Eye Surgery: Episode 6 – “Textbook Case”

Wed, June 15

I have never felt better about being a “typical case” than today! I just got back from my eye doctor’s appointment and she was very pleased! She said I was a “classic case” and that everything is looking really good about my eye. She said it is never good to be an “interesting case” in her world! I’m fine with being typical…even boring! That is the way I like it for my eyes for sure! She confirmed that the drops in the red cap were keeping my pupils dilated and yes, they will eventually go back to normal.

Before they dilated my eyes they checked my vision. My vision today (with the wand with the holes and with my glasses, obviously) was measured at 20/70. Two weeks ago it measured 20/300! Now, I won’t pretend that I know exactly what that means, but it is definitely a big change and I’ve noticed a big improvement over the last 2 weeks in my vision. Like I said the doc was very pleased with both the improvement in my vision and how my eye is healing. She showed me on comparison pictures of my eye before the surgery and today and how the retina is now re-attached. There is a little bit of fluid still there in the center which she said will be absorbed eventually and as that happens my vision will continue to improve.

Because the vision is still changing I cannot yet get a new glasses prescription, which makes sense. She said it could take 6-12 months for the vision to come back and stabilize and we would be chasing it and paying lots of money for glasses that will keep changing.

In terms of instructions, she said I could sleep in any position that I want to and don’t have to worry about position. Yes!!! No more tennis ball taped to the nightshirt! Henry will be happy! She wants me to wait at least a month after surgery to run or swim, but I can gradually begin to get back to my every day activities again – can bend over, lift. Does that mean I can clean, do laundry, and do the dishwasher?! Believe it or not, that makes me happy! I can do “relaxing yoga, but not the crazy sweaty kind for awhile and no headstands.” Okay, so gentle yoga, but no vinyasa for awhile. I haven’t done a headstand in a few years so we are good there!

I asked her about roller coasters and she looked at me a little bit crazy and just shook her head. We are planning to take a trip to Cincinnati for a couple days during our vacation (instead of Hilton Head), so I had to at least ask because Kings Island will probably be on the agenda. I already knew what the answer would be, but I didn’t know it would have a permanence to it. She explained what she tells patients that have had retinal detachments, “no boxing, no roller coasters, no bungee jumping and no diving.” Like forever. Oh, okay. These are small things to give up compared to my vision!! I have not been a fan of roller coasters in the last 5 or so years anyways so that is fine. She said she had to tell a 16-year-old no roller coasters the other day and that was tough for her to do. Yes, that would suck to hear that at that young age. Still, it feels weird to actually have hard limits from a doctor. I have never had long term activity limitations given to me by someone else. Any limits I have had have always been given to me from me. Like, I have never gone sky diving because of being motion sick and just straight up scared. But those things were limitations or fears generated by or from myself not from an outside entity. While I have never wanted to take up boxing, all of a sudden now that I have been told I can’t, I am suddenly intrigued by starting my own fight club. Anyone? Okay, that is not true. The point is, it is a little strange that through my first 47 years of life I have not had any type of limits with food, activity, health, or anything, but now I do, albeit they are obscure things. While I feel myself wanting to resist these limits, at the same time I’m so grateful that my 2 loves – running and yoga are not in that category of “never again things”. Again, it is a good practice to focus on what I CAN do rather that what I CANNOT.

The doc told me that it is okay to try driving again, but that if I feel unsafe to let her know. I’m going to try local driving these next couple days with the plans/hopes that I can hit the highways again on Monday to go back to work! I have not driven in 23 days – since May 23! I have to build up my confidence again!

I see the doc again in a month. I am happy that I have made such progress and feel continually grateful for that and that I am in such good hands.

Wed, June 15 – Day 20 after surgery

Eye Surgery: Episode 5 – Continued Recovery

Day 6 – Wed, June 1

Here I am waiting in the doctor’s office for my second follow-up appointment. We got lots of good news! First and most importantly, the retina was reattached!!!!! Woohoo!!!!! She said my eye continues to look really good as it is healing and my vision in that eye is improving. All good stuff. She wanted me to continue laying on my side at night and keep up the same restrictions between now and my next appointment which was to be in 2 weeks. I was still to wear either glasses or a shield on the eye to protect it and definitely the shield at night. I told her about my concern about rolling over on my back at night by mistake and asked her if she had any tips to avoid it. She gave me a tip that some of her other patients have done and that is taping a tennis ball to your back and that will stop you from rolling over. Perfect!! I made a note that we needed to stop at the pet store to get one before the next night.

