Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Setbacks and Moving Forward.

When you have corneal transplants, great vision is a day to day process.  A multitude of issues can arise and the word rejection constantly looms overhead.  I have had an infection, in my right eye, since March and even with the strongest of prescriptions, it is not budging.  A week ago, at a regularly scheduled appointment, my doctor noticed some blood vessels growing into the transplant in the right eye, the one with the infection.  She stressed to me the importance of removing the blood vessels as they cause high risk for rejection of the entire transplant.  She said I needed another surgery.  During surgery she would scrape the entire top layer of the cornea, to remove the infection, and eliminate each of the blood vessels with an injection of a drug called Avastin.   I left that appointment feeling disappointed and relieved.  Disappointed at the fact that I was in this situation and relieved because the vision in my right eye has been awful, and I knew this surgery was the best option in the long run.  I planned to have that surgery the first week in September. 

Last Wednesday night my right eye started bothering me, it felt like something was in it, it hurt and was painful when I put in my nightly drops before bed.  The next morning my eye was not any better, so I made the call to NW Eye Surgeons and scheduled an emergency appointment with my doctor.  I was glad they were able to squeeze me in that afternoon, since we had a camping trip planned for the weekend.  After the usual wait in the lobby and the routine pre-checkup with the technician, Dr. Rostov came in and she knew what was wrong as soon as she looked at my eye, three loose stitches.  The last time I had loose stitches I thought the pain was an eyelash, that would eventually work it's way out, that was a big mistake.  The loose stitches eroded a channel in my cornea and took quite awhile to heal.   This channel was painful and resulted in poor vision until it healed.  That was a tough lesson to learn but with any cornea transplant if you have pain, redness, or a change in vision, you have to go in to see your doctor.

As she prepared me for removing the loose stitches, Dr. Rostov flooded my eye with numbing drops and told me to sit very still, then she took a very sharp needle and like a seamstress ripping out the seam of a hem, she cut the final three stitches in my right eye, and then pulled them out with teeny tiny tweezers.  She then prescribed two new drops to keep out any additional infections and sent me on my way. 

On Monday I went in for a quick check up to ensure the area where she removed the stitches last week, looked healthy and free from infection. 

I was thrilled as she declared that the eye looked great.  She said the blood vessels as well as the other infection finally seemed to look better and on the mend.  This infection has not budged since March, so this is amazing news.  Dr. Rostov was so pleased that she has postponed my surgery and wants to see me in two weeks.  We are hopeful that my eye is on the mend and surgery will not be needed at all.  I am not sure what helped, it could be the removal of the last stitches, the new drug Durezol, the fact that I was flooding my eye all weekend with preservative free artificial tears, or the mountain air from camping.   Whatever the reason for the improvement I am thrilled and I am keeping my fingers crossed that we are moving forward.

I hope whatever setbacks you may be dealing with this week are on the mend.
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