Tag: eye surgery

Strabismus Success and The Difference

I just wanted to show all of you why I got the strabismus surgery and went through all that pain.  Some of you may have wondered “I didn’t notice a weird thing in Rachel’s eye.  Why did she go through that?”

Here’s why.  Look at the difference between these 2 pictures.  One taken in January, one yesterday.

Before Strabismus surgery.

It is almost painful for me to look at this photo.  My alignment is so clearly off and it had serious impact on my mental, physical and social health.  It made dating challenging, job interviews impossible, and even a barrage of other activities difficult.

Here is my face today:

Pretty amazing difference. Right!

Just wanted to share that with you because to me it is very exciting!  I’m so grateful to my doctor and all the nurses, family and friends who supported me.

To read all my posts on this surgery check out these links.

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/?s=strabismus

2 Weeks Post Strabismus Surgery

So its been an interesting couple of weeks for me.  Still have a ways to go before the sutures dissolve and I am back on the mend.  I can’t wait until they dissolve because they itch!  My eyes just feel like I have bad allergies.  Puffy, sore, red, itchy.  Once the sutures dissolve there will be 6-12 months of vision therapy to try and help things stay in their place.  It’s going to be a long road but I’m excited!  To see better.  To see people better.  What can be bigger than that?

Here I was 2 weeks ago:

After surgery in the recovery room

Here I am today.  I think you could say contrast!

Big difference!

I am very grateful for good doctors that treat both conditions and patients.  I’m grateful for new and emerging technologies and how they bless my life.  I’m grateful for my eyes and that they can see at all with all the problems.  I hope they have it in them to see in a new way.  Hope and pray.

The New Year is coming!  I have one race left in October (which I am woefully unprepared for) but also Thanksgiving and Christmas on my own.  And my new townhouse!  That’s a lot of firsts!  I can’t wait to see all of that with my new aligned equal eyes!  Wahoo!

And I hope to someday be able to look all of my loved one’s in the eye and say ‘I love you more than you will ever know’.

 

 

Day 3 Recovery Strabismus

Quick update on my condition.  I am doing pretty well.  Eyes feel more irritated now than anything else.  Sore, puffy and putting off a lot of fluid.  I honestly wish I could take the rest of next week off but I’m also getting stir crazy so work will be good also.

My Mom left this morning and I will miss her. What a treat to have a mother in my home, taking care of me.  My Mother is so good at mothering.  She is warm, kind, interesting and wonderful.  We had a pleasant visit despite the surgery.

My best friend Emily came and visited today which was wonderful.  I have been itching for company because I can’t really read or focus on TV for long so chatting with friends is so great.  I wish we lived in a world where people paid visits on a regular basis.  That was a nice tradition of the past.  Now I think everyone has to have a reason or event to get together.  Just visiting for the sake of visiting is a rarity.

Still, I’ve been grateful for my friends and especially their prayers on my behalf.

I haven’t driven yet but I’m hopeful that I can drive to church tomorrow.  We will see how I feel.  I can see fine but it hurts when I focus for about 30 seconds.  My eyes get sore and I tear up.  It would be kind of like driving when crying.  (It was funny yesterday I went to pick out colors with my Mom for my townhouse and a lady came in and looked at me like ‘why is she crying when picking out colors?’.  I explained it was my eyes not my emotions!

Anyway, in conclusion, the recovery is going well.  Still feel tired and eyes feel puffy, itchy and are very red.  The itching really is the worst.  It is so hard to not touch your eyes when they are itchy.  I keep my eyes patched sometimes just to keep me from itching and touching it.  I may call the doctor on Monday and see what he can do about the itching and puffiness.

Starting tonight I have to put my own eye drops in.  It is challenging.  That is a benefit of living with someone.  Someone to put drops in!

Each day shows improvement and I’m grateful for that.  Please continue to send those prayers my way.  Not seeing double any more so I’m grateful for that!

Eyes today.

 

Stamp Hoarder

So I have a confession- I am a stamp hoarder.  I have 2 huge boxes full of stamps and everything you need to stamp to my hearts content.  Now here’s the sad part- I haven’t stamped in probably 2 years.  None of my friends are really into stamping and I have been so busy that I rarely have the time to get all the stuff out.

