It’s Been a Few Weeks, Not Much New

I haven’t posted an update for about three weeks.  In that time, my vision still sucks and I’m wondering if I made the right choice to have the surgery.  I visited the retina specialist on Tuesday and was told that there isn’t much difference on the macular edema from the last visit about a month ago (and that was only slightly different from earlier this year.)  Seems a bit odd since during my appointment in May, he was able to point out the differences with my OCT scan then and the one earlier this year.  I was also told that I had a bit of swelling in my cornea (cornea edema.)  I don’t recall if that was an issue at my last cornea doc visit, but I’m scheduled to visit him this coming Tuesday (22 June,) so I’ll ask.  At this point, my vision seems to fluctuate between slightly better than before the surgery to worse than before the surgery.

It is so frustrating to me that nothing can be done to get me back to where I was just days after the surgery.  For about 10 days from 18 April, my vision was the best it had been in years.  Seems now like that was a cruel tease.  I’m getting tired of running to the doctors multiple times per month and not making progress.

In other news, Jacob is in Japan with a group of students from Westtown.  The last few days they’ve stayed in Kyoto and taken day trips by rail to other cities and sites (Hiroshima, Miyagima-guchi, Miyagima, Kinkaku-ji.)  Sunday, they move on to Tokyo where they meet their host families and prepare for a week at Tamagawa, Westtown’s sister school in Japan.  The family Jake is staying with has a boy a year or two younger than Jake and seems to live a bit of distance away from the school.  Eliz and I hope Jake can manage the train transfers…

Jane is looking forward to meeting her favorite band All Time Low on Sunday at meet and greet during The Bamboozle Roadshow.  Monday, she heads to softball camp at Villanova for a week.  She is also doing two weeks at an overnight camp at Bryn Mawr College in July and going to the Outer Banks in August with Margaret, Meghan, and Chris.  Did I mention she spent yesterday (Thursday) in New York with her friend Rachel?

Since Eliz and Jane won’t be here on Sunday, I’m planning a day of football…  Well, at least the last two games (Azzurri/All Whites and Brazil/Ivory Coast (sorry Slovakia/Paraguay, I’m not rolling out of bed at 7.30am.)  So, if you want to watch some footie, come on over!

Finally, I’ve lost another pound, which I am trying not to do.  I’m trying to maintain 163 pounds, but have been between 161 and 162 the last couple of days.  I’ve bumped to 1800 calories per day (from 1700) to try not to lose any additional weight.  It’s been tough this week, because we’ve eaten out four times and I’ve had to estimate my calories once and calculate my calories after the fact another time.  By the time I added ’em up, I was short by 200 calories (ate 1600 calories) and it was too late to have anything else if I wanted to go to sleep by 2.00am.  At 161, I’m down 73 pounds since I started on 10 December 2009.

More next week, after my cornea doc appointment.

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A Long Day

It has been a long day.  It started off with a trip to the retina specialist at 8:30 am.  We were a few minutes late, so only had to wait about 10 minutes in the waiting room.  Eliz had a cup of tea from the Senseo (or similar) machine, while I brought my own (my favorite Teavana mix: Queen of Babylon and Rose Garden Rooibos.)  I was called back into the first exam room, where I would (try to) read the eye chart and go over my eye issues.  Kelly asked about any of my eye problems and then noticed we were from Media.  She said she grew up in Wallingford.  When Eliz told her we did as well, she mentioned that she graduated from Strath Haven in 2002.  I told her I graduated from Nether Providence and Eliz from Strath Haven and Kelly asked if I went to school with her mother since I was born in 1954.  I laughed and asked if I looked 55…  I guess if there’s going to be a mistake, that one isn’t bad at all.  She corrected my birth year to 1964 and we moved on to the eye chart.

Again, I was unable to read any of it until I flipped the pinhole cover down.  Like magic, the E appeared.  I then said I know the next line is S and L, but I can’t see it.  She told me I was wrong.  What!?!  It’s not S and L.  Now I had to know.  I moved the pinholes all around until it was as clear as it was going to be for me.  I guessed O for the second letter.  Try again.  D!, I said next.  That was it.  The first letter (don’t ask me why I don’t read them in order) looked like it could be an O, G, or C.  I guessed G in hopes of it being the GD line.  No such luck.  C was my next try and that was it.  Kelly mentioned that this chart is made up mostly of similar letters that repeat often, so my usual deduction that I’ve got a one in 26 chance which increases with every letter doesn’t work.  I’m actually going to have to read them.

