Latest on My Eyes

For the last several days, I was thinking about what I was going to write for this blog entry. My eyes weren’t going to be part of the post. One year ago today I started paying attention to what and how much I was eating. Through mid-summer, I lost about 80 pounds. I’ve been in maintenance mode since then, eating about 1800 calories a day. I will create a post dedicated to how I did it and a spreadsheet to track your daily caloric intake. For now, just know that this scale was instrumental in my weight loss. It’s $25 and you get free shipping.

The thoughts on my post changed once I went to see my retina specialist, Dr. Garg. I figured in the last couple of days, there might be a conflict on what to write about because of my appointment, but only if there was anything new with my left eye (the one that sees more than light.) Sure, I’ve noticed my vision getting worse over the past months. It’s been brutally frustrating, but when we left for my appointment I thought I’d get a, “Everything looks okay, I don’t know why you’re having these new troubles…” Today, Dr. Garg noticed three things that are most likely causing the decrease in my vison and only one of them has to do with my retina.

It seems that the only issue with my retina is from folds that developed from my pressure being low for a long period of time following a trabeculectomy (glaucoma surgery) back in 2003. Dr. Garg told me that even though my pressure has been in the “normal” range (for me) over the last five years, the folds will never go away (just like you can never get a piece of paper completely smooth again after it’s been folded.) This will slowly take my vision. Dr. Garg said if that were my only eye issue, it really wouldn’t be too big a deal. The other issues Dr. Garg saw today were both cornea related. One is corneal edema, or swelling of the cornea. The other issue has to do with the transplant I had two years ago. He said there was some cloudiness behind the new (to me, 69 years old to the original owner) endothelia. Dr. Garg stated he thought that happens in about 25% of transplants. I’ll know more when I visit my cornea specialist in about 10 days.

When we left the appointment, I said to Eliz that at least there was something there and I wasn’t imaging it. I was somewhat happy. It seems that the cornea issues can be handled with meds and a “procedure” (which makes me think of City Slickers – “You’ll have surgery, but call it a procedure…”) After we returned home and I thought about it, I realized that for the first time in my life, I can’t keep my vision from getting worse. From the time I was a young boy, I was always told ‘there’s no way to improve your vision, we’re just hoping to maintain it.’ Of course, I had hopes and dreams over the years that something would come along… Now, my vision can’t even be maintained. I hope it’s not a slippery slope.

This post is sponsored by the EatSmart Precision Pro Multifunction Digital Kitchen Scale. It has an extra large LCD readout (which means that I can see it when I’ve got my reading glasses on) and an 11 pound capacity. I’ve used this product since last December to lose weight. I weigh everything in grams, because, to me, it is easier using a whole number. If you want to drop some weight, this is a tool that will certainly help you.

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It’s Not Cuckoo Bananas, But It’s Not Good Either

It has been a busy week, so I haven’t had a chance, until now, to post an update on last Fridays appointment with Dr. Garg, the retina specialist.  Unlike two weeks ago when I went to the glaucoma doc, this appointment was lacking most of the nonsense.  By the end of the appointment, I wasn’t any closer to an answer than I was since late April.

The appointment started with the typical questions from a tech about how my vision was doing, if I was experiencing any pain or discomfort, etc.  Then it was time to read the chart with my left eye.  The E was not a problem.  The next line, C and D, I could see, but if I didn’t remember it I might have said G instead of C.  The next line, which I now know is DHN, I couldn’t see.  With the pinholes, I was able to make out the H.

She moved on to my right eye.  Good news there, I can still tell if a light is off or on if it is a foot or less away from my eye…  Yippee.  She then put, or should I say shot, drops into both eyes.  God only knows how many, but it was sure more than one of each.  One is to numb the eye to get IOP (pressure) readings, while the other was to dilate my eye.  While she was doing this, she left the chart on, so I continued to try to read it.  She then used a hand-held device to get the IOP (Dr. Ayres calls this device a glorified random number generator.)  IOP was nine in the left and mid to upper 20s in the right.  The previous week at my glaucoma appointment, it was eight in the left and 13 in the right using the standard device (the one that you put your chin in, press your head against the bar, and look at the blue light.)

She waited a minute or two and then tried to get another number on the right eye.  Meanwhile, I’m still trying to read the 20/100 line on the chart.  She then said I was cheating by continuing to attempt to read the line.  Eliz didn’t like what she said and asked how I was cheating if I was just trying to read the chart.  While the lady answered Eliz, I had my hand in front of my eye, trying to simulate the pinholes while still trying to read the line.  Hey, if you don’t want me to keep trying, shut the effing thing off!  As we got up to move to the next exam room, I glanced behind the chair where the chart is bounced off of a mirror and saw that the line was DHN.  Now maybe that was cheating.  How would that help me though?  It’s not like I could get a drivers license for reading the 20/100 line.

In the next room, Dr. Garg came in and asked some questions and then had a look.  He then told me that the only thing left to try were injections in the eye.  Before we try that though, he wanted to get another OCT scan to make sure the risk/reward was worth the attempt (actually, attempts, as it would take several injections over the course of a few months for it to work.)

Tom gave me the OCT scan a few minutes later, then we headed to another exam room.  After a minute or two, Dr. Garg came in and had a look at the scan.  He said that it wouldn’t be worth trying the injections as there was only a 15% chance of them helping me see better.  At that point, I said, “Okay, so there isn’t really anything you can do for me?”  “That’s right,” he replied.  He told me I could come back in five months (why?,) or sooner if I was having any other problems.  He did tell me to make sure that I see him, Dr. Ayres, Dr. Pro, or Dr. Ruffini frequently to get IOP readings.  Seems like ‘roids that I take 2x per day in the left eye could cause the pressure to rise.  Maybe it’s time to see Dr. House, Dr. Riviera, or Oscar Goldman…

So while my vision is not cuckoo bananas (a technical term Dr. Garg used at my last appointment in June,) it’s not good either.  So what do I do now?  Some days, my vision is better than others.  Today, for example, it sucked big time (I suppose that is a technical term I picked up somewhere along the way.)  Maybe I’ll see a little better tomorrow.  I’m not holding my breathe (but would if it would help…)

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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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