Tag: surgery

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?

 

 

 

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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!

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