FUCH’s Corneal Dystrophy: Part V – best news in two years!

Jumping cheerleader girl isolated on whiteI underwent a third corneal transplant in my right eye on October, 14th, 2014,and now, three weeks later, I’m in shock. Why you ask? Because I can see!!

If you’ve read previous posts on this subject, you’ll know that I’ve been suffering with setbacks since April 2012 with this eye condition.

Here’s the series of events:

  • December 2011 – diagnosis of FUCHs Corneal Dystrophy in both eyes. Condition is more aggressive in the right eye, current specialist was not open to a corneal transplant until I was totally blind. (At the time, I was using Muro 128 eye drops every hour to clear the fogginess).
  • December 2011 – March 2012 – Continued using Muro every half hour to hour to improve foggy vision.
  • March 2012 – Decided to get a second opinion by Corneal Specialist at Cleveland Clinic Florida. He recommended a partial corneal transplant to improve vision and quality of life. Yippee!!
  • April 26, 2012 – Doctor performed partial corneal transplant (DSEK) on right eye.
  •  April 27th – the graft slid off-center and the doctor reentered it at his office. (Very painful) Prescribed Predisolone eye drops four times a day and Muro 128 eye drops as needed.
  • April 27 – July 2012 – went to doctor’s office every week because of issues with eye pain and vision loss as a result of weaning me off Prednisolone.
  •  July 2012 – Graft failed because my immune system was fighting the foreign cornea. Upgraded my drops to four per day again, but I needed a weekly check because Predisolone can raise eye pressure.
  • October 25, 2012 – Underwent a second corneal transplant due to continuing graft failure and vision loss.
  • October 26, 2012 – Morning after surgery – doctor discovered the graft was once again off-center just like last time but decided to leave it alone believing that it wouldn’t cause a problem.
  • October 2012 – June 2013 – Vision still not clear, various prescribed eye drops did not help. Headaches, depression and anxiety had set in. Afraid to drive. Couldn’t write or use computer for more than a couple of hours per day.
  • Side note - I also have strabismus in my right eye (turned in eye) which was normally corrected by prescription eyeglasses, but of partial blindness in that eye, my eye was turned in all the time.
  • June 2013 – June 2014 – Continued loss of vision, but my corneal specialist left Cleveland Clinic Florida, so I decided to live with my issues until I moved to upstate New York in June.
  • June 2014 – September 2014 – Vision continued to fail. Found Corneal Specialist in Syracuse, NY who explained that my last surgery had not healed, thus, reason my vision was still impaired.
  • October 14, 2014 – Dr. Robert Weisenthal preformed a third partial corneal transplant, same as the other two, but insisted that he could improve my vision.
  • October 15, 2014 – Day after surgery the doctor was happy with the results even though I had no vision in my right eye. He assured me that the vision loss was due to swelling of past surgery. I so wanted to believe him.
  • October 23, 2014 – Encouraging doctor’s visit. My vision had greatly improved. I was cautiously optimistic but waiting for bad news because I’d gone through bad news for two years.
  • November 7, 2014 – Excellent doctor visit. Doctor confirmed that the swelling had totally disappeared. My eye test results were 20/40 vision. Yippee!!! Doctor wrote me a new prescription for eyeglasses (It took the doctor in Florida over a year to give me a new prescription and then it did not correct my vision because of failed surgery).
  • November 8, 2014 – Still stunned with the results of the surgery and expected a much longer recovery period because I thought a one year recovery was the norm. Wrong!

FUCHs sufferers – there really is a light at the end of the tunnel when you find the right surgeon.

FUCHs Corneal Dystrophy: my third transplant – Part IV

Next Tuesday I’m going in for a third corneal transplant for this pesky condition (Read other posts here). This time, my new doctor told me that the corneal hasn’t failed like the other two times, it’s just not pumping the fluid out properly. So once again, I’m blind in one eye and can barely see of the other.

I’m trying, really trying to stay positive about the upcoming surgery which will be a partial corneal transplant, the same surgery I had the other two times. The only difference is, well I’ll quote my new doctor, “I’m a better surgeon,” he says.

Well, thank you, sir, this is exactly what I’m looking for, a better surgeon!

He’s the only game in town, now that I’ve moved back to Central New York, so do your thing Doctor and do it well because I don’t want to do it again.

So keep your fingers crossed, folks, I’ll be in touch.

 

Stop stuffing your feelings and start living!

Fearful business nerd silenced with mouth tapeAre you living as an unpaid actress? Are you afraid to express your feelings?

Me too.

I was taught to be a nice person. My dad’s two favorite phrases were “don’t rock the boat” and “go with the flow”. So I did, throughout my life with relationships, friends, siblings, spouses, coworkers and especially bosses.

I’ve recently discovered through therapy that I began stuffing my feelings when I was a child (like all people from a dysfunctional families). When I was eight years old, my dad found out my mom was having an affair. He told my sisters and me and everybody cried and cried. But instead of leaving my mom, they stayed together for 10 more years. She still cheated and nobody said anything. It was like we were all actors in a bad play.

I was the youngest. My sisters were much older and busy most of the time and my parents were not “mentally there” because of the whole affair thing. I remember writing notes to my sisters and my parents that read, “Do you love me? Check yes or no.” I still makes me sick and embarrassed to think about it.