Today I was thinking of what I could do that wouldn’t be a strain on my eyes but would be fun. Without reading or watching TV and limited company I was going a bit stir crazy!  The thought occurred to me- get out that stamping stuff and use it!

Even I was surprised at how much stuff I have.  Now in my defense I got most of it from 2 different friends who gave me their collection and one whom I paid her for it as a favor but still its a lot!

Lots of Stamps!

The funny thing is I really enjoy stamping so why don’t I do it more?  I know I have the time but somehow when it is stored away it gets forgotten.

Do any of you do this- have hobbies you enjoy and have all the stuff for but you never actually do them?  Kind of sad that it takes a blinding surgery for me to get out my stamps.  Anyone out there relate?

Stamping away

How do we make enough time to do the things we love?  And why do we buy things that we know we won’t use much if ever?  Wishful thinking?  At least I’m not as bad as some who have closets full of unfinished projects.  (I have a few but not closets full!)

If anyone wants to stamp with me I’d love it!  Or if you want to borrow stamps just come on over!   I especially have stamps for cards as that is my thing.  Not really much of a scrapbooker (especially because I never print out photos any more).

Here is the project I worked on today.  I hope to reestablish the hobby and get busy stamping!

My latest creation. Thank you cards for those who helped with my eye surgery. Isn’t that owl stamp cute?

 

 

 

Strabismus Round 2

After surgery in the recovery room

I can’t write much because I can only focus for about 30 seconds at a time but I wanted to update my readers on my surgery.   Last year I had a strabismus surgery where they create an incision in your eye and move it with a suture to try and align the eye.   This helps you to not see double or have a lazy eye like I do.

Unfortunately my eye did not accept the new alignment and reverted back to most of its original position (was a 20 right left last year, down to 8 after surgery, back up to 14 this year, 25 up and down).

So I went in yesterday and my wonderful doctor, Dr. Peterson at Rocky Mountain Eye Care, performed the surgery.  This time on both eyes with the sutures on my left eye instead of right like last year.

I was very impressed with everyone at the IHC Surgical Center in Murray.  All of the nurses were very reassuring and kind.  The anesthesiologist put in my IV because my veins wiggle so much and are so hard to find.  I was grateful that the nurses didn’t poke and prod me like last year. The operating nurse was wonderful and very reassuring.  We talked about Hawaii and how much I love it as I went under (not a bad way to enter the zzzz)

I also went with a different pain medication, perkiset, instead of lortab, and I responded much more favorably to it.

Wish I could say the same about the anesthesia.  It makes me very nauseated.  Even with the zofram I vomited when I woke up.  Luckily I had a pretty good nurse who was a tough cookie.  Instead of consoling or feeling bad she just said ‘get it out and you’ll feel better’.  Its true.   Anyway, it wasn’t pleasant waking up from surgery but my time in the recovery room wasn’t quite as long as last year.

I don’t know how anyone can go through a surgery for purely cosmetic reasons like plastic surgery.  It is so miserable for me.

A 2 eyed pirate

After about an hour they wheeled me into the recovery room and my Mom was there.  She kindly came out to take care of me, which is such a treat.  I told her I may have to undergo surgery every year to get 4 days of her all to myself.  Thanks to my Dad for holding down the fort in Cali so my Mom could come.

Luckily I didn’t throw up in the car this time going to the doctors for the final suture adjustment.  They have to do that after I’m awake to make it the most accurate.  This was painful but my doctor is so reassuring and kind it helps.  My only complaint was having to wait a long time when I was so uncomfortable but oh well.

So I got home and my sister Anna came up to help which was very nice and I had tons of well wishers and even a visitor (Thanks Melissa).  I listened to audiobooks (reading wonderful memoir by Marcus Samuelson called Yes Chef) and guazed both eyes in spurts.  The perkiset helps a lot with the pain.  Its a strange pain kind of like a prickly burning feeling more than a stabbing pain.  The sutures itch which is obviously uncomfortable and I found it difficult to sleep with my eyes burning but have been trying to rest as much as possible.

