My Journey Through a Detached Retina

Why not? I’ll share my story of my journey through a detached retina.

Here goes.

Back at the beginning of 2020, I began noticing a lot of floaters in my eyes. You know, those brown little fuzzy spots that sometimes look like a bug flitting across your line of vision. You try to swat them away and people look at you like you’ve lost a few french fries from your Happy Meal. I noticed those floaters were especially bad in my left eye. My right eye had some, but not as bad as my left eye. I even had an episode with some pretty trippy flashes of light. So, I got the necessary referrals and went to the eye doctor. They dilated and numbed my eyes and took a lot of pictures and he said, “yep, you have got a lot of floaters. We are going to follow you and make sure that your retina is not detaching. I had to go in every few weeks for an eye appt. But there seemed to be no change – so in the summer, I did my vision screening and got a new prescription for eyeglasses.

Fast forward to November. I began to notice the peripheral of my eye begin to grow darker and darker. By the end of November, I told my sister, while I was driving, that my peripheral vision was black in my left eye. She said, “you should call your eye doctor.” as she held on tightly to the dashboard. I thought that was good advice and on November 30th, I called my eye doctor and they got me in on a same day appointment. I went through the eye dilating and numbing process again, got the pictures taken and they took me back to the exam room. The eye doc walked in and said… bad news, your retina detached.

I am pretty sure I said, “Fudgesicles!” Outloud.

I cried ugly, yellow tears when I found out I needed to have emergency surgery on my eye. I look like I have a weird virus that turns my skin yellow….not Covid!!!

Why did my retina detach? Apparently, I am severely nearsighted, which makes the vitreous goo in my eye really thin and as we age that vitreous gel begins to thin anyways. Since mine was already being stretched thin, it was much easier for my retina to detach.

Once the doc said my retina detached, he said it is now an emergency. Since, if the vision loss spreads to center vision there is not much that can be done. He put a referral in for me to the Retina Consultants of Southern Colorado. They called and said to be there at 8:30 am the very next day. By 3:30 that afternoon, I was heading into surgery for them to put a gas bubble in my eye and to do a vitrectomy.

The waiting was the worst, especially, since I couldn’t eat or drink anything.

Visor and a mask…. I’m in a medical facility. Waiting to be called back.

The surgery wasn’t bad. I had them knock me out. I did not want to be awake. Seeing anything coming towards my eye, would’ve given me a heart attack. Surgery only lasted about one and a half hours from the time they took me back to the time I was ready to go. The recovery was the worst.

In the car on the way home. I’m starving. David bought me chicken noodle soup from Kneaders. So good.
My daughter didn’t believe me when I told her I had a bubble in my eye. But I had proof!

Recovery consists of laying facedown for 4 hours a day… so the gas bubble can put pressure on the retina and help it to reattach. It is absolutely not fun. But I did it.

I had to go back for a follow-up the very next day. I was miserable!

My eye hurts and they want to dilate it and numb it some more. Beginning to hate my eyes being dilated and numbed. I don’t feel so good.
Bright Light hurts my eyes after being dilated and numbed. Look at the cool shades they gave me though.
I had to wear an eye patch every night for one week after surgery… so I wouldn’t rub or bump my eye. Still cant see out of my left eye.

At my follow-up visit the day after surgery, I was given instructions to not travel, wear an eye patch at night, use my antibiotic eye drops and a steroid eye drop, kinda like predisone for the eyes, and that it would take 2 to 3 weeks before the bubble would go away. Uggggh

Face down is no fun.

David found me a massage table at a really good price, on Facebook marketplace. It was a lifesaver to do my facedown positioning. Just wish I had the massage to go along with the table.

After about a week, my eye is beginning to slowly open up. Now, I know how a puppy feels.

ewwww…. is that where they cut into my eye?
This is what it feels like I’m seeing out of my eye with the gas bubble. It feels like I’m looking out a fish bowl. Very cloudy and greenish – like there is a lot of algae.
She’s trying hard to be my seeing eye dog….
After about two weeks… I can open my eye. Still using my steroid eye drops and the bubble is getting smaller, I have about half my vision back in my left eye.
I don’t need this anymore!!!

At exactly, three weeks, the bubble finally dissipated. It was so weird watching it get smaller. It was also very frustrating having something blocking my vision. I have a new found respect for any persons who are sight-impaired. This has taught me to never take any of my senses for granted. They could be taken away quite suddenly. Always, be grateful for your senses of hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste.

I am still getting some really bad migraines. I go back for another follow-up tomorrow and we shall see how I’m doing. One of my worst fears is that the retina will come unattached again. Or that it will happen in the other eye. But, I have to pray and leave it in God’s hands. No matter how much we plan for our future, God always sees differently than we see. That is why my word for the year is Vision. I want to explore the word in its entirety. What happens if we lose our vision? What are the different types of vision? How can we renew our vision?

Before, I end… I just want to thank everybody for all the prayers and get well thoughts. I thank my family for being there to drive me around and keep me motivated and encouraged. A big thank you to my friends who were able to be my seeing eye persons and get me out of the house for awhile. A big, big thank you to Vision Institute, Dr. Anderson, and the staff who were very helpful and kind – and to the staff and the doctors at Retina Consultants of Southern Colorado who assured me that all was going to be okay – and it was!!!

And thank you God – that I still have my vision, most of it, so I can still craft and encourage and inspire others – which I want to do more of next year. So… in a comment below, if you or anyone you know needs a card of encouragement, get well, inspiration, etc. let me know and I will send a handmade card to them.

Be Thou My Vision – O God of my heart.

All is well

Positively, Debbie

2 thoughts on “My Journey Through a Detached Retina

  1. Helen says:

    Wow! What a journey. Some lousy friend I am! I didn’t even know all of this was going on!
    I guess I got a little too busy in my own life.
    Here’s to complete recovery!
    Sending my love and prayers.

    Great blog post, Deb!

    Like

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