Here is my tennis ball creation to keep me from rolling on my back. Who knew that a cheap tennis ball would do the trick! The funny things is the dog thinks it is his and the first night he barked and barked and tried to paw the ball off the shirt!

The doctor wants me to start “using” my left eye more. In other words rather than using the shield try to use my glasses instead. The problem is my glasses are not the same prescription as my contacts so we talked about wearing my contact in my right eye and popping out the lense in the right eye of my glasses. I tried that in the afternoon, but it did not work so well. The eyes are just 2 different and wearing the glasses gave me a headache instantly. So, the other option we tried was to wear a clear guard on my left eye instead.

Zach thinks I look like a cyborg with this one on!

Zach also makes fun of me when I turn my head to talk to someone. Apparently I move it really slow and creepy-like. Hey, it just fits with the cyborg-robot persona, right? Isn’t that what a cyborg is?? I actually have no idea.

The doc said still no driving, but I can walk so I’m hoping to get out a bit soon.

Day 7 – Thurs, June 2

I hit a rough patch tonight, feeling overwhelmed by decisions that need to be made. After talking it through we decided to cancel our trip to Hilton Head scheduled for the end of the month. We just didn’t want to take the risk travel wise (not supposed to do any type of elevation with the bubble) and we just didn’t think I would be able to get a new prescription before the trip. Plus with me not being able to drive, that was an unsettling thing about going 13 hours in the car and being so far away from the doctor. Also, Mike was concerned about me getting motion sick on the way there without being able to see clearly, etc. To his point, I almost got sick the last time we went a couple of years ago and that was with my “normal” eyes! Just too many unknowns and concerns about the trip to feel good about going forward with it. Also, the time was ticking because I wanted to be fair to the woman we were renting the condo from, giving her time to try to resell the week and also for us to perhaps get some of our money back.

Day 8 – Fri, June 3


I had noticed that the bubble had been getting smaller and smaller during the day on Thursday. Well, I woke up on Friday morning and it was totally gone! Yay! One more milestone hit. We decided that this did not change our vacation decision, however, and thankfully the condo owner was very fair and agreed to work with us on refunding the money. I worked on getting my FMLA paperwork into the Clinic for work stuff and learned that the doctor put the date of June 15 (my next appointment) as the date I’m cleared to be out of work until and then she will reassess at that appointment. My mom took me to get some books on CD at the library so I can rest my eyes sometimes during the day. I’m trying to focus on enjoying the things I can do rather than the things I can’t. I’m also trying to be patient and grateful as I continue to heal. Moving forward…

Eye Surgery: Episode 4 – Post-Op Appointment & Recovery Part 1

Sat, May 28

Before we headed out to Cleveland that morning for my first post-op appointment I made myself drink a half cup of black coffee through a straw with an ice cube. I could not wrap my head around food still and I asked Mike to bring a bag with us in the car in case I had to get sick again. It felt like the Clinic was as far away as Mars, but we made our way to the doc’s office with my triangle pillow and my cookies intact. The doc’s assistant could immediately tell that I felt cruddy and proceeded to give me a bucket. Before she started her assessment of my vision she told me just to let her know if I had to vomit. At this point we figured it was a mix of the anesthetic, motion sickness and being hungry that was making me sick. She basically suggested that I needed to try to eat something and just be okay with the possibility of throwing up. That was a different way of looking at it and made me feel a bit better. Thankfully I did not get sick at the doctor’s office. The assistant did a vision check and we determined that I could see better than before my surgery. Yay! Still a long way to go, but progress!

Soon the surgeon came in and she felt sorry that I had been so ill. She asked if I had been given some anti-nausea medicine in recovery and I told her no. She admitted that the first night is the hardest. I guess there is a reason they don’t tell you that upfront! She said she would do two things to make me more comfortable: 1) prescribe some anti-nausea medicine for me, and 2) allow me to sit up while riding in the car. Ahh – yes!

