Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Art of Blinking - Surgery, Gold Bars, Eyelids and Collagen

Jodi had an appointment with Dr. Kim, an optomologist at Moran Eye Clinic, which is right by the hospital where Jodi stayed for 34 days. As you know, one of the effects of the original tumor removal surgery was that Jodi has been unable to blink her right eye. The muscle pulling it up works great. The muscle that pulls it back down doesn't. So she has been putting ointment in her eye to keep it moist. The eye patch has also been used to slow the loss of moisture. At various times we've tried taping it shut in different ways to protect the eye. None of those methods have worked very well.

Dr. Kim said during the examination today that her cornea is damaged. She's been given some medication that should help heal the damage. That alone won't be enough, however to protect it long term. Her eye needs greater protection.

Sherri has experimented with about a dozen types of eye patches to better protect Jodi's eye. It's a tougher than expected process. It's been interesting that no one in all of this has provided an effective eye patch that really works. Jodi wants to design one that does all of the things necessary for anyone suffering from a similar condition. Then she plans to sell them to hospitals and eye clinics to relieve others of the problems she's encountered. Maybe this can help pay for her medical bills.

Anyway, next Wednesday she'll be going back to the eye clinic for surgery. This will be surgery number four. She will have a 1.4 gram gold bar (the body tends not to reject gold and it is heavy so that's why it is used) inserted into her upper eyelid, so it will close. She should be able to blink, because the top muscle should be strong enough to pull the eyelid back up. She will also have her lower lid turned inside out, cut open, and have collagen inserted. This is because even with the gold bar the top lid won't reach all the way to the bottom of the eye. Adding the collagen will make the lower lid large enough that when the upper lid closes the two will meet and therefore create a total blink that covers her eye completely. This is necessary because the lower lid has lost its muscle control and has sagged. Assuming the muscle comes back later the collagen will be absorbed into the body and shouldn't leave it looking unnatural.

Sounds like fun, don't you think? Well, compared to what Jodi's already been though this doesn't seem all that bad, especially if it gives her something resembling a "normal" blink.

Otherwise, Jodi is improving...yes, still with a ways to go, but she is resting, eating, moving around carefully and in measured ways, so she can gradually regain all of what she's lost.

She feels upbeat most of the time and it is such a blessing to be home with her family again. It is a reality, however, that she is weak and gets exhausted easily, while needing frequent naps. This is difficult in part because when she got home she wanted to get back to normal as quickly as she could. She's just not able to do much at all yet on her own. It's become apparent that she has to be careful not to overdo it...that means not even sitting up too much, not walking too much, not staying awake too much, not doing other things that tax the body and deplete her energy level.

With all of this, Jodi and all of us continue to appreciate the blessings you bring into her and our lives through your continued expressions of love and caring.

Jodi has been asked by many if we are going to keep the blog going with regular updates on her progress. The answer is "Yes!". We'll be sharing this responsibility and while posts won't always be as frequent as they have been in the past, we will continue to share Jodi's journey, including the natural ups and downs and surprises she faces along the way.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the update! I shall have to stop checking every hour or so if these are going to be spaced a bit! I am wonderfully addicted to knowing how you are all doing! Prayers will never cease in your behalf.

Love to all of you!


Leslie M.

britt said...

WOw the eye situation sounds like qutie the process, but hopefully all of it will lead to normal function again, right?! I sure hope so. Still thinking of you constantly, but glad you are now in the comfort of your own home to continue the healing process!! take it easy and let everyone pamper and wait on YOU. How often in life are you going to be able to enjoy it?!

wjmom said...

May God continue to bless you. It is a blessing to watch this miracle for a beautiful daughter of God.

Anonymous said...

You know, it is with what we are challenged most that the best inventions are created!!! And Jodi, may you create the perfect patch that everyone in your situation shall be blessed to have!!! Although I am only across the street, I have not wanted to interupt your much needed rest! Therefore, I have kept my distance, but please know that you continue to be in my prayers and thot's DAILY!!! Thank you "Dad" for keeping us informed as to Jodi's progress. Again, much love to you all! Cindy Taylor

Anonymous said...

