Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Taking a Break for the Gift of Sight




As the Christmas approaches, and we begin to think about buying gifts for loved ones, I have to tell you about the ultimate gift I received last November, from someone I do not know and will never meet.  I carry a piece of them forever, however, as this person had agreed to be an organ donor upon death and I am the recipient of one of their corneas, that was transplanted onto my eye early last November



I have been battling an eye condition for many years that was slowly taking away the vision in my right eye.  When I would visit my ophthalmologist, every three months,in New York, I would hear a sharp intake of breath and a sigh as she looked at my eye in her microscope. She did not have to tell me that I was losing my vision.  Not even seeing the large "E" on the eye chart told me that.  I had corneal dystrophy--it was thinning and clouding--and I was prone to eye irritation, infection and corneal abrasions. My New York ophthalmologist told me there was nothing that could be done, but when I moved to the Denver, Colorado area three years ago I was told that a cornea transplant would be the solution to this problem and the group of doctors I was seeing were among the best doctors in the state to do that procedure. My transplant cornea came from the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank, an organization that yearly provides about 2,000 corneas for transplants in both Colorado and Wyoming, and to locales beyond if there is no local recipient on the waiting list. The Lions Clubs have long been active in service to the blind and visually impaired and began providing support for eye banks more than 60 years ago. Today there are over 60 Lions eye banks in nine countries that provided the "Gift of Sight" to thousands of men, women, and children.  If you are looking for an excellent charity to contribute to this holiday season, donate to your local Lions Club or the Lions Club International, to help them continue their work in alleviating blindness.

Thankfully, all went well with my surgery and the transplanted cornea healed. My vision improved to the point where I could actually read the eye chart to the third of forth line--better, but not perfect. It turns out that I had also developed cataracts and glaucoma in both eyes over the years, and both conditions have effected my vision to the point where all clarity and definition had been lost.  These conditions are most often age related--especially cataracts, which is the stiffening and clouding of the inner lens of the eye. Glaucoma is often a hereditary condition, but there are many factors that can cause it, and being over 60, as I am, is one such factor.


To control the glaucoma I've had to use quite a few eye drops the past two years, plus I've had to use a steroid and antibiotic eye drops after my corneal transplant surgery. Keeping all the drops scheduling in line was a task.  I was able to manage them all without difficulty, but unfortunately I developed a severe allergy to one of my glaucoma medication drops that severely irritated both eyes. The other eye drops were not working as well either, and my eye pressure continued to dangerously rise, impairing my vision. This lead to my doctor's decision that I need surgical correction in both eyes.  I'll be doing one eye soon, and a few weeks afterward I will have surgery in the other eye.  Recovery is slightly more complicated than the usual "do not bend or lift objects over 5 pounds for two weeks, or more," that most eye surgery entails. I will also not be able to read, watch TV or use a computer or phone screen for a week to ten days, and it will take longer for me to reach full recovery and healing.

This means that this......


....will probably not be happening in such a grand scale in my home this year! If I am able to decorate it will be on a much smaller scale.  That's OK-- Christmas is much more than decorations, cookie making and Christmas card writing, isn't it?


I have enjoyed Christmases in the past without any decorations in my home when I was traveling. Christmas is really about love of family and welcoming Jesus into our heart again as our Lord and Savior,  The same Christmas Nativity that has graced my home since I was married 41 years ago will be on display again in my home, and that is really all the decorations that I need as a tribute and celebration of His birth.


Hopefully, the "Gift of Sight" will be one of my greatest gifts in the year 2016, after both my surgeries are completed.  I want to have many more years of watching my precious grandchildren grow! They are the best gifts of all!



I'm not sure how long it will take me to be back to blogging fully, but I will try to write a new post as soon as I am able and I'll let you know how my vision is progressing.  I have many photos to share of an amazing trip I recently took to SW Colorado where I saw the magnificent San Juan Mountain ranges and visited the charming towns of Ridgway, Ouray and Telluride. This area of Colorado is called the "Switzerland of America" and it is truly a beautiful part of Colorado.


Look at the view of these mountains that we had from the house where we stayed for Thanksgiving week...


It was really a joy to be in such a beautiful place with my family and it was a wonderful way to help keep my mind off my impending surgeries. 




