Tag Archives: surgery

I Have Now Witnessed FOUR Miracles!

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Let me start out by saying that this is simply amazing and I am eternally grateful for God’s blessings in my life.

My mom’s family is relatively small. When we meet for holidays, there are 16 of us now that are official – blood or marriage – you know the people that have no choice and the people that didn’t get scared and run away, ha ha! When I was little, about 10 years old, that number was 7 in total. If you have read my post, “Have you ever seen a miracle” my grandfather in that post is the same that was part of the 7 people. So, that makes this additional story even more unique. From that 7 people, my parents and I were the only ones that lived in the next town over, in fact, the rest of the family lived on the same block as each other, and still do today. When we grew to 8, it was my aunt Theresa joining the family, then came 9, 10, and 11 with their kids Amy, Aaron and Chris. Then my husband and two kids followed. Here are the 11 of us – hey wasn’t that a show?

So, miracle number 1 was my grandfather turning completely around surprising the cardiologist who had given him less than 24 hours to live. (See “Have you Witnessed a Miracle” on my blog for the full details. Let me now tell you about miracle number 2, was my aunt Theresa after undergoing surgery what seems like yesterday because we were so scared, but really it was several years ago. She was in the hospital for quite some time as the doctors were trying everything to make her better. And they were successful. I was suffering from bronchitis that refused to go away so I wasn’t able to visit her so my recollection just isn’t as good as if I had been there so I could use my photographic memory. My memory is bad due to M.S. I guess, so all I know is that they weren’t sure she would make it and that uncertainty lasted way too long, just like my bronchitis. It seems like it was over a month. I had to depend on family to text me. This was in June, so we were really grateful at Thanksgiving time that year that she was there with us.

Number 3 is my grandfather’s son, or my Uncle Rick. It was Tuesday, early December, I had just arrived at work (that is not the miracle, ha ha) and somehow, I missed two phone calls and the two corresponding voice mails. As I noticed it, I looked at who they were from and told my boss, “uh, oh, this can not be good news.” My aunt had called me at 5 something in the morning and then my dad followed a voice mail at 7 something. So, there is only one way to find out – I listened to the voice mails. And I was right, it was not good. My uncle Rick was taken to the hospital via ambulance, he thought he was having a heart attack. Especially concerning because he is also diabetic, which is known for causing circulatory issues. My dad’s voice mail was just to ensure that I had heard about my uncle. So, I immediately called my aunt. Rick had felt the symptoms for an hour before he drove around the block to Steve and Theresa’s house to tell them that he thought he was having a heart attack. They immediately called for the rescue team. He was taken to a local hospital that just recently restricted the cardiologists that could practice there, you have to be a hospitalist specific to that hospital. The patients do not get to choose who they see – not a good move in my opinion, but nonetheless, they made the policy. My favorite cardiologist, Dr. Kola is not a hospitalist, so he was not able to see my uncle which really made me uneasy. I KNEW if Dr. Kola was in charge everything possible would be done, now I had to wonder. Since Theresa said her husband, my Uncle Steve, went to the hospital with him – I texted him, “How is Rick, if they haven’t seen him yet, load him up and take him to the other hospital where Dr. Kola can see him.” And the reply was that, “He is in recovery now, heart cath done and a stent put in.” Truly amazing since this was only 2 hours and 15 minutes since they called the ambulance. So, when Rick came out of recovery he told my uncle that he was feeling better. I went to visit him for a little bit before my next meeting. He was in good spirits. When I greeted him, I simply asked, “So, were you a little bored this morning?” And he chuckled and said, “I just didn’t want to go to work.” I just replied that “You know you can just fake it and call in sick.” Sarcasm and humor, that is how all my family rolls. 🙂 He said he was feeling better, but was aggravated he had to lay flat for 6 hours on his back. Yes indeed, as he should feel better. The doctor told Rick that he was “lucky to be alive”. His main artery to his heart was almost completely blocked to a point that very few survive the cardiac event. Especially given the amount of time that he had symptoms before he sought help. So, this was miracle number three that would join us again at the holiday table. Praise God!

