Day 1

According to the doctor the surgery was a success. I arrived at the hospital in time. It only took a few minutes for me to get checked in, and about 20 minutes later I was taken to the back. I changed out of my clothes was prepped in one of the examining rooms. I was asked a million questions about my medical history, any allergies and any current ailments. The staff started my connecting me to oxygen, a finger probe, and a blood pressure sleeve. The nurses also started a series of drops in my eyes. I also had to take a couple of pills, which I was told was to check for any allergies to sulfate. The doctor arrived and marked my surgical eye. The anesthesiologist arrive later, and did the same thing. I continued to receive a series of drops about every 10 minutes.

Things were moving along pretty quickly, and I was told that my surgery was being moved up about an hour; I was originally supposed to be the second patient. The anesthesiologist told me that I need to be given two shots behind my eye, but that I was be put asleep for that procedure. A few minutes later I was told that I was getting the anesthetic. I was looking up at the ceiling at the time, trying to feel when it would kick in. It seemed like a few minutes later when I noticed that I couldn’t see out of my left eye. At that point I was getting ready to be taken to the operating room. I didn’t feel a thing. Anesthesia is a trip!

I was taken to the O.R. where the doctor and his intern were present. I thought that my eye had been paralyzed, but it had just been covered. I guess when I was “under” they had propped open my eye and covered it up. I could see a little bit, but since the vision in my uncorrected eye is horrible and I had not active muscles to focus, there wasn’t much to be seen. My other eye was covered with a patch. I could still see light through the bandage or gauze, but nothing else. I could see the doctor poking and prodding at my eye, I received more drops.

A little bit later I could see the doctor place the trephine (a circular cutting device) over my eye. It just looked like I was looking through a small metal tube. He gave it a few twists, then I could see him pull out my old cornea. I saw the new cornea put in place. It seemed cloudier than my old cornea, so I couldn’t really see anything after that point. He started the stitching. After a few stitches were applied, I heard him mention that he was starting the running stitch; this is the one around the perimeter of the cornea. He was explaining to the intern what he was doing and what to look out for with regards to the tightness of the stitches. I also heard them talking about the football game. I’m just glad I didn’t hear him say “now you give it a try…”

The stitching took about 15 minutes, and after the doctor was finished he rinsed out my eye and bandaged it up. I remarked to him about the fact that there was no pain. I just hoped that would continue. I was taken back to an examining room, and my wife and mom stopped back to see me. I was still in no pain. Fantastic.

After about 30 minutes I was released from the hospital and went home. I was able to call and text some friends and family to let me know that the surgery was finished. I was still in very good spirits and experienced no pain, just a little discomfort. I felt something under the bottom of my eye, almost like I had an eyelash in my eye. Other than that, just numbness from the top of head around to my left cheek.

I was able to eat (finally), and my children, parents and in-laws stopped by to check on me. Right after they left I went to sleep… and slept for about 7 hours. I took some preemptive Tylenol before my nap. I only felt a tiny bit of discomfort while I was sleeping, but still no pain. I was expecting the anesthetic to wear off and experience sharp pain, but that hasn’t been the case. I still feel fine, thank God!

I was never able to fall back asleep, so I’ve been up all night watching one-eyed television and typing this blog post. My follow-up appointment is at 9:10 am. This is when I will get the eye shield removed and get the first glimpse from my new eye. I’m excited.

Today has been a great day so far.

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I am a cancer survivor and 2018 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man of the Year Candidate. I reside in Southfield, Michigan with my wife and two kids.

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