Thursday, September 9, 2010

Eye Update

I cannot begin to express how touched I am each time a dear reader inquires about my eyes and the healing process.  While this is definitely not one of the prettier entries I have posted, I thought maybe it would be healing in its own way for me.  I seem to have hit a wall in believing that I will ever be back to normal, and am trying very hard to accept my new "normal" and limitations.  Perhaps by looking back to where I have been, I will realize how far I have actually come.
So, reader beware!  There are some rather unattractive photographs to follow!

This is my right eye, the first to receive orbital decompression surgery.  These photographs were taken approximately six days after surgery, and just prior to the stitches being removed.  Much of the swelling, and some bruising, had already subsided.
Lovely, no?

This is the left eye, about one week after surgery.  My surgeon is so proud of his tiny stitches!  Maybe we need to teach him the fine art of hiding those knots, though!  If you look closely, the last stitch on the right includes a huge knot.  That thing hung on for dear life, even after all the other stitches were removed or dissolved.
These stitches remained in place for approximately one week after surgery.
For the first 24 hours immediately following each surgery, there were large basting stitches that ran from my eyebrow down to under the eye.  They were removed just before I was discharged from the hospital.
Since these photographs are gruesome enough, I won't even begin to describe some of the other very frightening and ugly things that happened to my eyes, nose and face immediately after surgery and during the first 7-10 days of recovery.

This is my left eye today. 
The scar will eventually fade, and blend into other creases and wrinkles at the corner of my eye.  You may also be able to detect that my upper eyelid remains somewhat swollen.
There is still numbness surrounding both incisions, sides of my face and forehead, and extending back to my ears.

Overall, my surgeon is very pleased with my progress.  He does admit to being a little mystified about the swelling of my left eye.  The current suggestion is to try sleeping with my head more elevated, and not sleeping on that side.  Therein lies a small problem!  I have always been more of a left side sleeper.  However, I do notice a difference that various sleeping positions make.

I had a follow-up appointment with the retina specialist yesterday.  There was some improvement in the weak spots detected last month.  He believes the blobs and flashing lights I continue to see will lessen over time.  Patience seems to be a running theme here.

The biggest problem is a continued presence of double vision.
My left eye is not moving in sync with my right eye, causing an ovelay of images.  Upon waking each morning, I see two of everything.  Sometimes seeing two of certain things is a blessing.  Many times not!  I have to determine which door or wall is real, so that I will not end up with even more bruises and scars.  There have been a few juice glasses and cereal bowls broken when I chose the "wrong" kitchen counter or breakfast table!  A sense of humor and non-attachment to material items is necessary in this healing process.

You may be able to tell from this photograph that my eyes are not looking in the same direction.  My left eye tends to gaze downward and to the right.  I have a lovely view of my nose!
You can also see it is more swollen and puffy, compared to the right.
It takes about two to three hours each morning, and lots of concentration on my part, to finally have more-or-less single vision.  The double vision will sometimes reappear during the day, especially if I am tired or using my eyes a great deal.  It is also more likely to reappear when I attempt long distance viewing.  Therefore, driving and other activities remain difficult or impossible.  I am able to drive on neighborhood streets, but driving on busy multi-lane thoroughfares or expressways is not a good idea.  Sometimes watching television, viewing movies in a theater or walking through large stores is difficult.  I really miss my freedom and independence.

I currently wear my glasses, but may be able to return to contacts once the incisions have fully healed and swelling subsides. 

Through all of this, the important thing for me to remember is that I still have vision!  Everything else is really just small inconveniences and points of vanity.  My surgeon promised that he would not let me go blind, and he has delivered on that promise.

Patience, determination and faith seem to be my best prescription and hope for a return to my previous lifestyle and activities..  Again, I am so grateful for each and every prayer offered on my behalf, for each sign of friendship and kindess extended in my direction. 
Even with wonky eyes, I am truly blessed.


Mona @ la la by mona said...

Now tears have come to my eyes. Bless you for your faith and patience through this scary and trying time in your life. I am so glad to see the progression of your surgery and I think you look as beautiful as ever! Prayers and hugs to you in your continued recovery.

ShirleyC said...

Your scars are really looking good. Take this from one who knows. I'm sure it's hard not to get discouraged. We always have to make ourselves think about what could have been to really feel our blessings. I do hope your vision continues to get better. You may be surprised as those nerve endings start to heal even more.

Brynwood Needleworks said...