She examined me and said all was looking good so far. She then delivered the best news of all. Seriously, I think I heard angels singing. She said I did not have to stay in the face down position!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could sit up normally during the day and when sleeping I needed to either be on my stomach with my right cheek down on the pillow or totally on my right side. I could not sleep on my left side (surgery side) and absolutely not on my back. She did say that some face down time would help me, but it wasn’t a necessity. These positions would put me at risk for the retina either not reattaching or detaching again. Words cannot express just how happy I was to hear this news. I could have kissed her! I refrained, however, still embarrassed by my anesthesia-induced gushing I remember doing during the surgery. She then explained and demonstrated the eye drop regiment to Mike who was to be in charge of that at home. There were 3 different drops and an ointment that were to be used between 2-4 times a day, respectively. During the day I was to wear either glasses or one of the shields to protect the eye and at night always wear a shield. My limitations were the same – no lifting, no leaning over, no driving, no exercise, etc.

Needless to say our spirits were lifted tremendously on the ride home! I was just so grateful for not having to lay face down. I mean I was prepared to do whatever I needed to do to heal, but SO glad that wasn’t a necessary part of my recovery. The rest of that day I just rested, ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at like 2pm and one taco at night with the fam. I still did not have my appetite back yet and still felt a little off in terms of food. My parents came over that afternoon and it was good to see them. Starting that night, Mike gave me the bed and he slept in the twin bed, with the dog! I slept better that night, but awoke regularly to make sure I wasn’t sleeping in one of the bad positions.

The bubble – I wanted to describe what the bubble looks like to me. Like I mentioned before it is a gas bubble that is to help heal my eye and it will get smaller and smaller and finally disappear in about 3 weeks from the surgery. I can see it…it reminds me of a bubble you would see on a carpenter’s level, except it is dark. Normally it just sits on the bottom of my eye, above my lower eyelash, but moves around as I move my head around. I don’t feel it and it doesn’t really bother me.

The next few days I kept feeling better and better. My appetite was coming back and we started to get into a routine with the drops, etc. I decided to take a selfie pic documenting how the eye looks each day. Sorry if it is gross, but it is my blog after all.

Sun, May 29
Day 3 – Sunday – with clean hair!

Day 3 – Sunday – under the patch

We actually got to church this morning! I was bound and determined to go if at all possible, especially since we had missed the last 2 weeks because of the race and lacrosse. It was good to see people and feel all the support. A few things to note from this day. I realized how awesome it is to have clean hair, thanks to my hubby! I cannot get any water in the eye so we had to do hair washing in the bathtub. I was very aware of my entire neck, like every muscle, being incredibly sore from being in the face down position all day and night on Friday. I lost about 5 pounds since Friday.

Mon, May 30
Day 4 – Monday

My eye continues to feel okay. No pain, exactly, just tender a little bit. I have found myself taking Tylenol like once a day and needing to rest my eyes every now and then. I can feel the stitches in my eye – it feels like a bunch of eye lashes are stuck in there. The doc told me not to rub it so every now and then Mike takes a warm cloth and gently wipes it to get the crud off of the lashes, etc. Hey, just keepin’ it real, guys! We were able to go to the Hudson Memorial Day parade followed by the church picnic which made me happy. My mom was worried that I was trying to do too much (like a mom should), but the strange thing about this is that you are not sick (well, not anymore). You just can’t see, drive, lift, or do any exercise. I pretty much felt useless, but I could sit in a chair and visit with people and that was good for my psyche! Everything is just slower than usual which requires patience for sure! It was a good day.

Tues, May 31
Day 5 – Tuesday

Day 5 – with attitude

For some strange and torturous reason I have continued wearing my Garmin watch after the surgery. It not only tracks my runs, but also my steps. Now, I have been told I can’t do any exercise, but I still continue to wear it and am mocked by it’s “Move” command that it yells every so often as my lack of activity is recorded for all posterity. For many days now I have hit record low numbers of steps on my watch. I’m hoping to get out and take a gentle walk one of these days, but that will come. I just have to be okay with being a little bit of a slug for awhile. This too shall pass. At least that is what they keep telling me.

