Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Eyeball Update

For anyone that needs to read the prequel, go here

The cliff notes version - January 2007 I had a week of radiation on my eye to fight off a small tumor in the iris of my right eye. (And as my reward I brought Mitsa into my life, my 57" beauty of a TV)

Anyways, Tuesday I had my regular 6 month check-up, with parents in tow for support, as always. I was kinda nervous because after getting poked in the eye on the Sunday before by my favorite six-month old my eye had been kinda blurry since.

I'll go ahead and give the full play by play of these miserable appointments I have to go through every six months...

We got there at about 9:15. Emory has one of the worst parking garages I've ever tried to park in. The spots are way too small and everyone ignores the "compact cars only" signs. This makes for quite the lengthy drive up to the top level where I almost always wind up parking. I think it took over 15 minutes just to park.

So we get into the office, sign in, and they actually called me back pretty quickly. A good sign, usually they're about 30 minutes to an hour or three behind.

They give me this device to cover my good eye and to read the eye chart on the wall. Wow. I'm blind, I could barely make out the biggest row of letters, usually I can see those just fine, something is definitely wrong. Then the pull out this thing that also covers my bad eye, but it's got tiny little holes to see out of. I could actually see pretty decently. Apparently with that thing, I had 20-25?I think? vision. Until recently, I'd kept my 20-20. Not cool.

The technician then puts numbing drops in my eyes and I lean my head into this contraption so that she can look at my eye and check the pressure. She says everything looks fine, pressure is good, she doesn't even see a scratch from where Riley got me. So, ummmm, why am I going blind? Who knows!

From there, I go back to another waiting room before they take actual PHOTO's of my eye. They got me in there pretty quickly. This is a contraption where I put my head into this thing and the photographer holds my eyelids wide open and takes a picture (complete with a bright flash) of my eye from just about an inch away. Fun! This process is repeated probably about 25 times. The last 5-7 pictures includes the putting some kind of lens on my actual eye, with some weird gooey stuff between my eye and the lens. At least with this thing on its easier to keep my eye open since I CAN'T close it! Not fun at all. Luckily my eye gets to shower in saline when this part is done. They do all this so that my doc can compare each picture from 6 months ago, and 6 months before then and so on - to make sure the radiated tumor is lifeless. It'll likely never go away, but hopefully it's all just dead tissue now.

Head back into the waiting room, next up is an ultrasound. But first, why not just wait here for...I don't know, an HOUR. This is the worst part of these appointments, the waiting. And of course, to us, it looks like the doctors are just sitting around twiddling their thumbs. So anyways, I finally go in for the ultrasound. I can't say I'm too familiar with the OTHER kind of ultrasound that most people are probably familiar with. Actually, maybe I am, I had one for my liver once, it was weird. But imagine having one on your eyeball! It's actually not too bad, the pour a bunch of (what I think is) saline in your eye followed by this glass contraption thing. From there, my job should be simple, just stare at the ceiling where they've got this picture of a small dog you're supposed to stare at. The only problem...it wasn't in the right place. Every time I looked at this dog, she told me to look slightly to the right. It's hard to stare at something for a reasonably long period of time without there being anything to actually stare at. Move the dog! Oh well, I survived. The ultrasound somehow completely measures the tumor, not only length and width, but how deep it is. I'll probably never understand how that works, but I guess I'm glad it does.

Finally up next is the meeting with my actual doctor after he takes a look at everything. But first...another hour-long wait in the waiting room. I think it was almost 12:00 before we got called in there. I should mention that I forgot to grab a granola bar for breakfast, so I've had nothing to eat or drink yet. So combining that with the anxiousness of not knowing what the hell was wrong with my eye got to be a little much for me.

I finally get called in, where a doctor I'd never seen before takes a look. She does her thing, sticking the magnifying contraption in my face and looks into my eye and then says, ok, everything looks good, your doctor will be in shortly. Great!

So after a little more waiting, finally my doctor comes in, it's probably about 1:00 by now, we'd been there for about FOUR HOURS. He does his thing, looks at my eye, and also says everything looks good. WTF? So I finally ask him...if everything looks fine why is my eye blurry? He says, well, lets dilate the eye and I'll take a look then. Great! Another 30-40 minutes for my eye to dilate! Yay! Finally after waiting out the next 30-40 minutes in there, he comes back, takes a look..."you've got a cataract".

Great, so now I've got something that usually only 80 year olds deal with. Awesome! But they warned me about it. Cataracts have several causes, obviously old age, but in my case...the week of radiation is what did it. The bad part is, he told me I have to wait til the cataract "ripens" before they typically take care of it. So, basically, what that means to me, is that my vision is gonna have to get worse before they'll do the surgery. The surgery itself is actually the most common surgery in the US. It's outpatient (what isn't these days?) and I'll just have to take it easy for a few days (obviously I will have to eventually plan this surgery during the kickball offseason!). After some research it seems like "waiting" isn't always necessary, so I'm hopefully I can get this overwith sooner, rather than later. Supposedly not only would things get blurrier for my right eye, but it could get sensitive to light. Which would make driving at night a problem. Right now its just slightly blurry, so it's not too bad, just annoying. Let's hope I can get this taken of before all that fun starts!

I go see another one of my doctors on June 1, this is the guy who probably will actually do the surgery. I'll be dragging my roommate (sorry Lauren!) with me to take notes. So, until then...wish me luck!!!!


Kimberly said...

Sheesh! I'm sorry to hear that. I know how much you hate
cat(aract)s! Well, if you have any questions at all that your doctor does not answer, Jake and I are the ones to consult. I can tell you about the anesthesia (there won't be much...just a little sedation), and Jake can give you any technical details about the surgery, because he scrubs in for cataract procedures Mon-Thurs and has been there for probably 1,288,376 of them. I can definitely tell you that it should only take about 8 minutes. Well, that's after you've waited at the office for 2 hours :)

K said...

Holy crap! Your eyeball can't get a brake! I'm sorry to hear what's going on. Thinkin' of ya!