Dear Jan:
Thank you so much for baring your soul - and eyes to us. I wish I were there to be able to give you a hug and tell you that we all still pray for your continued healing, and improved vision. Please take the time to let your body heal...and I'll pray for continued patience for you - the hardest part for all of us!

Robin Hart said...

Jan, you do have the right outlook, as it is the fact that you can see that is important. Hugs to you as you are always in my prayers.

Laurie said...

I'm also praying for your healing and have found strength in your faith that has seen you through this.

Just a couple of thoughts that may work for you. For the scars you may want to use the oil of a vitamin e capsule.

I'm having some shoulder muscle / ear ringing issues that I am also trying to sleep on my back for. I found that putting a pillow under my knees and a pillow on the side I want to roll to helps me to say on my back.

Martha said...

And the love and prayers continue. I know it doesn't look the way you want it to, but it really is healing quite nicely. Hang in there. It is hard not to get discouraged. HUGS

Karen said...

Hugs and prayers continue for your ongoing healing. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are such a lovely lady!

Anonymous said...

Hugs, Prayers, and Chocolate....You are a strong one and God will see you through all of this. Much love to you, Jan :)

dlogan said...

Hi Jan,
As I was reading through your post, my eyes were watering. I think this was a good response, because it allowed me to share just a tiny bit of your experience.Your courage is inspiring and I continue to pray for you. Keep your faith strong and your jouranls are beautiful. Hugs, Darby Logan

Lori B. said...

Your attitude is great and I know you must have times that it is hard to get a good attitude.
I admire your fortitude and strength. I continue to lift you up to our great God. He is good, all the time!
Hugs to you sweetie. I hope you get to Sprinkles soon and indulge in something decadent.


Anonymous said...

So glad to hear that things are progressing. Good luck with that "patience" thing! Still praying for you daily!

Laurie said...

Patience is hard - I will be the first to admit that, but I am soooo amazed at your attitude in all of this - most people would not look for the blessings in a not-so-fun situation, but they would tend to focus on the negative. It's very refreshing to read your blog and be uplifted in the midst of all the pain and inconveniences you are dealing with. May God continue to bless you and heal you!

Memaw's memories said...

You have a wonderful perspective on all of what you have gone through. I'm praying that eyes will straighten, get in sync and things will return to normal.

I thought about blind people everywhere last night as a power outage due to a storm caused me to be in total darkness. As I moved around in the house to get ready for bed, I thought to myself how fortunate I am to have good sight.

Mrs Mary Scott said...

Aunt Jan, I pray that your eyes continue to heal and that the dbouel vision is corrected.

Joan said...

Dear Jan,
My "clinical" head says, "fascinating." My heart says, "Oh, dear Jan!"
That scar is minimal -- and certainly will disappear -- I think you had an excellent surgeon. I'm so glad the "blobs" are disappearing, and that your docs are pleased. I do hope that last swelling recedes soon, and that your left eye muscles improve so that your double vision goes away!

Prayers continue!

Kristen said...

You are looking wonderful! You have a great attitude about it. I am so glad that your eyes have had some progress. I am praying for a complete recovery and for your doctor to give you the care your eyes will need in the days ahead.

Julia said...

My gosh,you have been through so much. You do look so much better than at the beginning, but I'm sure your patience is running thin. I know mine would be. I had double vision (lazy eye) when I was a kid. I had to wear an eye patch and do exercises everyday and go an hour away for therapy every week for about 2 years. It is all fine now, though. When I get tired sometimes I can feel my left eye wander a bit. Hopefully, when the swelling goes down and your muscles get back in sync you won't have this problem. You are very strong to have gone through all of this and to have remained so upbeat.

Unknown said...

I think it looks great. But mostly what is really great is your attitude, faith and patience!!
Still praying for you!!

Rettabug said...

Oh Jan...what an ordeal you have been through, Honey! Mega {{HUGS}}
I was AWKeyboard for a bit & didn't get around to visiting my favorite blogs for awhile. I hope you are improving daily in both your vision & the swelling. Seems like they disrupted some of the venous circulation during the surgery so the fluid is accumulating under the skin. It should dissipate with time but just like elevating an injured extremity, keeping it UP, where gravity can help the flow will lessen the degree of swelling.

Be careful in that kitchen!! ;-) Cooking is dangerous, ya' know. LOL

I will start a novena for you & light a prayer candle at my church as well as asking my prayer group to add you to their list.

most sincerely,

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