Life, Miracles and an Eye Update!

The saying above is so very true. Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. And we should be noticing them. Being mindful, being engaged with the moment you are in and not thinking ahead to what’s next.

June 28 was a year since I woke up with a corneal ulcer and totally blind in one eye. When we finally got it uninfected, I had to wait while the thing healed. Then the end of February I had surgery to remove the scarring and the cornea and have a transplant.

2 months ago I had 2 stitches taken out. I didn’t see or feel anything then. Yesterday I spent hours with different cameras taking pictures of the little fellow clinging to my eyeball and the 14 stitches left holding it in place. And then my surgeon took one more out. This time I saw all of the equipment and I was amazed how tiny scissors and a needle can be! I’m progressing very well. My vision in that eye is still wonky but improves a few days after these stitch removals. Not as in good enough to drive or anything like that, but it’s improving. Now we shall start removing them every 6 weeks and then I’ll have another surgery.

My surgeon asked me what this past year has been like for me. Scary, full of anxiety, a lot of whining and moaning dramatically. But I also don’t rely on my sight completely anymore. My sense of smell and awareness of the things around me are heightened. I am extremely mindful of every thing I do. What the people around me are doing. I do one thing at a time. I let people help me. Pride has gone who knows where.

While my husband has to leave the room for every procedure as he is squeamish, my doctor and I do a lot of talking. About books, tea, especially tea. And yesterday he said,” You know through this whole thing, you’ve never complained to me. Never said no to me. You sit still as a statue and let us hurt you and learn from you and you never say a word. How do you do that?”  Me: “I trust you”. And that is the truth. I trust this man who is the best in his field. It’s just that simple. I trust him and the gratitude I feel for him and his residents is enormous. I have had tiny miracles every step of the way. When things should have gone bad from the beginning, they didn’t. When I had no idea how I was going to come up with $30,000.00 up front for the surgery, it just showed up in my mailbox the day before Christmas Eve.

Today will be a rather uncomfortable day but that’s to be expected. I’ll still be able to read because I have one good eye. And that’s more than some people have. Notice the tiny miracles around you. Seek them out. Make them happen.

Thank you all for supporting me on this journey. Now, go be someone’s miracle worker!

xx Patricia

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Open Your Eyes!

The first words I heard when Jodi put my new glasses in place. And I have to admit I was a little anxious about it.

Everything is bright and beautiful to me today! This past year of being blind, getting the transplant and now I only have 14 stitches left so my surgeon gave me the okay to wear glasses!

Of course since my daughter-in -love is the optometrist for the Warby Parker here in OKC, she and Tommy were there when I got to see again for the first time since last June.

Very emotional for all of us. It has been like being dropped on another planet full of beauty and me just walking around going “Wow!”.  I found an entire closet of clothes I hadn’t been able to see and there will be no more Speech to Text for me! I am actually typing this.

My eyes are open and although it will be a while until the one eye gets with the program and all the stitches come out, but when I woke up this morning all I could think was, “What a Wonderful World!”

So excuse me while I go and see just how many cobwebs are hiding in the corners of the house!

xx Patricia

La vie est belle!

I don’t have a book review for today and since I’m all caught up, today I’m reading Don Winslow’s The Force. 

This past week has been a rough one. Just as we get out of one hospital, I go in another hospital. A couple of days before OU Boy had his issues, I got bit by something while at the lake. On my back. Not sure what but didn’t give it a thought as I never get bit by mosquitos or bugs. Ever. And I certainly didn’t give it any thought when I was sitting in CICU. But yesterday I just felt awful and my back hurt in that area right below your scapula.

I called the doctor and the doctor said (nothing about monkeys on the bed!) get thyself here!  Well the dang thing had gotten infected and know he was using words like cut, pack, and that awful three-letter p word. So now I can’t sleep on my left side still because of the corneal transplant and now I can’t sleep on my back.

By this time I think I was just numb. Sleep deprived and sluggish. As we both lay on different sofas last night I said, “Man I really hope this isn’t the night the Zombies come because we would just have to lay there and take it!”

I wanted to take a second here to say that yes, we have been through hell and back since last Thursday, but along the way we have met the most amazing people! People who could relate to what had happened and we don’t feel alone. Everytime we have needed anything, it just mysteriously appears. People show up with juicy summer fruits and all types of greens and tea that are healing and comforting. And of course everyone at OKCGCC have been exceptional. We love them all!

And y’all…well y’all are just flat-out amazing. You are all busy people I know. But the thoughts and comments have really lifted me up and for that I can never say Thank You enough!

jan122    Patricia

As Lovely As You

moodboard by audrey:

As lovely as you! It has been an insane week. Some ups and some downs, but all in all, enlightening. Have you ever gotten  to the point where you are praying the phone doesn’t ring with more sad news? That is what this week was like. A lot of calls and me yelling at the universe ‘Are you Kidding me???’ So the anxiety level has been off the charts.

Trying to be very Zen today and reading a book about a nasty serial killer…hmmm, what does that say about me??

xx Patricia

 

Anxiety. The What If of Life.

