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.