Follow-up doc appointment tomorrow so that is something to look forward to…

Eye Surgery: Episode 3 – First Night at Home

May 27 – a few hours later

The ride home proved interesting. I got out of the wheel chair in the face down position like a good soldier with my trusty triangle pillow, which I would come to loathe a few short hours later. I moved back and forth between feeling ravenous and nauseous the entire 25 miles home. Rinse, Repeat. You see, I have never been a big fan of anesthetic or maybe it would be more accurate to say it has never been a big fan of me. Either way, we are not friends. I also get motion sickness. Let’s just say it felt like the longest ride ever and I just wanted to get out of a moving vehicle. We got home at about 1:30pm that afternoon and I assumed the “position” on the kitchen table. Zach was out to lunch with grandma and grandpa so I was glad he was having a little bit of fun on his first day of summer break. Hey, last summer on his first day of break he got his braces put on only after his girlfriend broke up with him on the last day of school…via text. This summer was looking up in comparison!

Mike began preparing a lunch for me of open-faced peanut butter crackers and a glass of water with a straw (so I could drink in the position). I consumed exactly one cracker and about 2 sips of water before determining the only way I could get “comfortable” read: not toss my cookies, was laying down. So, off to bed I went. There I stayed, laying in the face down position for what felt like weeks. I found about 2 positions I had to switch on and off from so I could give my neck a break and then my lower back a break, etc. Luckily I didn’t have any pain so I was thankful for that. But I felt wave upon wave of nausea that would not stop. Mike sat with me all day working on his laptop and occasionally tried to get me to eat a cracker or drink some water. At one point I asked Mike to call to find out if we should order the massage chair thing. I was miserable and if we needed to get it anyway, I was ready to do it to get some relief. He called, but they said not to order the chair yet. That at least gave me some hope! Maybe I wouldn’t need to be in this position for the long haul! My body could not get physically comfortable and the nausea was overpowering. The only time I have ever felt that badly was 2 years ago in Hilton Head when we went on a deep sea fishing excursion and I was fraught with nausea for like 4 hours on the open water. I never did get sick in HH and that was probably worse! At one point I asked Mike to call about maybe getting me something for the nausea. He did, but they said as long as I wasn’t in pain or getting really ill, I should be okay at this point. This I have a small problem with, but whatever. I did not have the energy to fight this.

The evening went on and I just kept thinking about getting through one hour at a time. Mike would check on me about every 20 minutes…just when I was about to actually fall asleep. But that was okay. He was making sure I was still maintaining “the position” and was doing okay. At one point, around 8pm, I actually had to use the bathroom and I was relieved because that meant I wasn’t dehydrated. Mike helped me into the room and I remember he said, “wow, it is still like 80 degrees out there.” That was all she wrote, fellas. I quickly asked for the garbage can and proceeded to get sick (finally!!) for a few minutes. For a few glorious moments afterwards I felt 110% better! Then I settled back into the position and prayed two things: (1) that I could just get to sleep until morning to get this night overwith, and (2) that I would not have to stay in this position after tonight and/or if I did, I could at least be done with this nausea!

It was a very long night to say the least. I was doing my best to be comfortable in the position while Mike was next to me snoring (I had earplugs and everything) and the dog was barricaded in the hallway whining all night long (he usually sleeps with us). Looking back now, it sounds quite comical and it would be if not for the sheer hell that it was actually experiencing it!

By some miracle morning finally did arrive and I felt beaten up. And I looked like it too! My left nostril had run all night and my whole face felt swollen. Again, no pain, but I felt hungry and nauseous still. I dreaded another car ride in the position to my follow-up appointment, but that was all that was standing between me and hearing about the next step in my treatment so I put on my big girl panties and got ready to go. Mike gave me a bath and helped me dress, but I didn’t have the energy to deal with trying to wash my hair. I just didn’t care. This was as good as it was going to get for today. I just hoped it would get better!

These pictures were taken after we got home from the doctor that morning.

With the guard

Without the guard

Eye Surgery: Episode 2 – Surgery Day

Fri, May 27

We were up pretty early the day of the surgery as we were told to be there at 8:30am. It takes about 45 minutes or so to get to the Cole Eye Institute in downtown Cleveland depending on traffic. I was in good humor thinking positive and goofing off taking selfies and sending them to friends (see below). I got some nice well wishes that morning and the day before and felt the love! Zach was off of school – first day of summer break. What a bummer for him. I felt badly that this was how his summer was starting out, but I had to let that go and concentrate on me. I was approaching this like a race thinking, “let’s do this!” and “I can do this, I ran a freaking marathon!” The best news of the morning was that although I could not eat anything I did get permission to have a cup of black coffee at 6:30am. Hot damn, I’ll take it! I was worried about combating the caffeine headache later in the day. Little did I know, lack of caffeine would be the least of my worries!