Once I was finished with the eye chart, Kelly took us to another waiting room, where Eliz read me the story of the Penn State mascot in a recent addition to ESPN magazine.  Before we could finish, we were called to see the doctor.  Dr. Garg asked me about my issues and mentioned that he had spoken to Dr. Pro about me.  He explained that even though my right eye doesn’t do much he still wanted to check it out.  Since my cornea is really cloudy and I have a pretty mature cataract in it, they would use an ultrasound to have a look.  He also explained a test they’d run on my left eye, to check for changes in the macular pigmentation.  Dye is injected via an IV (that’s iv, not roman numeral for 4) and pictures are taken.  After he mentioned the dye, I remembered that I had this test before.  The images are wicked.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a flash drive on me to get the images.

I went into another exam room to have the ultrasound and then back to the second waiting room to wait on the angiography.  After a 10 minute wait, Tom called me back to have the angiography.  He took a couple of images of my eye before putting the dye in.  The dye made me feel nauseous for about a minute.  Tom took more images and left to give someone an OCT scan (which took him all of five minutes — about 1000x faster than mine took on Monday.)  He then came back into the room I was in to get two more pictures.

I waited in the angiography room for a few minutes until they called me to see the doctor again.  He explained what he thought was going on.  He increased my use of one drop to three times per day and added another drop to try and get the swelling down in the retina and cornea.  He suggested that I wait on having the cataract removed until I see him again in six weeks.

After three hours, we were out of there.  We headed down City Ave to pick up Jane from school.  She called me just before the ultrasound and said she wasn’t feeling well, which I knew when she left for school.  I also knew we’d be right down the street from her and could pick her up after the appointment if she couldn’t last the day at school.

After I spent an hour, or so, at home (at which time I found out my mom had gone into the hospital — more on that below,) we headed over to Viva Salon in Springfield.  They’ve been having a problem with a hydraulic base that was still under warranty.  We swapped out the bad base for the good one that has been in our car since the move and headed to my next eye appointment.

I had scheduled this appointment with John Ruffini, another NPHS alum, to talk to him about the cataract surgery (and before I knew of any retina issues.)  He had a look at my still dilated left eye and we discussed my options and the problems that could arise from taking out the cataract.  He also thought it was best to see how the eye reacts to the increased drops and new drop.  I have put off scheduling the cataract surgery because of moving the business and the fact that it could undo the partial cornea transplant.  My left eye has endured seven operations over the years, with another one imminent.  I’m tired of going through these procedures and the recovery with mediocre success.  The risk/reward factor isn’t great, though I would do anything to preserve any sight I still have.

After leaving John Ruffini’s office, we made a delivery in Holmes and stopped by a salon in Milmont Park to look at a styling chair that needs replacing.  We returned home at about 4:00 pm and had an alarm company tech waiting to convert our system.  It took him about two hours (the whole story will have to wait for another time.)

We were finally able to head to Riddle to visit my mom.  She went to the hospital at around 8:00 am this morning because she was having shortness of breath and chest pains.  The doctor wanted to keep her overnight for observation.  She seems to be okay, though uncomfortable because of the shingles.  We are hoping to pick her up and take her home tomorrow.

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Time to See a Retina Specialist

I received a call from Dr. Pro late this afternoon regarding my OCT scan from Monday.  Before the call, Dr. Pro talked with Dr. Ayers to discuss the scan.  They both agreed that there is swelling in the retina.  Dr. Pro told me that sometimes this occurs when the IOP is low, which mine has been since my trab in 2003.  He didn’t think it would come on all of a sudden from low IOP though.  My IOP has been between five and seven at just about every eye appointment I’ve had since spring or summer 2003 (except for that dramatic increase after the partial cornea transplant when it rose so quickly it made me vomit multiple times on Friday, 5 Dec 2008 — the day after the surgery.)

Dr. Pro recommended a couple of retina specialists at Wills Eye, who also have an office at the Pagoda Building in Bala Cynwyd.  It was too late in the day to get an appointment today, so I’ll call them tomorrow and set something up.  I’d like to get something quickly to stop further decrease in my vision.  I already have an appointment with my local ophthalmologist, John Ruffini, on Friday and will discuss the scan, my options, and the cataract (which was the original reason I made the appointment.)

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