Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rochester Report

Artwork honoring nursing professionals at Mayo Clinic, Rochester

Our recent trip to Rochester was timed perfectly!
A few days with highs above freezing had melted some of the snow.  Temperatures during our stay were not  nearly as numbing as during our last visit.
The day we left, a winter storm warning was issued.  The following day set records for snow accumulation in a 24-hour period.
By that time, we were well on our way South toward family and friends!

Once again, I was touched as I walked the halls of the clinic.  Being the Friday before a holiday weekend, the whole complex seemed a little more quiet -- except for the carillon bells in the Plummer Building tower. We arrived in downtown Rochester just in time to catch the end of Friday's regularly scheduled concert.

Although I arrived at Mayo 7 West early, I was quickly ushered back to the treatment rooms.  One of the medical students from my previous visit is still on rotation within the Ophthamology Department.  I enjoyed hearing of his current studies and plans.  It is encouraging to know the future will provide physicians to treat conditions such as mine.

My surgeon is pleased with my progress.
Most likely, I will always have some double vision when looking certain directions, or when shifting my gaze too quickly..

I need to channel some of this wise one's traits,
and remember to turn my head, more than quickly moving my eyes.
Unfortunately, my neck does not operate quite the same!

The water soluable sutures in my eyes have finally disappeared after two months.
Permanent sutures remain hidden beneath my lower eyelids.  They will add stability to the optic muscles.
During this visit, those sutures were adjusted and trimmed.

One of the biggest problems I now experience is dry eyes.
Thyroid disease alters the composition of natural tears.  They become less viscous, and do not lubricate the eys as well.  Artifical tears have become my best friend and constant companion.
In an attempt to help my eyes retain more moisture, plugs were inserted into my tear ducts.  I can discern a slight improvement in the moisture of my eyes, but still need to supplement with eye drops.
Should the problem continue, and cause additional damage to the corneas, I may need to consider eyelid retraction surgery.  We will revisit that possibility when I return to the Mayo next November.

My depth perception is improving, and could continue to improve over the next few months.
Dark blobs and floaters will most likely remain, but I am slowly learning to ignore them most of the time.
My vision acuity and peripheral vision have decreased significantly.

My life has changed.
Many things are no longer a part of it.

A few weeks ago, I forced myself to clean out my bathroom cabinet and drawers.
The contacts and contact solutions were pitched, along with the eyelash curler and other eye makeup.
Due to last summer's orbital decompression surgeries, I can no longer use an eyelash curler.  My eyes are now more deeply set, and no curler "fits".  It was a strange, and somewhat sad, realization.  We take so many of our daily routines for granted.  I must now treat my eyes more gently.  There can still be makeup, but just in different forms and methods.
I figure the amount of money I now save on cosmetics can be spent on favorite flavor milkshakes or cute new glasses.

Thank goodness for today's fashionable eyeglasses.  I can hardly wait for my new cool specs to arrive in a few weeks! 

I will not miss what I saw with wonky eyes:  the mishmash of shapes and objects, the inability to walk a straight line or drive a car.
I pray I never forget how I saw with wonky eyes.
I viewed life very differently during that time, and it was a great blessing.
I have always considered myself a compassionate person.  I am trying to be even moreso now.

I have always believed that we must suffer loss in order to appreciate abundance.
We must experience pain to recognize the gift of good health.
We must overcome sadness to feel joy.
We never fully understand faith until it is the only thing to which we cling.

The last two years held all those feelings, and so much more.
For one year, I dealt with a thyroid gone crazy, heart palpitations, decreased liver function, loss of my voice and difficulty in swallowing.
Just when I thought I had endured it all, my vision was threatened and my eyes crossed.
Now, I stand on the brink of renewed health and restored vision.
I never want to forget.   Yet I do not want to keep longing back.

While waiting for doctor appointments, lying in hospital beds or recovering at home, this song has been played nonstop on my iPod.
It is a new day.
For the first time, in a long time, I know I will be OK.
Even if wonky eyes return, I will be OK.

My prayer has always been to accept my path and any limitations with grace.  God has granted so much more, and now I pray to remain forever grace-filled and grateful.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for every prayer, message of hope, and word of encouragement.


Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing about your visit. You continue to be in my prayers.

Kathy B. said...

You have been and will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Glad you had a good visit to Rochester. You seem to handle whatever life throws at you with such grace and dignity--what an inspiration! Here's hoping and praying for continued healing and success in all you do! God bless you!

Julia said...

It is so refreshing to read your posts and realize how positive you've been through all of these trials.

Linwood & Margaret said...

I have checked your blog a couple of times each day waiting to read about your checkup. Todays news was worth the wait. I am so happy for you and Tom that things are progressing well. You have been in my prayers and will continue to be. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Eileen said...

I am so happy to hear good news for you!!! May things continue to improve as the healing continues!

Claudia said...

Good news, Jan. You are such a strong, positive person. Yes, I know you most likely had your moments of despair, but truly, you are an inspiration to me.


Unknown said...

What an inspiration you are to me!! I pray that your eyes will continue to improve. thank you for sharing your sweet spirit and your faith!

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

Thanking the lord for your progress and safe trip there and back. The lord sure did answer prayer in guiding the dr's hands.

Just think on the money you will save from buying contact lens care and makeup. Land sakes, I just had to buy some and the prices have gone through the roof. And with all the stylish glasses out now, you will be walking in style.

I have thyroid disease, the dry eyes and the swallowing I know something about. But trudging onward and upward.

Praying your trip in November, surgery will not be needed.

God's blessing to you.

Brynwood Needleworks said...

Dear Jan:
Thank you so much for the update about your eyes. You're teaching me so much right now. I'll never again complain about a pair of glasses that are slightly out of Rx, or when my eyes blur because I'm a little tired.

I had my thyroid removed when I was 17 and take a synthroid pill every day. I quit complaining about the meds years ago, but now I'll say thanks that I never had to suffer through the debilitating maladies that have plagued you.

You'll be forever in my thoughts and prayers, my friend. I'm grateful that the doctors were able to affect a measure of improvement for you, and hope that you are able to improve as time goes by.

Hugs from FL,

michie' said...

Thank you for the update. You are always in my prayers!

Cynthia Gilbreth said...


I'm so glad you are progressing so well. All the prayers must be helping! I just cannot imagine what you are going through, and am amazed at your patience and strength through these ordeals. The song is so appropriate. I will continue to pray that you will recover as much of your sight as possible. Keep up the positive attitude, and God Bless!

Martha said...

Hugs!! I am among many who are astounded and amazed at the recovery you have made. And so thankful as well. You have been a testament of grace and fortitude this past couple of years. You rock!

Eloise said...

Jan, I am so glad to hear that you are experiencing some improvement in your vision. I hope and pray that things continue to trend in a positive direction. I am amazed at the beautiful smocked items you are able to produce still!


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