An EYE OPENING Update… (cheesy title)

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Well…. Hi there, blog-o-sphere!

It’s nearly been a solid 6 months since I wrote something here…. Oops… A LOT has been happening… In a way, I guess I’ve been a little too busy living life to write about it… But today I have some significant news to share, and I want to be able to share it quickly and clearly with all of my friends and family; all of the people I love—both near and far who read this.

Before I launch into that, here’s your mini-update for the last 6 months:

  1. Moved again; this time only about ½ mile, and its lovely to not be alone anymore, although bless the person adapting to my OCD-ness in regard to home organization! 🙂
  2. Started a new job, as a THERAPIST, and am LOVING it!
  3. I work in a public housing development, but seriously, nicest one I’ve ever seen/ been in.
  4. Still singing with a group I love.
  5. Still an irregular jogger who misses her Pilates…
  6. Still adjusting to a slower pace of life than I lived in NOLA, but I love my “new normal” and the awesome things that have happened in the last year that God clearly planned and I could have never imagined. Grateful. 🙂
  7. Cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the first time ever with 3 of my favorite people AND it was all edible- in fact, raved about!
  8. Staying in Chicago for Christmas; going to NOLA for Mardi Gras with the boyfriend & his kiddo, and can’t wait!

Ok… Now that I have that out of the way….

I hope this post doesn’t violate my own “rules”- but I don’t see this as depressing or spreading negativity. It’s just informing & explaining…. All sorts of folks read this- family, friends, and some people that barely know me. Some have known me for years, others for only weeks or months…Some are near and some are far… But I love all of you, and appreciate the love and support I get/ have gotten from you all!

I *think* most of you know I only see out of 1 eye, and I wear a partial fake eye (called a “scleral shell”…. Basically a big, hard, fancy & expensive contact). I have never had 2-eyed vision, but I did not wear a fake eye until I was 13, and I didn’t “all the way” lose my “bad eye” until 2004, when I was a senior in college.

To date, I have had 53 surgeries… and the news of the day is, on January 6th, I’m gonna have #54.

For the past year, I’ve been having some annoying problems with the fake eye…. Nothing painful or earth shattering; just stuff that is annoying, frustrating, and sometimes uncomfortable for me AND stuff that makes it a bit more obvious that “one of these eyes is not like the other”. I had a small, easy surgery in July to more fully open my tear duct which REALLY helped with some of these problems during the day time. However, it’s not a solution. On top of that, over the past year my implant has started to expose itself (sounds racy, right? Hahaha!) and I’ve had more infections than usual.  So, it’s time to do something.

I’ve been waiting on good ‘ol ObamaCare to kick in; as you can imagine, insurance companies don’t exactly run towards clients who have had 50+ surgeries… So that kicks in on January 1st, and I have the first open surgery slot in my doctor’s schedule after that date.

So, what’s happening?

Well, the original implant… yeah, the one being all immodest now (Haha!)… needs to be traded in. We gotta replace it. I had no idea when it initially got put in (it was kind of an emergency type situation) that it would ever need replacing, but as it turns out, this thing has run like a Honda and waaayy out-lived itself… I’ve had it for nearly 10 years.

It will be replaced with a slightly different product… the doctor will decide during the surgery between 2 products. One would last about 10 years, and another (my own tissue) could possibly never need replacing. We trust his decision once he’s in there…

I have known since the summer that this would have to be done sometime in the next two years, and I knew action had to be taken concerning the present problems soon.  Our best guess is 2-3 surgical procedures in the next 12-24 months. So, the question became about SEQUENCING of surgical procedures, what I was willing to compromise on, what I wasn’t, and if I wanted to band-aid the problem or go directly to the source. I went through 6 different eye doctors before finding the one WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE here (thanks, Pauli!), and I still “circle the wagons” with my most trusted people and doctors… most of all, my Dr. D, whom I continue to be so grateful for! I feel good about the decision I came to after lots of careful thought and consideration by many folks.

The old implant is the source of the present problems. The replacing of it is the biggest procedure I need. I have decided to “replace the pipe” rather than tape it up and see how long it gets me. I don’t like surprises, and I don’t like temporary fixes. We will do this, see how everything settles, and then re-evaluate and see what (if anything) needs to be done. Most likely, we are only anticipating a minor lower eyelid surgery after this (which I do every few years… no biggie) and then our goal is no eye drama for a few years.

So, what’s the big deal?

Well, in one way, nothing really… I’m me, the girl with 50+ surgeries, and this is just another one. I got this! 🙂

On the other hand, this one is a little different than my usual, super easy surgeries to fix droopy eyelids… I do NOT have particularly pleasant memories about when I first got the implant in 2004 (not fun, not comfortable), AND I have to spend the night in the hospital… which I hate and probably haven’t done in like 15 years. It’s new. I haven’t had this particular surgery before, and I’m in a different place… that makes me a little scared sometimes. Because the surgery basically re-makes the shape of the socket, I will need to get a new scleral shell (fake eye) made after- the old one will no longer work.

…You can’t make one of these things immediately after. To insure a good fit, you gotta let everything heal and allow the swelling to go down. So, depending on how quickly my body goes back to normal, I will be “eye-less” for 4-6 weeks after. That means out of public courtesy, I will be wearing sunglasses or a patch when out in public, at work, etc…

So, that brings up the issue of me being 100% “eye-outed” in Chicago… While EVERYONE from my childhood and time in NOLA know the intricacies of my eye saga throughout my life, many people in my Chicago circle do not.  Keeping this under wraps will not be an option, and this is a major reason why I decided to write this post. I have NO problem talking with folks about it, but I figured a mass-telling would be an easier place to start from.

I will also miss a week of work, but my new job and colleagues have been AWESOME and so supportive and “no big deal” about it. That was a  HUGE relief!

My krewe in NOLA (family & friends) always did such an awesome job of playing cheerleader and encourager for me, and helping me to keep my head up and my sense of humor going…. I have no doubt about the same thing happening here in Chicago, I feel like I have great support around me here, but it’s just different.  Different can be good; and all the circumstances around this surgery are COMPLETELY different than the situation in 2004.

I am feeling the love from my NOLA krewe  and from my new peeps here in Chicago.  To the very few of you that have known this for a few days, THANK YOU… I needed a little digestion time for it to fully sink in, and the ugly cry may have escaped once or twice! I also wanna thank you for waiting to share this until I felt ready. … You may all speak freely now… Hahaha! 😉

HOWEVER… Some things are constant.

I am still very, very much looking forward to my NOLA trip for Mardi Gras, and I should be all put together again by the time I arrive there….

…and I am very excited for my 3rd EVER EYE SMASHING PARTY when this is over & the new eye gets debuted!

(For those of you who have never attended or heard about, get excited… it’s super fun and silly and not nearly as gruesome as it sounds)

Eye Smashing for my 31st Birthday? Or a pre-mardi gras party if I’m lucky?!? …I’m excited!

I WILL BE READY TO CELEBRATE!

So, that’s the update…. The big day is January 6th….

I appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes. Thanks for always being an awesome and supportive part of my life, near and far!

So, Cheers to all that, best wishes for a very blessed Christmas/ Holiday season, and…

to An (Eye) Smashing New Year!

Love,

TM

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3 responses »

  1. As always, you have a awesome outlook and a great sense of humor about all of this. Hope I’m around to help smash out the old and welcome in the new and improved. Xxoo

  2. You are the best Tara! You are super witty and good hearted. You are gonna come out a champion. You know you have my full support and I’m grateful to be one of your new Chi-town buddies! I owe you a night out!

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