever extra energy is needed". Later he had another operation on his left knee to stop the bone growth and stop the leg from getting crooked.
Isaac's motor skills are impaired (talking, writing, walking) but he is gifted in the area of languages. He is most fluent in Japanese, followed by Mandarin (Chinese), then Korean and is currently studying American Sign Language. He has a real outgoing personality. When at the Community College, he only takes one or two classes. He is currently doing volunteer work for our church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
JoAnn is a massage therapist, teaches piano, hula, and is into healthy food and "essential oils". She is currently singing in the church choir and performs in a yearly Christmas concert for the community. Norrin is an insurance agent, financial planner, a high school tennis coach, and loves to be lazy around the house.