I have been truly blessed in my life and I am grateful for each and every day. I may not have the best, most perfect eyes, but they have shown me so much beauty throughout my life, and in all my travels. Please say a prayer for me that all will go well, that I will not suffer any complications, and that my vision will improve to the best that it can.




Please click on the highlighted links in this post to learn more about the eye conditions I wrote about, and please make a New Year's resolution to include a visit to an optometrist or ophthalmologist to have an eye check if you have not had one in recent years. 


Thank you my readers for your long and loyal following of my blog.  I fully plan to continue writing Mille Fiori Favoriti as long as I am able, as it has enriched my life in so many ways.  I began this blog in 2007 and it has brought me friendships from around the country and around the world!  To each and every one of you I wish you a beautiful and blessed holiday season and a very Happy and healthy New Year.


I'll "see" you soon!




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41 comments:

ladyfi said...

The gift of sight - so beautiful! I wish you a speedy recovery and recovered sight.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, your good vision is very important. I am happy you had the cornea transplant, that truly is a gift. My hubby has had numerous surgeries for his glaucoma over the years and is doing well. I wish you a complete recovery and the gift of sight for 2016. Take care, we will be here when you are able to post again. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

ellen b. said...

Dear Pat, I'm putting you on my December prayer list. I'm praying that your surgeries will be successful and that your healing will be good. I'll miss you. Blessings as you experience a different Christmas this year...

From the Kitchen said...

All good wishes for a successful surgery and a good recovery. Having your family near you is very good medicine!! Please let us know how you are doing as you can. You will be missed.

Best,
Bonnie

Linda W. said...

I'm glad you are able to have surgery to correct your eyesight. Not being able to fully enjoy one Christmas season is a small price to pay. Hope the procedure goes as planned and I wish you a rapid recovery!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

All the best with your surgeries. I will pray for a full recovery and crystal clear vision for you once it is all 'said and done'! May you find much peace, comfort and joy in this advent season...despite the circumstances. Hugs:)

Grace said...

Oh my goodness I pray and hope you heal quickly and easily. I have had so may eye infections in 2015 but thankfully am healing well so I understand how important it is to heal the correct way. I will keep you in my prayers and look forward to hearing updates. Maybe once in a while a family member can read you everyones well wishes. So many hugs Grace OOOOOOOOOO

Donna said...

I am so glad you found the doctors who have helped you...and that the further gifts of sight are yours again....sending healing prayers and warm thoughts for your full and speedy recovery...we will be here when you return!

Carol Z said...

Dear Pat, I'm praying for a complete recovery for you. My mother had glaucoma and I am diligent about keeping up with my eye doctor. My wishes to you and all of your family. I feel I've gotten to know them all through the years. Hugs and healing wishes!

Debby Ray said...

Hi Pat, I read your post shared by a facebook friend. I am so sorry to hear about theses issues with your eyes but it sounds like you are on the right track with your treatment! So glad you were able to find these new doctors who know how to proceed with treatment. I actually started my blog after my vision was restored...nothing as severe as what you are dealing with...but for over 2 years doctors were unable to get my eye glass prescription right and I actually thought I was going blind. I had undiagnosed early onset cataracts in both eyes that were ready to be removed! Never in my wildest dreams did I think that, Praise God, they were removed and my vision is better now than since I was a little girl! A whole new wold was opened and I just could stop snapping photos. My prayer is that your vision will be restored to perfection! Our God is the Healer! Prayers for you and hoping to hear good news soon!

Michelle said...

Pat, many prayers coming your way. I hope you have a smooth surgery and easy recovery. We will all be here when you return!

Helen said...

Sending healing energy to you from Bend Oregon ... let us know how everything turns out .. I will be thinking about you, Pat. Happy Holidays.

Nellie said...

Oh, Pat! Many, many prayers are coming your direction for successful surgery and easy and speedy recovery! You will definitely be in my thoughts! Sending hugs!

Miss Jean said...

When we moved here we were so impressed with the medical community of this state. They are certainly in the forefront of research and care. I'm so glad you are getting the help you need.

My husband has been ill for a long time. First a stroke in 2005 and now he found out he has lung cancer. Although he can't do a lot of traveling, hiking, etc., he has been able to see so much of this beautiful state through your blog. Thank you so much.