On the way to the hospital the morning of the surgery. Mike said these glasses made me look like Grocho Marks!!

We checked in at the surgery center and then waited for them to call me back. The woman at the check-in, perhaps sensing my anxiety, began telling me (at length) about her experience with retina surgery. She was very kind with good ntentions, but I stopped listening after she told me my eye would look like ground beef for awhile. Cue stomach. I would be called back alone to get prepped and then Mike would join me as I waited to go into the OR. As we waited I struck up a conversation with the lady across from me, wearing the tell-tale bracelet that announced to all that she was having surgery that day too. I said, “what are you in for?” Yeah, I actually said that. She said she drove up from Columbus to have the clinic fix a botched cosmetic eye surgery procedure (she now has droopy eyes). While I felt for her I made a mental note that would be easy for me to remember and to keep. Never have cosmetic surgery, especially on my eyes! Check.

Pretty soon they called my name and I went back with the nurse to get prepped. She asked me standard stuff and then a couple questions which threw me off. As she was taking my blood pressure, she asked me if I felt safe at home. What? I then realized why that question was asked and felt so grateful that I had no hesitation to say a resounding “yes” as a response, but sad that there are women out there who answer differently. The other question that was odd was “do you have anything in your body that you didn’t have when you were born?” Um…no. It was also confirmed during this exchange that I was not pregnant. I had to pee in a cup at check-in. Good to know, especially since I was on my period that day. I know this might be TMI, but I’m sharing this especially for the lady-folk out there. I mean, really?! Of course I had my period for the surgery. Some drama began when the nurse attempted to start my IV. So, I’m a problem child when it comes to needles – not in terms of fainting or anything, but in terms of my veins. I have been told I have rolling veins so I am a difficult stick. Like every single time. But here I was at the Cleveland Clinic! They will have no problem here, right! Wrong. See exhibit A below (pics taken later to document).

Second IV poke

First and third/last IV poke

After 2 unsuccessful tries, the nurse called in the big guns to get the IV started and boom – done. Just a little stressful. At this point they called Mike in to wait with me. I was hooked up to a blood pressure cuff, IV, and sticky things to monitor my heart and we were just waiting. First off, I was freezing. I had worn shorts and flip flops to the hospital which was probably a dumb move, but it was supposed to be crazy hot that day. So the sweet nurses brought me a couple warm blankets and a pair of socks. As we waited there I realized I had to go to the bathroom. Ugh. When you gotta go, you gotta go. The nurse assured me it was no big deal. She just unhooked everything and gave me my IV bag to carry and walked me to the bathroom. I could not see anything, but could manage okay. As I hung up the IV bag on the wall, she pointed out the cords that I could pull if I needed help. All I could think of was now I was that person who might need to pull the cord!!! I’m too young for this s**t! I just wanted to hurry up and take care of business. Of course as soon as I was pulling up my shorts, a doctor come in on me! Yep, I had forgotten to lock the door. Oh brother. But guess who really didn’t care at that point? This girl!

Ready for the OR (probably not supposed to take pics in here, but I made Mike do it – ya know, for the blog)

Soon it was time to go and after Mike gave me a quick kiss I was off! After they introduced the team to me, they wheeled me back and I started breathing some relaxing juice. The general protocol for this procedure is not use a general anesthetic, but just a “twilight mode”. The doctor started commenting on how tan I was asking if I had traveled somewhere. I told her that it was mostly from running and also from watching lacrosse games. She was making some jokes about how she would never get tan while jogging and I was aware of them leaning me way back. I already had my eyes closed and started telling them all about how I just ran the Cleveland 1/2 on May 15 with the crazy weather. Don’t get a runner talking about running, even in the OR!! That is all I remember at that point. The next thing I remember was feeling extremely relaxed and overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the doctors and staff working on me. Me being me, I decided to tell them so I said, “hey you guys, I just gotta tell you. You are all so awesome. No seriously, you are so awesome.” Was I drunk dialing them??!! Then I said, “oh, and hey doctor! I hear you are a John Carroll University grad! My husband looked it up! I work there!” Then, the surgeon responded, “that is great, Lisa. Can we talk about that later?” I responded with a simple, “okay sure”. That is probably when they turned the relaxation juice up a bit thinking, well, she’s a talker!!