Now, onto miracle number 4. So, my uncle’s heart attack was on Tuesday. A few days later, on Friday my husband and I went to bed at 10:30 p.m. (we are quite the party animals, I know). I awoke at about 12:30 a.m. by my 15 year old son, Brian, talking with his dad. All I heard coming out of my slumber was, “Alyssa” (my daughter), “accident”, “Aaron” and “ICU”. Well, that popped my eyes open faster than the alarm clock going off. I believe my response was, “WHAT?!” So Brian said he had gotten a text message from Alyssa asking if we knew my cousin Aaron had been in an accident and was ICU at the hospital. Uhm, no, we were not! Apparently she had seen something on Facebook. I went to bed early, so I was clueless. I immediately called his sister, Amy – is this true?? I was sincerely hoping for some prank of someone trying to be funny… but it was true. At that point, he knew he had a broken sternum and bleeding in the brain, but not much else. The dreaded answer to ‘do they think he is going to be okay’ was “they don’t know, they said it would be touch and go from here. they may move him to Springfield.” ugh, Springfield is the ultimate center – the one that you know things are really bad if they go there, (in my opinion). I then called my mom to make sure she knew, she was sleeping too and did not know. So, then I decided I would go back to sleep and go visit him in the hospital later that day. I thought about how I had babysat for him from the time he was 6 weeks old to a little over a year. Now he was married with an almost one year old daughter, Selena. He has changed quite a bit since then. All the memories danced in my head as I prayed until I fell asleep. I did visit him that day, the next and just about every other day as I could. It was rough. The first week he was in ICU and was sleeping or barely coherent. Then, the day came where they moved him to a regular room before they transferred him to Springfield for therapy, so I left at lunch that day to visit him before he left town. It was so great to see him looking more like himself, talking, moving around and playing with little Selena. She was full of smiles – it was the first time that she got to see him since before the accident. And it was during this time that I saw the stubbornness of our Grandpa (aka miracle #1). Aaron was having difficulty walking with his right leg so a bed alarm was installed to alert the nurses if he tried to get up. Already that day in the short time he had been there, he had gotten up and changed his clothes. During our conversation, he started to get up. His wife, Jessy, asked what he was doing. He needed to go to the bathroom. Jessy was going to get a nurse, but he was on a mission, so she tried to make sure he didn’t fall instead. She asked if he was supposed to go on his own and he replied, “they didn’t tell me that I can’t”. At this point, he was off of the bed and the alarm sounded… BEEP BEEP!! And I told them, “That would be a NO.” He made it to the bathroom with Jessy’s help just before the nurses got there. Later that day, they must have realized what a renegade they had on their hands and moved him directly next to the nurses’ station. Or maybe they learned who his grandfather was, as he was stubborn in the same way. He felt he could, so he tried! I told Jessy and Aaron that he came by it honest. Our grandfather climbed on the roof to fix shingles within 24 hours of being released from having his leg amputated from below the knee down. (Well, they didn’t specifically tell him he couldn’t, so he did!) Aaron was in that room for a few days, then sent to Springfield Memorial for therapy. Luckily, they deemed him able to come home and have therapy on an out patient basis. He was released on December 23rd. He was home for Christmas! Not that he was bouncing off the walls as he would of when he was a little kid, but he was there. Praise God again. From the look of the car, it is a miracle.

As my husband drove to my Grandma’s house for Christmas Eve dinner, I just thought of how lucky we were. We could have been two seats short of what Thanksgiving dinner was just a few short weeks before. God was good to us and truly blessed us with two more miracles, both in the same week. And so, I thought that this holiday could be called Thanksgiving/Christmas because we certainly had rights to be Thankful.