I’ve also been enjoying a few breaks from the diet.  (I mean if there was ever a moment for comfort food this is it 🙂  ).    Today I am going to have one of my favorite things in the world- Harmons fried chicken.  A very rare but delicious treat.   I also love frog eye salad and anything smooth.  (My throat is still a little sore from the tube they insert during surgery.)

I love frog eye salad when I’m sick. It doesn’t have a strong flavor and is so yummy. Never eat it in regular life.

Today I feel some improvement and I am not as sick from the anesthesia as I was last year.   Its hard because my world is still very fuzzy and my eyes are irritated and sore but I think I’m improving from last year.

Anyway, thanks so much for all of the love and support I have received.  I have felt the prayers of people from all over the country building me up.  I am so blessed.  Please come on out and visit as I’m sure tomorrow and Saturday I will be quite bored but still needing to rest. 🙂

Please also continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  I need them!

I’m thankful to all my friends, family, good doctor and nurses and my eyes.  Here’s to hoping the surgery takes this year and I won’t need a repeat again. 🙂

My eyes today. I should go to a twilight screening with my red eyes 🙂

Sorry if this isn’t quite up to my usual posts.  I am touch typing it and my brain is still a little cloudy.  Love you all.

Waiting

strabismus surgery on my eye coming up Wednesday

I don’t know if there is anything worse than waiting. Especially waiting for something unpleasant.  I suppose waiting for your wedding day might not be so bad but waiting for surgery is the worst!  Trust me I know!

On Wednesday I have my strabismus surgery.  I had it last year and the recovery wasn’t too bad, but the day of the surgery was brutal. Recovering from the anesthesia was the worst of it. They also gave me lortab which made me sick and nauseated.  Hopefully this time now that they are changing that medicine my recovery from the anesthesia will be better.   I really don’t know how people undergo surgery just for cosmetic reasons.  The whole experience is awful.  A few months ago I had a discussion on facebook with some people that acted like cosmetic surgery was no bigger deal than a hair cut.  They clearly recover better than me!

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/one-eyed-vampire/

My doctor also said my recovery from the surgery will be more challenging this time.  I have scar tissue from last year that will cause more pain and redness.  (Pleasant to think of hah!  The mind reels!).    This time I am going to do some eye therapy to try and make the surgery stick.  I hope it does!  Anyone out there had experience with eye therapy?  Anyone out there had strabismus surgery and done anything to make it more effective afterwards?  I would love to hear any of your experiences.

In the meantime I am waiting.  I hate waiting.  On my mission my mission president made me right a 20 page paper on patience (He saw the academic in me and the impatience!).  I guess I am a bit of a control freak (aren’t most people in the end control freaks?  Don’t most people want to have control over their lives?).    That’s why I hate dating.  No control.

Anyway, it sucks.  Please come out and visit me Thursday-Sunday.  Would love it.  My Mother is coming into town tonight which is the joy of having surgery.  I get to be taken care of by my mother.  I have not been a needy kid and the downside of being from a family of 6 kids is that I rarely get the lone attention of my Mother and what girl doesn’t want that?   Thanks Mom!

I also get meals on Wednesday and Thursday from the Relief Society.  My first time! That’s the benefit of being in the family ward.

So how do you handle the waiting in your life?  In the end, I suppose all we can do is put the waiting in God’s hands and ask Him for strength and patience.  Like the scripture says “In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19).

Please send prayers my way that the surgery will work and that my Doctor will be inspired and watched over.

strabismus surgery

Well, I will end with a joke:

Things you never want to hear your surgeon say:

• Now where did I put that scalpel…. I KNOW I just had it a minute ago…..
• Ooooppppssss!!!!!
• I need that hooky thing, you know the one with the little…..
• AhhhhhhhhChooooooo!
• What the hell is THAT ???
• Ok, now where should I put this
• I’m sooooo tired I can hardly see straight
• Damn! lost one of my contact
• Wait a minute, if this is his spleen, then what’s that?
• Accept this sacrifice, O Great Lord of Darkness
• Bo! Bo! Come back with that! Bad Dog!
• There go the lights again…
• Ya’ know… there’s big money in kidneys… and this guy’s got two of ’em
• Are his relatives waiting outside?
• What do you mean, “You want a divorce”!!!
• FIRE! FIRE! Everyone get out!
• This scissor looks rusted
• Rats! Page 47 of the manual is missing!
• Isn’t this the one with the really lousy insurance?
• Now where did this spider come in from
• Hmm!! Looks like I removed the wrong one!!!!!
• Yes, nurse, hand me the whatchamagigger and the doohickey and hold this whatchamicallit, while I get a hold of the thingamabob. Thanks

