Peekers, peepers, baby blues, oculars, eyeballs.....whatever you call them, I think we'll all agree that they're important. Really important. Extremely, ostensibly, indubitably important. You know the old saying, "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone"? Well, in my next story, I'm sorry to say that you'll see how it's completely applicable.
I've been absent from my blog. I've been absent due to something I mentioned in the first sentence of my last post. "I had Lasik surgery." Indeed, I had Lasik surgery that did not only fall short of eyesight perfection, but left me with horrific and terrifying side effects. Some have subsided, and others remain. The shortened version is that it's taken me this long (2.5 months) to be able to discuss what this surgery did to me.
I thought I waited long enough to undergo Lasik. I had very poor eyesight (like -650 with extreme astigmatism in both eyes), but technology was finally where it needed to be to perfect my vision. I went to an excellent surgeon (a premier corneal specialist at that) and this area's most reputable facility, which has been doing Lasik longer than any other group in town. Without even asking opinions, schedulers and nurses volunteered that I was in the hands of a superb doctor. And, finally, I had never, EVER heard anyone who had previously had the surgery say anything but awesome details about their perfected sight. Everyone absolutely raved about the freedom it gave them.
Given all of that, I was ready. Really ready and very excited. I'd actually read through all of the brochures, watched the video, approached the doctor with a lot of questions, and wholeheartedly weighed possible dangers of the surgery against every positive outcome I had ever heard. One of the bullet points in the pamphlets highlighted the fact that people with chronic illnesses should not undergo Lasik. I was prepared to abandon surgery for this very reason considering my fibromyalgia. But I point blank asked the doctor about this and he assured me that such a warning was for people with Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and the like.
Not only would I like to shout from the roof top that no one should ever have Lasik, but I feel I absolutely need to warn anyone with fibromyalgia or any sort of inflammatory, chronic, sensory, immune compromised or impaired immune system disease to not even consider the surgery. Although the doctor did not get my eyesight to 20/20 (I'm left with 20/35 and 20/50), I don't believe my side effects have anything to do with his inability. (However, I certainly didn't appreciate his cold demeanor once he knew how upsetting the difficulties were to me. He didn't exactly emit a gracious or comforting bedside manor then.) It seems to me that it was my body, specifically because of the fibro, which was unable to properly recover.
Side effects that have subsided in time included both dull and piercing pain, feelings of needles in my eye and behind my eye, extreme gritty feeling and terrible dryness. However, besides having to still wear glasses, the lingering damage to my eyes comes in the form of not only halos with light, but strings of light that attach to one another (at night). It's a very psychedelic, disorienting phenomenon. Night driving has been absolutely horrifying on a couple of occasions. Had I needed to go further than 2.5 miles, I don't think I could have proceeded.
Unfortunately, I immediately lost all of my close up vision (I was very near sighted) to about 12". That means so long to seeing my face real well. Seriously. You should see me trying to pluck my eyebrows. It's ridiculous. (Upside: inability to properly view the onset of aging??) This one makes me mad. I asked both a nurse and the doctor about automatically losing close up vision and they both said it didn't happen. The only thing they pointed out was that Lasik will not slow the hardening of one's cornea with age. Therefore, after the age of 40, most people would still need reading glasses. I, however, experienced what might not have genetically (based on my mom's need for "readers") happened for another 10 years or so in a matter of minutes.
Finally, I'm going to tell you about my light sensitivity. To me this was the most terrifying part. The first month I could literally not fully open my eyes. The light from my computer was too much even with it at the lowest level. Upon awakening each morning, I would have to wear sunglasses just to come into my kitchen, with all the blinds still closed. My husband was traveling so I had to get the girls to/from school. At first I had no glasses I could properly see out of (because the doctor actually thought driving was safe with fuzzy eyesight!), and I had to wear 2 pair of sunglasses in addition a hood around my face to shield any residual light. I kept both car visors down, and yet I could barely look out of slits in my eyes. I'd have to blink nonstop and squint like my life depended on it (I'll need Botox between my eyebrows in about 3 months due to that). ALL THE WHILE, DRIVING MY CHILDREN!!! I was furious and scared out of my mind that this scenario was one I was going to have to live with forever.
Currently, I have chosen to forego enhancement surgery. I think it would be foolish of me to attempt to successfully get through without additional and/or more severe long term damages. Halos and night vision difficulties still remain, but I hope that even in a year they will diminish some. I am still more sensitive to light, but nothing like it was. For that, I am so grateful. I'm hoping like everything that, in time, my body will be able to further heal.
So, for today, RIGHT now even, take a moment to be thankful of all your working body parts. Because they are more important than anything else in life, except for your kids and their working body parts.
I hadn't wanted to start 2011 out with a post like this, but I felt it was necessary considering my long absence. More upbeat posts to come. I promise!
Just a few of the items I poured into my eyes in the last couple months, including steroids. The pink "readers" looked cool, but they were useless to me.....unless I put them over my regular glasses. How lovely that was.