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!
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!
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.
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…..
• I need that hooky thing, you know the one with the little…..
• 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
So, last May I had surgery on my eye to correct a strabismus problem. This is a problem where the eyes are misalligned and point in different directions. Usually one eye looks ahead and the other looks outward. This causes double vision, poor depth perception and a difficulty focusing.
There is no cure for a strabismus defect because it is neurological in its origins. In surgery they try to move the eye muscles and realign the eyes despite the problem signals in the brain. In 80% of cases the surgery works and the brain starts sending the right signals.
Unfortunately, I’m not in the 80%. Already after a mere 8 months my problem has regressed. (Before the surgery my alignment was off by 20 degrees, then it went down to 6, now it is back up to 14).
This leaves me with 2 choices-
I can try the surgery again. It is no more less or more likely to work a second time. Still 20% regress. 80% don’t and have success… This women has had the surgery 4 times http://hardluckasthma.blogspot.com/2010/06/strabismus-case-of-wandering-eye.html. A nurse at the doctors office has had it 7. These are unusual cases but there is that possibility. Each time 20% risk of it not working. Most surgeries don’t have that high a risk.
or I can get prism glasses- these are special lenses that bend light and help with the double vision. They do not correct eye alignment. As soon as the glasses are off the problem remains.
There are no long-term problems like loss of eye sight or something associated with the condition. It’s definitely a condition I could live with (I have for 31 years).
So now I must decide is it better to take a risk and have a potentially problem solved or do I go with a maintenance approach with the glasses? I don’t know if I will like glasses? Its like looking through your world through boxes and its hard to find frames that fit my huge head- most of them squeeze and cause headaches. This may sound silly but I also know I will have problems keeping track of my glasses.
On the other hand, surgery was a hard experience. It took me 2 days just to recover from the anesthesia. 4 days before I could drive and it was painful.
What would you do- would you take the risk?
It is covered by insurance multiple times as it is not viewed as a cosmetic surgery.
I knew bad news was coming at the doctor but I was still bummed to hear it. Darn it all!
Part of it is I just feel like I look weird. Maybe nobody else would notice but to me it was glaringly obvious in recent photos. This one was especially clear:
Although, this could be a way to get my mother to come visit just me again…Strabismus surgery every year! 😉 JK.
Hey, I just found out Abraham Lincoln had a strabismsus problem. Makes me feel like less of a freak show! At least
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
So I just wanted to do a quick post to update how my second run of Victoza is going. To my shock I have responded well! I have only had one day of nausea and no vomiting (thank goodness for that!). I guess the doctor was right (go figure?). Perhaps I did have a stomach virus when I tried the Victoza before. I was skeptical because it seemed like such a coincidence but with such a great response this time I’m beginning to believe.
Not that I have had no side effects. My appetite has been low but that’s not too bad when it isn’t coupled with the nausea. I have also been a little bit weak and tired. Let’s just say it has not been my best 2 weeks exercise-wise. At least I’ve been meeting with my trainer weekly so that’s helped. Not every week will be a perfect exercise week. The most important thing is to consistently keep exercise in my life, and that I have done. Yesterday I went swimming and it felt great! Today I’m meeting with Michelle for a session so that should be good. (I will probably be sore later on).
Anyway, I had so many comments on my ‘Victoza is Evil‘ post that I felt I must own up to my better response this time. Hopefully it continues and I will feel well for weeks to come. The last two weeks have been great and I feel very hopeful for the future.
Next Wednesday is my strabismus surgery. I’m a little nervous but my doctor is a pro (this is the main surgery he does in his career) and I feel confident in his skills. This is my doctor:
There are always risks in surgery but the greatest risk in this surgery is possibly needing follow up surgeries later on. On the plus side my mom is coming to help me! She will be here from Tuesday to Saturday. Being from a family of 6 it is a rare treat to have my mom all to myself, almost worth going through surgery for!
The doctor expects there to be 2 days of the most pain with it lessening each day, with most of it being gone by a week’s time. However, my eye will be red for several months. The doctor said ‘now would not be a good time to get married. All your photos will have red eye!”. Obviously that is not an issue for me but I will have red eye in Hawaii. Oh well! A small price to pay…
Please keep me in your prayers and thoughts. I am sure I will love calls as I recuperate but I probably will be off the internet for several days because I won’t be able to see out of one eye. Thank you in advance for your love and support.
Also, I am going to be taking a couple days off of my meds and would love treats, food and especially company. Please come by for a visit if it is at all possible. Love you all!
So the long strange story of my health continued today with a visit to a ophthalmologist (eye specialist). As most of my friends know for years I have struggled with a lazy eye (the doctor said I’ve had it since I was born). It’s a little hard to explain but it has always taken effort for me to focus on things clearly. Once I have the focus I see very well but it goes in and out. I also have terrible depth perception making driving, tennis, baseball other activities difficult.
In addition, sometimes I see double. Since this is the way I have always seen for years I didn’t recognize it as a problem. The only reason I became aware was about 5 years ago I went to the DMV. As part of the eye exam they ask you to look in the box and tell them which side lights appear. You can imagine my surprise when I didn’t see any lights! Naturally in order to get my license I had to go to an eye doctor and get the problem looked at. Unfortunately I went to a run of the mill eye doctor (that’s one thing I’ve learned specialists make all the difference in the world) and the idiot said ‘you have a lazy eye but glasses won’t help so there’ s nothing we can really do).
Zoom ahead to this year. As you can imagine over the last few months I have become very aware of my body. I have always felt there was something wrong inside me but could brush it aside as stress, fatigue, an illness ect. However, this year was different. I was doing everything right and still not feeling well, still feeling haggard.
About 6 months ago started noticing when singing music the words would get blurry and be difficult to read. (the doctor says if I was a veracious reader before I should be through the roof after treatment. He said my family may not see me for a week I will be reading so much!). Obviously this was a concern so I went to an eye doctor near my gym. I honestly figured they would be a high-class doctor because of the designer frames sold in the store. With my insurance the copayment is the same so I decided to go for the exclusive looking doctor. Unlike the lame doctor of 5 years ago this man did a number of tests including taking images of my eyes. He agreed that I had a lazy eye and that glasses would not help. However, he did not agree nothing else could be done.
So this brings us to today. On the advice of my doctor I went to the specialist, Dr. Petersen at the Rocky Mountain Eye Care Associates in Salt Lake. After a number of tests he said I have intermittent exotropia or in other words, my eyes are not aligned correctly. This causes problems with double vision, head aches, fatigue, and other problems.
To solve the problem he is recommending I have a strabismus surgery where they actually loosen and reposition the muscles in my eyes to make them align correctly. While we have not scheduled the surgery yet it looks like it will be sometime in May. The doctor said the recovery can take up to a week and he recommends I work from home, which is no problem for me! (Can I say too many times how grateful I am for my job?)
The doctor said post-surgery I should experience a noticeable difference in my depth perception, head aches, fatigue and energy level in general. Between the new energy from this and the diabetes shots I should have super powers! I’m excited! (A little scared but excited too!).
Well, I still have a lot to learn but hopefully I’ve explained this in a way that makes some sense. This has been such a crazy, difficult journey but I am so grateful to be finally figuring these problems out. I feel like a detective who has found the key clues to the big case- a case of why can’t Rachel lose weight and why is she always so tired?
Who knew the road to health was fraught with such peril! Thanks for all of your current and continuing support. Please keep the prayers coming. Love you!