 

 

My Life in a Graphic/Surgery Choice

So, I’ve been feeling an itch to travel lately.  Let off some steam.  I’ve been thinking about maybe a trip to the beach once my surgery has healed.  Yes, I’ve decided to give the strabismus one more try.  March 14th is the date. I’m not sure how I’m going to get through this one.  Since there has to be someone to take me to the doctors to get the suture adjusted I need someone who can be with me for at least half the day.  Hmmm….This is where being single is a challenge!

Anyway, it should be fun to reap the rewards of being in a family ward after surgery.  Should be some yummy Relief Society meals (JK!).  I just hope it works this time.  I’m not goona lie.  I’m a little scared.  Going into it the second time is part relieving and part terrifying. I know some parts were easier than expected and some parts were harder.  I wish I could just get it done tomorrow instead of waiting until March, 14. Wish me luck! Keep me in your prayers for this and many other reasons.

Anyone want to plan a trip to the beach? Say Spring break or Memorial Day? Just the thought of the ocean is bringing me peace.  I love it so much!

Happy Memorial Day and Other Updates

I just wanted to post a quick random note covering a variety of topics.

1. Happy Memorial Day-  Today I would like to make a memorial to the people who have passed on in my life.  Especially my Grandpa who lived a sweet and peaceful life.  He loved all people including me and I will always love him for that.  He didn’t see me as his fat granddaughter but just his beautiful granddaughter. He is still my model for what I want to be like.  I miss him every day and I am so grateful to have had him in my life. He is my angel.

Doesn't he seem so lovable?

I would also like to pay tribute to my sweet cousin Lisa who has passed on and my cousin Riley.  I’m so grateful for my knowledge of eternal families and that those who have moved on are not gone forever.  I will see them again and the reunion will be sweet.

2. I just wanted to give a quick update on my condition.  My eye is still sore and I cannot completely open my eye.  Each day it is hurting less and less.  It is nice, with today being a holiday, I have one more day to heal before getting back to full time work.  My mom isn’t here anymore to take care of me, which is a little sad, but I’m grateful to have had her for 5 days!  My apartment feels quiet now that it is just me again. Even though I was recovering it was nice to have time to chat.  It kept my mind off of the pain and kept me from touching my eye as much.

Anyway, its still sore, red and swollen but it gets better each day.  I am also seeing double less. Hopefully I will continue to improve.  I will see the doctor on Thursday and that will be the key to see if the surgery has been effective.  Please keep those prayers coming. I don’t want to go through this again!  Some people have to get the strabismus surgery 5 or 6 times!  Hopefully I can just keep with the one surgery.   The hardest thing is to not touch it.  It itches and stings.  I’m not the greatest at keeping away from it, but I’m doing my best.  It really is irritating. Oh well!  At least it is improving each day.

I think you can see some improvement; although, I still can't open my eye completely and it is sore and red. You can see how puffy it is from me rubbing it...Bad Rachel!
here's a photo with a little more of my eye showing.
by the end of the day the eye has become pretty swollen and squinting. Tried driving. Wasn't ready

I hope you all have a great Memorial Day. Please spend a moment to remember those that have passed on.   I feel especially grateful to the servicemen who have died to protect freedom.  There has been a high cost of freedom.  Thank you with all my heart.

One Eyed Vampire

So the surgery is come and gone.

