Tag: strabismus

Surgery Change

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!

 

 

 

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!

To Operate or Not?

That is the question.

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:

I knew as soon as I saw this photo. Call the doctors. Do you see how one eyes is looking straight and the other is off to the side?

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

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

Victoza is not quite so evil

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:

http://rmeyecare.com/biopetersen.html

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!

Strabismus Surgery

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!).

the muscles in my eye(s) will be changed so the eyes align and see correctly

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!