Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Eye Updates and Inspiration

(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 Thanks and love to all.


annie said...

Jodi, You look so good! Thank you for sharing the pic of you and your friend. Both of your stories are an inspiration to me. Keep being happy and determined. Annie

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing Jodi Carlson with us! Here's to wonderful, inspirational Jodi(s). Life truly is about living, learning and embracing each moment. Current station is allowing you to embrace, enjoy and be blessed by fellow travelers here on earth. Mortal vision may be clouded for a time; however, you see and feel much more than than many.

Love and prayers for YOU!
Leslie M.

britt said...

Both of you Jodi's are soo inspiring to me.
thanks for the visit today. It brightened my bday for sure!!

wjmom said...

The title of my post/comment today is "Making Me Laugh/Making Me Cry."


Anonymous said...

Dear Jodi - It's been a while since I've commented, but just can't wait another minute. You amaze me - always have and always will. Always looking at the positives in life, even through the challenges and giving credit where credit is due (sometimes putting less emphasis on your part in the whole thing). Such strong inspiration. I love you and I'm glad you are doing better. This experience has been a journey for sure! I'm glad you two Jodi's can strengthen each other through your trials too. You are truly blessed and everyone who has the opportunity to know you and go through this with you. I'll see you soon. Love, Noellee

Anonymous said...

Hey Girlfriend! Was just checking your blog....what a great and true forever friend you will have in Jodi Carlson!!! You both look absolutely beautiful!!!

Jodi, thank you for sharing your incredible journey with me during our visit of yesterday! I have not been able to stop thinking about all that you have been through, and I must tell you that your Mother is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met!!! That said.....I just want you to know, as I have told you before, what a true inspiration you have been to me! There is much that I would like to share with you someday.....I feel like you are "God sent" to me.....I am only sorry that it took your amazing challenge to bring us together as it has! are to be commended!!! And you are so beautiful...inside and out!!! (I am so anxious to indulge myself in your homemade rasberry jam!!!....thank you!)

Jodi....everytime I write to you on your blog....I write thru you are just such an inspiration to me!!! Your family!!! WOW!!!!

Thank you for having the strength to fight!!! Thank you for never giving up!!! Thank you for sharing your triumphs (and setbacks) with me!!! Thank you for being you, Girlfriend!!!!

May we continue to become closer as neighbors, but may we become closer as friends....I love you Girl!!!! Continue to be strong!!! You are an inspiration to us all!!! Love you! Cindy Taylor

Anonymous said...

May the sun bring you new energy,
may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being. May you walk gently through the world and know what an inspiration to many you have been!!!!
Our love and prayers always,
Saras and Sanya

Pam said...

I loved this post, Jodi. What a tiny but sweet blessing that you and friend are named Jodi. For some reason, that delighted me.

To have someone who actually knows what you have gone through, well, it's like being lost in Botswana and finally finding someone who speaks English. A great relief and a rare gift.

Karen said...

Your posts always give me perspective. I am reminded that we should count our blessings and appreciate all the Lord has given us, even in our trials and setbacks. You and your friend are full of strength and courage. I love seeing two beautiful friends sitting side by side. Thinking of you! Liu