Penny @ The Comforts of Home said...

Sending you best wishes for a successful surgery and quick healing!

The Furry Gnome said...

What a wonderful gift you've had with the transplant! Good luck with your further surgery too. I had two cornea transplants 45 years ago! Amazing what medicine can do.

Barbara said...

Pat, I am so sorry to read this about your eyes. But at the same time, thank you for sharing your experiences with us. We all learn from one another.

Your attitude is wonderful and that will help carry you through so well. Your faith in the Lord is strong and He will bless that.

As for your blogging, at the very least, perhaps you can dictate messages through your family members to your readers so we can be updated on your progress.

For certain, you can count on me to pray for you, your surgeon and the procedures.

I think you and I discovered a few months ago that we both go to Corneal Consultants. My husband and I go to Dr. Karen Repine. We have had Dr. Damiano and Dr. Letko (the latter is no longer w/the practice) over the many years we have been going there. I'm not scheduled to go back until June, but any time I'm in there, I scan the waiting room to see if you might be there. (smile)

I enjoy your blog posts and seeing you on Face Book. Do come back to us as you are able and in the meantime your friends will be praying for your healing.

Barb said...

Dear Pat, I'll be thinking of you, hoping that your surgery is successful and your recuperation is speedy. I know you'll be surrounded by the love of family as you go through this procedure. Hugs to you, my friend.

Sue said...

Sending prayers...and good thoughts for a quick and successful recovery from your surgery...I will miss you on Facebook with all your beautiful pictures of Colorado and of your beautiful grandchildren...You seem to be a very positive person so I am sure you will get through this with flying colors...We will all be thinking of you during this holiday season and will look forward to seeing you again on your Blog and Facebook real soon....Happy Thought and Hugs, Sue

Proud Italian Cook said...

Dear Pat, My wish for you is to have that gift of sight as you wish, my thoughts and prayers will be with you as you recuperate and heal, follow the doctors orders and I just know that 2016 will be a beautiful year for you. You are a strong woman, your faith, family and friends will get you through this. Have a blessed holiday and we will be waiting for your return. A big hug out to you my friend!

My name is Riet said...

Dear Pat. Good luck with surgeries and healing. Wishing you also happy holidays and Hoping to hear soon that you are fine and alright.
Hugs from Riet

diane b said...

I remember not being able to meet you in NYC because you had eye problems and it saddens me to hear that they have continued and worsened over the years. I sincerely hope that the doctors can give you the gift of sight. I wish you all the best and hope there will be no complications and that you will heal as quickly as possible. Looking forward to hear from you in the future.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

All the best to you in your surgery Pat. The Lions Club is amazing in the job they do and have done for many years. My father was an Optometrist and I am very familiar with problems of the eye and treatment. I pray your surgery goes well and you'll see us again very soon. In the meantime, enjoy your Christmas with your family and know we all will be thinking of you.
Sam

Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

Hello Pat! We haven't "met" but I do see your comments occasionally on the Italian blogs I love. I am so sorry to hear about your sight. I am praying for your speedy recovery and you gave me the needed kick in the rear I needed to make an appointment with my ophthalmologist. I do have slight pressure in my eyes ( my mamma had glaucoma) and the doctor likes to keep an eye on it. I'll look forward to reading your comments soon.

Linda Kay said...

Pat, I have a dear friend who has to have shots in her eye often to help her retain some of her sight. She is now driving very little, and using the computer less than before, as the condition worsens. God bless you, and I hope the surgeries are successful. We'll look forward to a complete report on your progress when you get back to blogging.

Betsy Adams said...

Dearest Pat, The "Gift of Sight" will be one of the greatest gifts one can ever receive. I had no idea that you had had so much trouble with your eyesight. Both George and I 'worry' at our ages about our eyesight. His Mom AND Dad had Macular Degeneration ---so he is always worrying about his eyes... We both have cataracts ---so one of these days, we'll have to get that fixed...

Our love and prayers go with you these next several weeks... Please keep us posted when you can...

Much Love and God's Blessings to You and that precious family,
Betsy (and George)

Vee said...