The next thing I knew I was aware of a lot of sticky stuff coming off of my face and I think I was trying to help them. According to Mike we were in recovery for maybe 45 minutes or so. As I was coming out of it, the doctor told me that the surgery was successful. She had done the buckle and a small gas bubble, as well. Because of the gas bubble I would need to start my face down position immediately and keep it that way for the rest of the day and night. They gave me a triangle pillow (so you can put your head down while not smashing your nose) and had me practice there in the hospital. They asked me if I felt nauseous at all and I told them no. I actually don’t think I did yet. Big mistake. They scheduled a follow-up appointment with the surgeon at 9am the next day (a Saturday!). They sent us home with a bag of eye drops and instructed us to bring it with us the next day. There was no need to use any overnight. The instructions were to keep face down and keep the bandage on. I was a little anxious about the face down thing, but determined to follow doctor’s orders to the letter.

They put this lovely green bracelet on my left arm and told me I had to keep it on until the bubble dissipated (about 3 weeks). This bracelet instructs anyone about the fact that I have the gas bubble in my eye, if, God forbid, I would be in an accident or need medical assistance.

Jewelry for the next 3 or so weeks

In recovery at the hospital (worked up a smile…for the blog)

That’s enough excitement for one day. Let’s go home…

Eye Surgery: Episode 1 – Pre Surgery

Eye Surgery: Episode 1

So yeah, you read that right: eye surgery. Not “iSurgery” as in the latest Apple product that can help you learn how to perform surgical procedures on yourself. That’s probably coming in 2025. I’m talking surgery – of the eye. Of which most of us have 2 of, if we are lucky. That is what I had to have. The nearsighted, glasses-wearing-since-she-was-8 girl who would never dream of doing Lasik or any other voluntary procedure that involved messing with the eye had to have eye surgery. Crap. In true Lisa form I decided that I must document the experience. This not only helps me to process what I’m feeling, but also it is a cathartic release for me to share it. Plus I just love telling stories. So now, that it is Day 6 post surgery and I’m on the other side of the procedure part of the journey, I thought I would start sharing my experience. Some of this I wrote last week leading up to surgery so I’ll leave it in the past tense. You might not want to eat you lunch while reading!

In order to begin Episode 1 I must put it into context about what else was going on at the time.
Sun, May 15 – Some of you may remember I ran the Cleveland Half Marathon on this day, my birthday. It was a crazy race with weather and had me worried only about rain and thundersnow! I had no worries or concerns about my vision that day.

Mon, May 16 – The following day I was off of work so I renewed my driver’s license that morning with no worries about vision and passed the eye test fine! (*Note: the eye test uses both eyes at the same time).

The following days my eyes bugged me a bit, but I just thought it was my contacts. I had had an eye exam the end of February which resulted in new contact lenses, multifocals, which would take some getting used to. So I figured my eyes were tired or still getting used to the new contacts. I didn’t really notice lack of vision, just that something was off, but I didn’t try the “cover one eye” trick at that point.

Thurs, May 19 – I noticed I had a little trouble doing the check-in table for an event at work. It took me longer to find the names than normal.

Fri, May 20 – I ran 40 minutes at lunch like normal and had a pretty normal day.

Sat, May 21 – I think this was the turning point day. I started noticing my left eye had compromised vision. I did the comparison test and noticed that my left eye was definitely changed from my right, Zach was at Cedar Point all day with Jazz Band and Mike and I went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. I tried to enjoy it, still hoping it was just my contacts, but getting worried that it was something more serious.

Sun, May 22 – We went to Canton all day for a LAX tournament. The eye seemed to be getting worse, but I managed to still walk a couple miles around the fields to get some activity. I think I was in denial and I didn’t want to bring it up around Zach. He was getting ready to go to Washington D.C. the next day for his 8th grade trip and I didn’t want to ruin anything for him. That night after going some googleing about potential eye problems, I decided I could no longer ignore this situation and that I would make an appointment with my eye doc the next day.

Mon, May 23 – We took Z to school at 5am for his trip. I called my eye doc (optometrist) on the way to work and made an appointment for the next day. Driving was very scary! Working at the computer was difficult. I had to keep taking breaks. I looked up the difference between an optometrist and ophthalmologist and realized that the first is not a medical doctor. I decided it made more sense to skip the optometrist and go directly to the MD. I got 3 good recommendations from my insurance (medical this time) and made an appointment with an ophthalmologist for the next day at 1pm. I did manage to run at lunch that day for 40 minutes! When running I actually felt normal and I could navigate the streets just fine. Now driving was another issue. I hoped and prayed I got home okay. That night I came home and went directly to my bed to cry.