She will stand against the storm. She will diligently hold her ground.
She will absorb every drop of beating rain and never cower to the wind.
Eyes unwavering with each lightning burst and the following noise.
She is vunerable to no storm, because she is not alone.

Tina said...

Welcome home sweetie! And best of luck with the eye surgery. Love to you all.
Tina Allred

Carol Liptrot said...

Hi Jodi. I have been thinking about you a lot and I know you are so much more comfortable at home. Another surgery is never fun, but after what you have already gone through, this should be a whole lot easier and the benefits will be great. I will put your name in the temple when I go tonight, and prayers will continue in your behalf. I appreciate being able to keep updated on your progress, thank you to you and your family for that. I know your body needs a lot of rest to recover from so much. Always thinking about you.
Love, Carol

Anonymous said...

Hi Jodi,
I'm so glad that you are home, and I pray that each day will find you stronger and stronger. Another surgery - no fun, but what a trooper you are! I appreciate that the blog will continue. Many of us are far away, but have grown to love you and your family, so we will certainly keep up with your progress. You will all continue to be in our prayers.

With Love,
The Fishes

Anonymous said...

Jodi - I am happy to hear that you are taking it easy and letting your body regain all the strength it needs. I think about you daily. Love you, Sue Davis

Pam said...

Von, thanks for the ongoing updates. It's a good idea to do them less frequently. You need to rest and so does Tolan. Your posts were valiant and drew us in from everywhere! What a adventure you gave a peek into. Gentle re-entry, Jodi.

Cami said...

Wow, Jodi, you are going to be full of precious metals...

Anonymous said...

Dear Jodi, Tolan, kids, and parents of Jodi: I would like to see you set up a "tribute fund" that all of us could contribute to, to help off-set Jodi's medical bills. What do you think? I would much rather contribute to such a fund than send flowers that just die. Anyone on board with me????? I would be willing to help in such an endeavor any way that I can.............Cindy Taylor

Sanya said...

Hi Jodi,
Doesn't it feel better to be home at last? You think you can just spring back to normal routine!!! I know you want to...but it's going to take time. Don't be too hard on yourself, take it slow. Time will help you gain back your strength. After 3 surgeries within 34 has taken toll on you. Now you have to go in for the eye surgery. Hope everything goes a nplan. It sounds very hopeful. Talked to your mom and dad today. I am so glad to see them back in Orem. They both are still worry about you. They looked a little relaxed today. Thanks to Tolan's mom and his family for giving them a break.We will continue to pray for your speedy recovery.
Always thinking of you and your family.
Love, Saras&Sanya and family.

Nichole Giles said...

Quote of the day:
“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” ~Og Mandino

Glad to hear you're starting to recover, even if it's slow going. Give yourself a break--your body is busy trying to heal itself. That's a pretty big job.

Anonymous said...

We are all cheering for you here at the PCC. Welcome home. Speedy recovery. Success at the eye institute. Our prayers continue. Love Elder and Sister Craig

Flints Facts said...

Jodi, so glad you are now able to enjoy the comforts of your own home and have you family close. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers daily...good luck on the next surgery...may your recovery be quick and smooth.

Lots of hugs and love,

Anonymous said...

You continue to amaze me. Your positive attitude, always looking on the bright side. What an example you are to all of us. I am so happy that you are at last home to your own bed. There is nothing like our own home and surroundings. Jerry and I are here for anything you might need. We love you and your family. You're the BEST!
Love Jerry and Carol DeGroot

Anonymous said...

I agree with Cindy Taylor. I would like to do something more to help the family. It seems like I saw this suggestion elsewhere, too, so how do we do it?? I know her sister can be reached at Perhaps this is the best way to start?? Good suggestion, Cindy. Let's help!

AJ's Mom