Wednesday- went into hospital at 9:45 and filled out forms and got registered.  Once they called my name I went to the pre-op room.  In this small room they go over the procedures and ask me a million questions, which will then be asked again and again throughout the day (my name, birthdate, what surgery I’m having, when was the last time I ate, etc).  Next I had to get on my robe and other garments and get seated on the bed. Finally the nurses came in to try and ‘thread the IV’.  Unfortunately I have very small veins and even drawing blood regularly takes a skilled phlebotomist several tries.  Two different nurses tried on 5 pricks to no avail.  (I took a photo of me with my hands all bandaged but it didn’t turn out.).

With no IV in they wheeled me into the operating room.  Then I met the anesthesiologist who was a cheerful fellow who asked me more questions in a jolly way. Eventually he was able to thread the vein using a pediatric needle (I really do have small veins!).  Then came the sleep…

Waking up from anesthesia is a weird experience.  Its a foggy wake up where nothing makes sense.  I immediately felt hot, sweaty and nauseated. In fact, within a minute I yelled for the nurse and threw up this thick gooey substance and it was all over me.  (sorry for the overshare).  She came and gave me a bag and tried to calm me down.  At this point I wasnt even thinking about my eye.   The nurse was able to change my robe and get me a hot cloth that helped sooth me and it was only then that I thought “ooh, my eye hurts!”.    It hurts in a weird way.  It kind of feels like a pressure mixed with a sting.  Have you ever had a eye lash stuck in your eye?  It feels  a little like that but with all your eye lids.

this is my Doctor- Dr. Peterson. He did such a good job and is a very kind man.

After I was partly calm they moved me from post op to recovery where I could see my mom.  What a welcome sight and to feel her hand on my hand.  It was funny because she was so cold in the room that they gave her like 3 blankets.  Me, on the other hand, was roasting- sweat sticking to the bed.  The nurse tried to get me to drink cranberry juice and sprite but it was too sweet.  I wish they had something better for diabetics besides sweet sodas.  Finally I went with a diet pop but it didn’t help much.  I tried to eat 2 crackers but did not feel well. After resting for many minutes (and receiving medicine through the iv) I was finally ready to put on my clothes which felt heavy against my sweaty, weary body.  They rolled me out in a wheel chair and then I got into the car where I immediately got sick again and threw up.

Feeling awful we drove to the doctor’s office for the final adjustment to be done.  I was nervous about this but with the anesthesia gel it wasn’t too bad.  I told my doctor that getting my eye brow’s waxed hurts worse!  He is such a good doctor and just a kind man.   I am lucky to have found him.  The nurse who helped us at the doctor’s had the same surgery but she told me she needed it 6 times throughout her life!  I guess she was born with crossed eyes and it took many tries to get alignment.  Wow!  I can’t imagine going through this 6 times.  She did also say that my doctor was the one who could finally get the alignment right.  It seems like he is the best at this particular surgery and it is comforting to know you are in the hands of the best.

the patch helped for the first day

Finally after all that I could go home, take some lortab and rest.  Surprisingly looking at a laptop up close was easier than a far-away tv.  This is why I was able to post on facebook the day of the surgery.  It was especially easy because I used a patch for the first day which helped me to focus and helped the eye to heal.  Now things are fuzzier that I have to use both eyes.

My visiting teacher Brianna brought over Rumbi grill on Wednesday which I am so grateful for.  Since we didn’t get home until after 4 it was so wonderful to have food brought to us.  Thank you so much.  She even made sure my mom had gluten-free sauce and that we all had brown rice.

Thursday- After a night of interrupted but good sleep I woke up feeling groggy and a little hung over from the anesthesia.  I also felt tons of body aches after surgery.  My neck, back and chest were all very sore.  I felt like I had been in a car accident and was experiencing whiplash.  My mom thinks it may be something to do with the position they put me in for operating.  Who knows?

The whole rest of the day I wore the patch to help me see and to help me from poking at the eye.  We decided my pirate name is One Eyed McGee.  The eye hurt but there were also accompanying head aches that would take over my whole head.  Thank goodness for Lortab!  I just have 12 pills to get me through the worst of it because I know how dangerous it can be.  On Thursday I was grateful for it.  It was so nice having my mother here to talk with and help me take the medicine.  The eye drops are very important and I have to remember to take them 4 times a day.