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Hope, Courage and Strength. All of these are running through my mind this morning!

Yesterday afternoon the surgeon’s office called to let me know that I will be having my scar removal and corneal transplant on the 23rd of February. We went over all of the pre-op and post-op instructions and then I spoke with the anesthesiologist who gave me his instructions. No eating or drinking after midnight. Not a problem for me. No jewelry, no makeup and bring a shirt that buttons up the front. Not sure about that one.

So I was all at once anxious and glad I now had the date. Since I have promised myself I will not do any more research and look at pictures of eyeballs, I’m not sure how I feel now. Resigned I guess but I’m sure Anxiety will rear her ugly head as I get closer to the date.

Anxiety is that little devil on my shoulder that says ‘Hey, you should make sure your surgeon and all the other O.R. people aren’t on drugs or alcohol. What would happen if one of them had the shakes?’ That is what anxiety is. The What Ifs of Life. Anxiety is not logical, but it does have the power to bring you to your knees some days.

Happy Reading   xxPatricia

When Anxiety Has You By The Throat

I’ve been away for a couple of days now. It’s been 7 months since I contracted an infection in my left eye from a contact lens. A brand new contact lens. At first it was a wild time just trying to save the eye and then it was healing it. I have written plenty about it the last few months and at my last visit my Doctor told me it was completely healed and that I would need 2 operations. One to remove the deep scar and then a corneal transplant.

Yesterday was my check up and getting all my measurements done for the transplant, which will come first. I was ready. More than ready for this to be over. But it just didn’t go that way. I had so many drops yesterday that when I got home and could see a little bit my pupils were so big I looked like some Emo character or a Meth user as someone told me.

Now I have full faith in the Dean McGee Eye Institute and my surgeons. They are in the top 100 of Best lists all the time. Yesterday they said we are starting with the transplant. There will be about an 8% rejection rate and for the next year you will have to be extremely careful not to bump it or rub it or even looks at it. Okay I made that last one up but I’m moping now so let it go. After that year, they will go in and remove the small cataract that formed when I was on the steroids. There is a very fine line between healing and harming with steroids.  I basically zoned out after that. Shut down. Came home and sat in a chair silently for hours until I fell asleep. Dreaming of a Stephen King scenario with someone else’s cornea. A dead someone else.

To admit that I’m scared to death and horribly angry is not something I’m used to doing. I am the strong one. I am the one who does the helping, the advocating on behalf of the patient. And now I just feel like crying.

You can’t really see anything wrong with my eye but I can’t see out without it looking like 4 layers of plastic wrap are hanging there. I will never be able to wear a contact in that eye again. My mother reminded me yesterday that I was 16 when I started wearing them. That I went to the eye doctor and worked out a payment plan and brought those suckers home.

The good news is that my right eye isn’t great on far away but excellent close up so I can read!  But if you too suffer from anxiety you know that even that isn’t enough to keep you from spinning it into something much worse.

Thanks for listening and thanks to all of you who have messaged me encouraging words.

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xx Patricia

The Journey of My Left Eye

Yesterday I was so excited to go to the Clinic. I just knew we were going to get good news. However, that was not the case. Tomorrow we will see if I need to have the surgery.

Before I get into the whining and moaning portion of the story, let me just say this, Dean McGee Eye Institute is one of the best places in the country if you have an eye issue. Everyone who works there is calm, kind, and understanding. Just walking in the building you feel calm. It’s quiet and smells really nice! From the Techs to the Residents to the long time Doctors, everyone is so caring.

Yesterday we were there for 3 and 1/2 hours. They did the usual exam and took their measurements. Then they spoke the words ” I think it’s time Dr. L, the Corneal Surgeon came in”. So in he comes, lovely man, gentle hands, giving orders. First I had to go have pictures taken of my eye. Like real Digital Camera pictures. Then it was off to the Ultrasound Lab. Never had an ultrasound of your eye? Well, it’s exactly what you would think. I got back to my room and in comes all 4 doctors. One numbs my eye and the next one is calling for a speculum. Speculum? I am only familiar with that term in the OB/GYN office, but nope, there is one for your eye. Still metal and from the look on OU Boy’s face, it must have been bad. He was shaking his head NO! Then they laid out the tiny metal scrapers so they could scrap the eye for cultures again. OU Boy is looking everywhere except in my direction. 

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After all of that, my doctor said, well I want you to come in Friday and we’ll see if I’m just going to have to go in and cut out the bad part and let that heal and then do a corneal transplant. All because after a month, I still am not sterile. Now in my head I am yelling What??? I’ve been taking 5 different antibiotics for a month, how much more sterile can I get? I left in tears and woke up this morning with the exact amount of pain you would expect from having your eyeball scraped.

Most days I am on top of this thing. Today is not that day. I hurt and I’m scared and I don’t have time for this mess!

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Thank you all for listening to me whine. Now I’m going to go cut my hair, because it keeps getting caught in the eye patch. Let’s see how that goes.