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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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.)
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. 🙂
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.
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
Real quick update- so I’ve been having a problem with my ribcage and been exploring it with my doctor. Had blood work done today and yesterday. My pour arm looks so battered and abused. 😦
They actually think it may not be fibromyalgia after all and that it might be pleurisy or something else. It may also be chronic pain but we will know more in the next few weeks, months. After a year plus of doctors telling me I had the flu or it was exercise pain I finally have found a doctor who is taking this seriously. I feel like if there is an answer to be found we will find it.
So with all this pain and change I’ve talked to my eye doctor today and we decided together to put off the strabismus surgery to a later date. It will probably happen in May or this summer. I hate to have more time to stew on it but it will be a good test of my new resolve to have a calm, happy focus in my life.
Thanks for all your help and support through all this. Will keep you posted on everything!
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
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!