(Warning, long post ahead:) Tuesday morning I had an eye appointment in Salt Lake. My good friend, Debbie Rhoads, was kind enough to drive me there. The long drives to appointments has turned out to be one of the blessings in this experience, as I have had much time to visit with people I love. :) The appointment itself was fast (amazing for doctors' office visits!) and Tolan (who met us there) and I were able to spend a good amount of time with the doctor. He looked at my eye, now 2 weeks after surgery, and gave us some good news and bad news.
* Good News: My cornea has healed nearly 90% from its pre-surgery condition. My vision has also improved (tremendously) in my right eye because my eye is no longer as dried out and irritated, and therefore better able to focus.
* Bad News: My lower eyelid is inverted, or turned inside out. The pink part (usually inside the eye) is sticking out because of the collagen implant that was placed there to build up the lower lid. The collagen was an actual implant and he had to choose the size of the implant for my condition; he went with a 7mm implant, which is not settling into place as nicely as it should. In hindsight, he would have gone with a 5mm, but there is no way to tell ahead of time.
So, what does all this mean? Well, my eye really doesn't work for me yet. Because of the exposed section, the eye is protecting itself by constantly producing lubrication to cover the "inside out" part of the lid. This means that my eye is nearly always filled with "goop" (think about a clogged tear duct in babies) and is sealed shut every day when I wake up. I can't see out of it well because the lubrication makes my vision blurry. This makes my depth perception and overall vision off, making it nearly impossible to drive and harder to walk around in areas where I don't know the "lay of the land". I also don't have good peripheral vision, and have been known to run into my little ones, not even realizing they were standing next to me. Oops. :) So, the difficult part is that we have to "be patient" (says the doctor) and wait it out, perhaps as long as 6 more weeks to see if the implant drops into place.
I've decided the being patient part and waiting is one of the many lessons I have to learn from this experience. It is hard for me to wait and it is very hard to think about several more weeks without use of my eye (and therefore no driving). Another little setback that can be discouraging at times, but still, a small thing in the scheme of things.
On to a happier note, over the weekend I had the chance to spend time with my good friend, Jodi Carlson, whom I wrote about in a couple of earlier posts, including a tribute to her before my surgery. We used to work together and became good friends back then. Today, we are the "Jodis" whose lives are totally changed, yet we have many similarities. Jodi C. had a stroke and I have my tumor, but we both now have facial paralysis on our right sides, we've both had the gold implant eyelid surgery, we both have crooked smiles, and we both have bright outlooks for the future.
Her husband, Robert, said we should take a picture of us, while we still have similar features, so we could remember this time when we look alike. (As each of us improves with the paralysis, our faces change as our muscles move our mouths, eyes, etc. back to their proper places.) My face had already changed much from it's original post-surgery state, suggesting that some of the paralysis was from the swelling in the brain, not nerve damage. Jodi C.'s face has also changed a great deal, but now more than 18 months after her stroke, improvements come a little slower than they used to.
So, before we began our wonderful visit, we took this picture. Jodi is still an inspiration to me and one of the few people who can really understand how I feel and what I have gone through. There are some things people just can't really "get" unless they have experienced it themselves. So, here's to my hero, and inspiration, Jodi Carlson, who keeps going, day after day, setback after setback, with a little progress here and there, and keeps fighting the good fight. Love you, Jodi, you are amazing!
Also, thanks to my wonderful neighbor, Cindy, whose visit yesterday brightened my day. Her gift to me is one that I will never forget. Thank you, Cindy, for sharing something so wonderful and personal with me. You are yet another blessing in my life! :)
If you made it through this whole post...wow. Thanks and love to all.