Friday- Most of the grogginess is gone and doctor says I have to take off the patch for the day.  This makes things double and can be painful- particularly when my eye tries to move.  It is more like a pressure accompanied by a bit of a sting.   Still, there is definite improvement today.  We decide to visit my grandma (I figured sitting there not that different from sitting in my apartment).  That was a pleasant visit but I did get tired towards the end.  I think it will take a couple of days to be back to my usual effervescent self!

Not wearing the patch is hard.  I feel there is liquid coming and want to dab my eye or pick at it.  It takes all of my strength to leave it alone.  I don’t want infection to develop.  I must admit that despite my best efforts the skin under my eye is a little raw from the gauze rubbing against it.  today I must do better on that.  It’s just very tempting but I really dont’ want an infection.

Saturday- Today I feel pretty good.  I woke up with my eye caked over in fluid and the like, which I have read is common.  I do feel the sting and the throbbing are a little better.  I feel confident I should be able to drive tomorrow to take my mom to the airport.   Today we are going to try going out with friends for lunch and maybe going to Ikea.  We will see.  Now I look like a one-eyed vampire.  The strangest thing is I cannot open my right eye completely because of the sutures- so one eye looks big and the other freakishly small.  Oh well!  All part of the healing process.

Today I am transitioning off of lortab to Tylenol and ibuprofen.  I know how dangerous lortab can be and do not want to become an addict.  Still, it was nice to have for a few days to relieve pain.

I am confident of my healing moving forward.  Thank you for all the support and encouragement I have received.  Its been quite the journey but soon I will be able to see differently than ever before.  I will be curious to hear your feedback about my eye contact and other things you see as improvements post surgery.  My friend Melissa said she could already see a new alignment and that she thought I looked prettier!  That made my day.  Nothing like being told your pretty when you look like a one-eyed vampire!  I really am curious to know if you see anything different in my face and how I interact with you.  My eye contact should at least be better.

If any of you are going through surgery- particularly this surgery- know it will be rough but you will get through it.  Lean on the support of those you loved and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  I am so grateful to those who have helped me especially my Mom.

To healing and getting stronger each day!  Please keep the prayers and thoughts coming.  Love, Rachel

Something Funny on a Stressful Week!

Every once in a while I like to post a funny bit or joke that made me laugh. This seems especially appropriate this week as the world is still here and the rapture hasn’t started yet!  If wackos can teach us anything it is to soak up each moment and laugh as much as possible.

In addition on Wednesday I am having eye surgery for my strabismus problem.  If anyone is available Thursday or Friday come by and visit.  I would love visitors. I honestly don’t know how much pain I will experience or what it will feel like but I am sure it will not be pleasant. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I think any surgery should make someone nervous.  There are always risks but I’m confident in my doctor and everything should be fine.  Keep me in your prayers and seriously come over for a visit!

This joke I admit is a little sexist but I thought it was funny so enjoy! (By the way, I think these could all be reasons I should stay away from home or car repairs).  Part of the reason I rent is that every home repair I’ve attempted has been a royal disaster!At my Dad’s homes particularly water problems have been such a nightmare.  Everything from sprinklers, main drains and other flooding has occurred.

It honestly makes me want to never be a home owner. What a hassle!  At least with renting most damage I do is not my responsibility but the landlords!

Anyway, enjoy something that made me chuckle. Hope to hear from you this week! (Phone calls will also be great!)

Signs that Your Guy Should Not Be Wielding a Set of Tools

Post-it notes stay up longer than the tiles he installed.

Your baby’s first word is “Fire!”

Everyone in the emergency room yells, “Norm,” when he walks in!

He gets frustrated assembling the toys that come in the kids’ cereal boxes.

The first thing every guest says upon entering your house is, “You smell smoke?”

He threw out three new drill bits before he realized the drill was set on reverse.

He tried to convince you that the unsteady rocking motion of the ceiling fan he installed is an oscillation feature.

The fire department made a special trip to your house to confiscate his wire strippers.

He wallpapers the room without removing the pictures first.

After tuning up your car, he insists that running on three cylinders saves gas.

Your neighbors stopped loaning him tools for fear of being named “accessories.”

Home depot employees all chipped in to hire him a handy man