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Cornea graft check up – all of the sutures are out!

Hope has wings - a girl sitting on a cliff with a dove hovering above her

It’s that time again, off for a road trip with one of my gorgeous friends, heading to see my cornea specialist. The original intent for today was to talk about further surgery to provide me with some vision.

Pretty much all year the specialist has been throwing curve balls at me at each appointment....

  • February he said he was ready to take out sutures two months ahead of plan (way exciting!) and then slugged me with the news that he wants to leave some sutures in indefinitely ... meaning that my restrictions will also remain in place indefinitely.

  • April wasn’t too bad, he removed more sutures than planned, a massive 10 sutures that would surely give me the vision I have been praying for!

  • Then May came around and he advised that there hasn’t been a noticeable change in my eye shape so he was going to take out a few more sutures and told me he’d be considering further surgery as the transplant hasn’t worked how we wanted. That appointment really sucked. It unfolded like a movie scene, the specialist advised me of the prognosis and then I sat there dumb-founded while he continued to talk and tried to address my review letter for work. I know there were words coming out of his mouth and I could see his frustration as he tried to talk to me about how I am coping with my vision, pain and work. All I could hear in my mind was ‘there’s no sight, you need more surgery’. Thankfully I had prepared a ‘work day in the life of Nat’ document that I could just hand to him, so he was able to have some intelligible information for the report.

So this time I wanted to be prepared for any side swipes and have a response planned in case I froze again. I prepared for the great outcome ‘Natalie, you won’t need surgery’ and I prepared for ‘ok Natalie I’m booking you in next week, are you ready?’ I even had a list of questions to ask for each scenario, so that I’d leave informed and comfortable with either situation. I spoke with my dad and housemate and we couldn’t really think of any other scenarios so I was quite proud of myself for the preparation.

But in form, the specialist looks at my eye test results and says ‘right, I’m taking out all of the remaining sutures as I want to start with a clean slate when I do surgery later in the year. Once again I sat there and stared at him blankly. I can laugh at it now, the poor doctor handles me so well J. The look on my face must have been hilarious, one of total shock, as the doctor asked if I was ok with him taking them out. Hell yes! Are you kidding me?! This is the greatest moment of my life! This is what I’ve been wanting even more than sight, or as much as sight ... Having my restrictions lifted so that I can get a taste of life again.

The specialist removed the remaining 4 sutures and advised there were a couple of bits that had blended into my tissue so he couldn’t get them out. He explained the next step is to come back in eight weeks and we’ll talk about the surgery. Two or so nights at the Sydney Eye Hospital where he’ll do a ‘nip and tuck’ and aim to restore enough vision so that I can be fitted with glasses and give my amazingly resilient right eye a bit of a break.

I was so excited! Even though this wasn’t the news of sight, this was news of giving me my life back, even just for 10 weeks! I confirmed what I could and couldn’t do and left the appointment determined to make the most of this gracious gift before the next round of surgery and more sutures are added.

So over the next 10 weeks I plan to:

  • Put my face under running water and feel the freshness run over my face

  • If my eyes feel up to it, try some inversions in yoga

  • Go for a swim in the ocean!!

  • Join the gym and go for a swim in the pool at least once a week

  • Participate in a gym group exercise class

  • Party with my friends and get drunk without worrying about someone knocking my eye and it affecting the transplant or sutures

  • Go to a night club and dance the night way

  • Have sex and not worry that the movements we make will harm my cornea transplant. (that was the most awkward question to confirm with the doctor, but equally as important J )

  • And wow – not have to wear my eye guard

These are all beyond amazing things for me! Such little life moments that most people take for granted and just let pass them by. I still can’t lift more than 10kgs, so still no lifting and cuddling my friend’s kids, but soon hopefully I can do that again.

Thank you universe for giving me a break in my recovery journey.

I am at peace with what is...

Miss Nat

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