Throughout my life, I took being nice to record-high level by doing everything possible to make others happy. I thought by doing that aaas making me happy, but it wasn’t. I just continued acting and also became an enabler.

People usually think that an ‘Enabler’ is a parent or spouse of an alcoholic or a drug addict and while, yes, I did enable a couple of relatives with addictions by practically living their lives for them, I enabled my ex-husband and a couple of close friends, too, that were just very negative people.

So, instead of allowing my friends and loved ones to help themselves, I turned somersaults like a court jester trying to make them happy.

If they were happy, I’d be happy. But, guess what, nobody was happy and I eventually became exhausted. Then the migraines, the depression and anxiety took over.

I discovered that my happy, bubbly personality was all an act and I didn’t even know it.

I remember when I finally decided to divorce my husband. My son said, “You never seemed unhappy. You were an awfully good actress.” You’d think that would have given me a clue, but it didn’t.

Do you have a constant, unexplained ache in your head, your back, your stomach or anywhere in your body that a medical professional can’t explain? Guess what? It’s your stuffed emotions.

I blamed my constant headaches and stomach aches on anxiety. It runs in my family, I’d tell people. There is no cure or so I thought.

Stuffing your feelings does cause anxiety, and anger, sadness, happiness, excitement, and many, many health issues.

I had trained my emotions to stay put because if I let them out I might embarrass myself or god forbid hurt somebody else. Instead, I’d walk around acting again without even realizing it.

If you stuff your feelings like I do, try some of these methods to release them:

•    Write an angry letter to a person who has hurt you, but don’t send it. Allowing yourself to explode on the written page is extremely cathartic.

•    Scream, yell, and use curse words in the car or on a walk in the country. People might look at you funny, but who the F*** cares. Get it out!!

•    Be your own best friend. Instead of beating yourself up every time you show your feelings, say to yourself, “Would I treat my best friend this way? Chances are – you wouldn’t.

•    Most important – if somebody hurts you or angers you, tell them upfront. It’s very difficult, but by holding back you’re building up resentment. Eventually, your anger will come out in a negative way or you’ll stuff it down like always.

Stuffing your feelings can make you sick and cause health issues like cancer, heart disease and severe mental illness or dementia.

Stop acting and just be honest with yourself and others.  You’ll be surprised at how much lighter and happier you’ll feel.

If you stuff your feelings and have a remedy or just want to share, please do, I’d love to hear it.

Domestic Violence: how can we stop it?

Couple issues with angry drunk man and scared wifeEver since the video surfaced showing Ray Rice smacking his then Fiancé, now wife and knocking her unconscious, one phrase continues to rattle around in my brain, “Then fiancé, now wife.” My question remains, why did she marry her abuser?

I’ve had a few abused female office mates during the course of my adult life and most recently have a friend with an on-off relationship with a man who insults her when things don’t go his way. He hasn’t hit her, yet, but this 66-year-old, vibrant and beautiful woman accepts him back into her life after he apologizes – every time.

I realize it’s a self-esteem issue in some issues and in other cases it’s normal behavior within a particular family unit or the life-style they lead by marrying high-profile football player.

I know nothing about Mrs. Rice’s background. Have no idea if she grew up poor or wealthy, whether she had an abusive father or whether she clearly loves the man who knocks her out after she spits in his face.

Twenty years ago, I wish I’d known how to convince my female coworker that she deserved better than to be choked within an inch of her life when her husband was angry. I wanted to shake her when she walked into the office the next day wearing an expensive ring that he’d given her as a form of apology.

She did divorce him finally after years of lecturing by me and other friends, but after a year went back to him and announced that he wasn’t like that anymore.

They moved away together and I have no idea what happened to her.

Just the other day, a friend of mine who lives in another state emailed me that the man she began a relationship eight months thinks she’s gained too much weight (20 lbs.) and her belly looks ugly. This is the seventh or eighth time she’s told me of his cruel comments.

On one of their first dates, he invited her to his lake cottage two hours from home. During one of his angry streaks, he threw her out of the house and she drove the two-hour trek on dark, desolate roads back home. She told me that was it with him. But, she took him back after his sincere apology.

Unfortunately, my pleas to dump him by way of emails and phone calls go in one ear and out the other. But, even if I were standing in front of her, she wouldn’t listen. “He’s a sweet as pie since the last episode,” she tells me, “But I’m watching him, keeping him straight.”

I didn’t have a perfect marriage, far from it. Mine was mental abuse, but it can have the same effects as the physical kind only the bruising isn’t visible to the naked eye. It took me 28 years to wake up and admit that his mean jokes were demeaning and hurtful, and his lack of affection was a trait he could learn to change if he really loved me. Denial is an enormous time suck.

In the Rice case, the NFL has been put under a massive amount of pressure to implement harsher domestic violence penalties to players. We all know the abuser doesn’t want to lose everything so he’ll stop smacking his woman around, at least where there’s a camera in the area. That’ll teach ‘em.

But who will teach these women to respect themselves enough to leave a violent relationship or to avoid entering into it the first place? A mother, a friend, a teacher, a counselor?

What can we as older women do to make them understand that deserve better?