Yes, yes, and yes to those prayer requests. Even though Christmas is so much more than the decorations and food, I hope that your Christmas is merry and bright. Your post is so positive and I know that you are so appreciative of all the beauty you have seen. You are going to see much more! Love to you. Many blessings as you go through these surgeries.

Pat Frank said...

Dear Pat,

I have never taken for granted the vision of sight, as I was born with Amblyopia and never really had vision in one of my eyes. When I developed cataracts in my 40's, I could not wait for surgery! I have often said that it is a medical miracle that a fairly simple surgery to remove cataracts allows us to see once again and appreciate all the glorious colors and wonders of life!

I will be thinking of you as you undergo your eye surgery and wish you all the best. May your surgery be easy and your recovery swift!

All my best to you, Pat!

Janet M said...

I hope that your surgery goes well and that you have a speedy recovery. Best wishes.

podso said...

Pat I'm sorry you are having to have this surgery--but thankful you moved to CO and found your optimistic docs who have been able to do amazing things. I will pray your surgeries go well this month, and hope you are able to enjoy some quiet rest as you recover. May it all go well!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I am sorry for what you are going through too and will keep you in my prayers. I've enjoyed your blog for years now and want to thank you for all the amazing photos you've share of the city and the mountains. There are some people you blog with that you know would be your girlfriend if they lived in the same town...you would be one of my best! Take care of yourself my friend. Happy holidays, Diane

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Dearest Pat - I'm just catching up with blogs after the busy Thanksgiving and being sick myself with a nasty cold, I was very surprised to read about your eye problems. You'd never know it judging by the clarity of the photos you take. I hope the procedures go well and that you are able to recover most of your vision. You're so right about decorations and what's important. This is the year to let everyone else take care of Christmas preparations. I love your creche and it reminds me of my own, which I've had since I was first married in 1970. It will be a blessed holiday for you, surrounded by your loving family, and I will be saying an extra prayer for you as well. All the best to one of the best.

Mary Lee said...

Oh, Pat, I wish you the very, very best. You have shown us so many, many beautiful places through the years through your camera I hope these surgeries sharpen your own lens.

Arlene Delloro said...

Dear Pat, I will say a prayer that your surgeries go well and that you will soon enjoy fully the sights and blessings of your life.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Hi Pat, I'm just catching up on a few blogs while still on a blog break and I'm sorry to read about your eye problems. You will certainly be in my thoughts and prayers for successful surgeries and a swift recovery from both of them. Your blog is one of my favorites and I'm happy to read that you plan to continue. Your photos are amazing and I hope your eyesight improves and you continue capturing those stunning images for many years to come! Take good care of yourself and have a wonderful Christmas with your family!
Hugs, Cheryl

La Petite Gallery said...

I had no idea they could transplant like that. I will say a prayer for you,
Sorry you have to go through this. Sending warm wishes to you and Family. Enjoy this Christmas and let everyone help. Yvonne

Daniela said...

My dearest Pat, I'm sorry for what you've passed through, but I'm glad you've been able to enjoy this Gift, it's such a Blessing to you !
May your Christmas and the end of this year be wonderful, spent together with your dears

With dear love and hugs I'm sending prayers to you
Dany

Bonnie said...

Pat, I hope your surgery goes well. I think you might enjoy time away from tv, computer etc. The news has been so depressing these days.
Rest and heal. Christmas will help the time pass quickly.
Blessings to you and Merry Christmas.

The Gathering Place said...

Pat, good luck with your eye surgery. Modern medicine is so amazing. I look forward to "seeing" more lovely photos in the future. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Sheila said...

I am so glad I woke up at 2:30 am and decided to scroll through some of my favourite bloggers before I try to fall asleep again. I have been so impressed by your amazing blog for years and will look forward tothetimewhen you are fully healed and able to do what you love so much once again. I will be thinking of you Pat and praying for your safe and careful recovery. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Sheila

Gracie said...

One of our dearest friends has the same condition but they have managed to slow down the process because due to other problems he can't have surgery. I'm glad your surgery went well and I'm sure the next will be successfull as well. I had laser surgery for my myopia some years ago on both eyes, two weeks apart, and I know how tiring all the medications can be....I'll keep you in my prayers Pat.