Tues, May 24 – (Happy 18th Anniversary!!) – Mike took me to see Dr. Millstein at 1pm at his Clinic-affiliated office right in Twinsburg. He was so nice and we were most impressed with all the people there. Gotta love the Cleveland Clinic. I knew it was going to be bad when they asked me read the chart with just my left eye and I just said “no, I don’t see anything.” I was diagnosed with a detached retina. Yikes! But before he even told me that he started with “well, the good news is that this is a fixable problem.” I really think that helped put me in a positive frame of mind about the whole thing. He explained that he was a cataract surgeon and that he would refer me to a retina specialist downtown. He also explained that I would need surgery and briefly described what the surgery would entail. Not only did he refer me, but he told the nurses to schedule it right then for the next day. I left there thinking the surgery could be the next day. Later that day they called to tell me that the consultation and assessment would be the next day, but not the surgery. It seems silly now, but I was most upset about the news that I would not be able to run (or do any exercise besides walking) for at least a month. That felt like the worst news to get at that point.

Wed, May 25 – I saw the retina specialist, Dr. Rachitskaya (pronounced: rachet-sky-a) (a woman!!!) at the Cole Eye Institute (one of the best in the country) at the Cleveland Clinic at 9am and had more tests to see various pictures of my eye. I liked the doctor immediately. She was professional, thorough and matter-of-fact, but very warm too. She reassured me when I got teary when she was explaining things like surgery itself, possible long term effects, restrictions and that it could be a long journey for recovery. We were there until like 11:30am. Surgery was set for Friday. Here is what we learned about the whole situation: this is not a situation that was trauma or injury induced, but what we learned is that people who have severe nearsightedness (lucky me!) and are middle-aged (wait a minute) are more susceptible to this happening. Plan A (2 hour operation) was to put a “buckle” on the eye to get the retina to reattach and she would determine during the operation if she needs to put plan B (add another hour) into place (a gas bubble) also. Whichever option she chose would determine the recovery instructions and time of recovery. She explained that the recovery for the buckle option is simpler – wear a patch and after about a week usually people feel better. However, the gas bubble option is a little more complicated. Patients who have that usually have to lay face down all day and night for like up to 2 weeks! She gave us paperwork about a massage chair that you can order in order to stay face down. I started to get really anxious then. She was optimistic that I would only need the buckle, but we had to wait and see. The good news was that this was a fixable problem – not sure to what extent my vision would come back, but surgery would help. It is a long recovery process in terms of healing, tweaking new prescriptions – usually a month or more. I’ll be off of work for at least a week. I can’t run or do exercise for at least a month which is what upsets me the most. Mike has been super great about all of this, going with me to all the appointments and being so supportive.

Thurs, May 26 – I was off of work today again in order to get prepared. I was hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst – just in case! So Mike took me to get a few button up shirts at the thrift store so I don’t have to put things on over my head. Would you believe before this I had absolutely none? We also got some dry shampoo just in case. We went to the grocery store to get stocked up on stuff Mike can prepare. If I have to lay face down I won’t be able to do that stuff. I got caught up on laundry today too since I won’t be able to lift anything above 5 pounds for at least 3 weeks. I notified work about the situation as well as family and close friends. I told everyone that I was scared, but hopeful. I was just trying to tie up any details that I could before going into surgery. One of the best blessings of the week was being able to talk on the phone with Darlene, one of my running friends on Facebook. Darlene had experienced a detached retina a couple of years ago and had endured the gas bubble treatment. She calmed my fears and gave me some good tips. Basically it felt good to talk with someone who had been through it before and come out of it even stronger. She still did at least 2 big races that same year following surgery! As it turns out, she is just a rock-star and super sweet person and I’m glad I could get to know her a little bit better in spite of the circumstances.

We went to Chick-fil-a for dinner tonight for “the last supper” as I could not eat after midnight. Beside not being able to run, being dependent on someone (driving, washing myself, anything) is what I hate the most. One thing at a time…

Picture of me sitting outside at Chick-fil-a the night before surgery