When you think about who you think will be next to pass through the pearly gates, you rarely ever think about these quick turns of fate that could affect anyone around the table – it doesn’t have to be the oldest person, or the person in the worst health, you just never know. A few years ago, it could have been my aunt after surgery. This year it could have been a heart attack and/or a car accident. Cherish your family and friends while they are here, hold them close and never take for granted the time you have opportunity with them.

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Laser Eye Surgery – To Do It or Not To Do It

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So, I have been wearing glasses since first grade, essentially all of my life except 6 years. I remember vividly walking out of the eye doctor’s office after picking up my first pair of glasses…. I COULD SEE!! So who knows out of those 6 years how long I actually needed glasses. I was near sighted (could not see distance) and additionally had an astigmatism.

Each year meant new glasses as my eyes got worse. And with each year, the glasses got thicker and thicker. I hated wearing them, but never knew how much until I was blessed with soft contact lenses my sophmore year of high school. I had depth perception and when my eyes watered, I could see the water, crystal clear. I know these seem small, but they are huge when you haven’t experienced them before. We had hoped that moving to contacts would slow down the progressive decline of my vision. Who knows if it really did or not, they did get a little worse each year. I loved wearing contacts because that meant that I could wear SUNGLASSES!! Woo hoo!! But also because the glasses did not slide up and down my nose in the heat. Not to mention the fact that they did not fog up going from outside heat to inside air conditioning.

At some point, the soft lenses, although made for astigmatism, became extremely hard to fit where I could get a good script consistently. It was at that point that my eye doc said I needed to move to hard lenses or back to glasses… Have you heard the phrase, “HELL no I won’t GO!!” well that was how I felt definitely about glasses and partially about hard lenses. I had them in my eye for about 1/2 second before I told them to rip them out, and that is why I had soft lenses. But, we all have to pick our battles right? So, I thought well… I can suck it up and try the hard lenses. And so, when they came in the doc put numbing drops in my eyes so I couldn’t feel the discs of hard plastic in my eyes. It kept them in long enough that I could drive home and keep them in for the first few hours I was to wear them. Don’t get me wrong the next day was not sunshine and roses putting them in, but the few hours the previous day was enough to start a callus to form on my eye, which makes them comfortable. So, it was a successful transition. These were fantastic and saved me money. My eyes did continue to get worse, but I could take them to a local place and they would grind them to fit the new prescription in about 10 mins. Pretty cool. And when I got a piece of fuzz under my contact, I could actually flush it out… try doing THAT with a soft lens… it AIN’T gonna happen folks.

And, all good things must come to an end right? You guessed it, as my eyes got worse it became harder and harder to fit even the hard lenses. Going back to glasses was NOT an option. Mainly because I had grown accustomed to peripheral vision and when I would drop my glasses, I couldn’t see them to find them. My husband had to listen for things dropping and come aid me in finding them because he knew I could not see them. I can’t tell you how many times I dropped my contacts, especially with the soft lenses that were clear that he had to hunt for. I asked my eye doctor about lasik eye surgery. He thought I would be a candidate even though my vision thoroughly stunk. My vision was -12 diopters of near sightedness with an additional -5 diopters in astigmatism. So, the below examples are not nearly as bad as my eyes were and you have to mix them together to get the full effect of my vision.

I could be a candidate! Now, can I afford it? Insurance does not cover it. At this point, I was willing to go for it. I budgeted it in my flexible spending account after I confirmed that I was a candidate with the surgeon.

Now, my first visit with the eye surgeon was quite an ordeal. They dilated my eyes… no problem right? Well, except for it was a super duty dilation – it took 5 days for the dilation to be gone. I sat in the dark at work with my computer on low, low brightness. I was a better candidate for PRK as opposed to lasik with the Multiple Sclerosis and the Thygessens Keropathy I have. 98% of people with Thygessens completely remove the issue with PRK. PRK doesn’t put a flap on your cornea… it completely removes it, which means a longer recovery period.

