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.
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.