Oh, and I had to stop wearing my contacts and start wearing my glasses. I had to get rid of the callus on my cornea as well as let my eyes return to their natural shape. The hard lenses actually change the shape of your eye to help your vision become better. This started on November 11… and continued and continued for what seemed like forever. I missed my peripheral vision, my sunglasses, the ability for my nose to sweat and not lose my glasses. But, beauty is pain, right? At that point, let me tell you, I just wanted to SEE comfortably. It was not a beauty issue for me. Finally after several trips for measurements of my eyes, it was GO time. FINALLY!! And then the forms… the SCARY liability forms. I was so overwhelmed that I started crying. I am not a crier. I was scared out of my wits! I had lost vision in one eye due to optic neuritis and it was awful, I did not want to end up that way permanently in one or both eyes. But, after I calmed down, I realized they HAVE to put this language in there for their liability in case something happens. I mean when I had my appendectomy, the possibility of death was brought up. I came out of that one okay, so move forward and schedule the date! March 26th, 2 weeks away. Yes, I had worn my glasses for over 4 months… it was pure torture. I so looked forward to being done with them.

Surgery day came and when I arrived at the office, they gave me a Valium and I had a seat. After a few minutes, they called my name, my husband led me back there. There… to the LASER. I was laid down on the table and the doctor came in. I started to ask him a question, really to chicken out, and before I could take in a breath, he had the spreader in my eye and placing the numbing drops. After about 3 seconds, he took this thing – (I couldn’t see it remember?) that my husband said looked like an electric toothbrush and used it to scrub the cornea off of my eye. Shortly thereafter, he told me to look straight ahead at the green light… which I could just barely see. Within a blink of an eye – lol, I couldn’t blink, my eye was held open! The laser was running and I was thoroughly concentrating on holding my eye still as still could be. And then onto the next eye, same thing. They put some more drops in my eyes and I got to take a breather. When I sat up, I could see the clock on the wall!! I couldn’t even tell there was a clock on the wall before the surgery! It was simply amazing, I couldn’t believe it. My vision was not perfect, but with PRK, it is not instantaneous since your cornea is missing… It is a healing period of at least 6 months. Even if I had to go back to corrective vision, my options were open, I could go back to soft contacts if I needed to.

So, it was time to go home. WOW the sun was SO bright!! I put on my bug eye goggles and laid back to rest. When I got home, I went directly to bed, with my goggles. These things were super sexy and if robbed in the middle of the night, the intruder would for sure think you were some super hero fly human and take off running. It was time for putting in drops… eye drops, my new BFF. I looked at the clock from the bed…across the room. I could see it!! Awesomeness. In fact, I dropped my eye drops that ere in a clear tube on the floor and before my husband could get it, I bent over and picked it up off the floor. He was shocked that happened. And now, if we were robbed in the middle of the night, I could see the person without slapping around above my head for my glasses.

This was not gum drops and rainbows quick recovery. It was a process. My eyes fluctuated, as is normal with PRK in general, not to mention my Thygessen’s. (Yes, remember that 98%? Ya, that is not me, I am the 2%. Why can’t I have that luck at good things that happen? lol). But I just used cheater glasses when needed. I had a +2 and a +1 on hand. Now, I can see 20/20 on a good day, 20/25 on a bad day (usually when I am tired). I have saved money on contacts and contact solutions, my cost of eye drops has reduced since after the surgery. I only occasionally use eye drops, less than when I wore contacts. Most importantly I save time getting ready for the day and for bed. No contacts to put in/take out. No eyelash getting in my contact to irritate my eye while I am driving on the interstate. My eyesight is not perfect all the time, but it is good – I can go without corrective eye wear while driving. This was definitely the best decision I have made to inflict pain on myself. I would do it again if I needed to. If you are contemplating Lasix or PRK, go see a surgeon to see if you are a candidate. Ask questions, lots of them. Get referrals on the surgeon. Find out if your insurance covers it. Then make an appointment – imagine – seeing in the middle of the night without glasses, seeing in the shower without having to put contacts in, it is unbelievably wonderful. It is freedom from glasses/contacts.