Right now, it's laying on the bottom of my eyeball. This has happened before including a couple of times where the lens transplant just shifted and had to be turned back into place. And during the most recent part of this whole experience, I've also had a retinal detachment which had to be repaired.
On Tuesday, the surgeon will do a vitrectomy where the vitreous fluid will be drained from my eye, the detached lens will be taken out and replaced and a new one will be inserted. And this is where the tricky part comes in. This has alll been done before on this eye and it hasn't lasted. Now the doctor will do one of three things to make sure it stays in place.
I'm nervous about this. How much? At least a little, with the needle occasionally shifting to a lot.
Will it work? Will it affect my sight? And, there's all the other expected questions.
This morning, I watched a video of Pastor Ed Dobson from Grand Rapids who has ALS. He talked about how this terrible disease affected his life. He would get caught up in thinking about the future and be totally distracted from the present.
He wrote a Bible verse on an index card and when he got worried, he'd take a time out and repeat it over and over again. The verse, Hebrews 13: 5-6, where God says, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you. The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear."
In a few minutes, I think I will write that verse in my Moleskin notebook which I carry in my hip pocket.
Fear creeps into my thoughts often and I need to drill that verse into my heart.
This experience has made me think more about other people with some kind of disease or illness. In March, during my retina detachment surgery during the time the nurses will filling my eyes with drops and my arms with needles, I prayed for a friend who had breast cancer that is spreading. As they rolled me down the hall to the OR and before the anesthetic took effect I prayed for her.
Tonight my wife and I watched the final round of Amazing Race. It's a program that we are drawn to because of the different locations worldwide with all the on location videos where contestants perform various chores.
It was eight years ago that my son Justin and I submitted an audition tape for the show. It was a last minute thought and we didn't get to first base, but we had fun doing it.
Check out my post from that experience.
We got the call from our son Justin early this evening about the new addition to their family. They picked up "Pretzel" from a special pet adoption day at the Pet Smart where they live in Las Vegas. Their new addition joins Latte their female pit bull, one of the most child dogs you'll ever encounter.
Don Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and other books and a movie-maker, has a great quote about leaders who are afraid to show their weakness. Will you follow somebody who acts perfect and not human. Miller makes great point. It affects all kinds of leaders, including pastors.
This was on his Facebook page which is worth following.
I love watching this video of my son-in-law and grandson work through his basketball bracket choices. He's two-years-old and probably has a basic understanding of the NCAA tournament.
Nevertheless, the two of them took time while sitting on their couch in Bosnia to sitdown and go through each slot on the bracket. My son-in-law presents two choices and my grandson picks one.
The cool thing is that my son-in-law asks his son's opinion on each one. They are having fun and are doing it together. My son-in-law is giving him something more valuable than gold bars. Big time deposits are being made in his account where he knows that he's important to his dad. The fruit of that will continue being harvested year-after-year.
This video gives you a taste of that experience.
It's been a few days more than a week since I had my retina detachment surgery at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak and today was my first major field trip. What did we do? We went to church and then to Culvers for lunch and then home.
Since the surgery, I've been limited to laying on my left side on the couch and while sleeping. I was given the green light to get up for ten minutes out of every hour. On Friday, my ophthalmologist gave me the go-ahead to sit-up, but still sleep on my left slide.
What kept me sane during that time? My wife for sure. She's always encouraging and looking forward, but has the eyes of a cop. She had a sense for whenever I shifted to the wrong position.
My MacBook Pro and my iPad also helped greatly. Some mornings I woke up pretty early and I'd listen to devotions on the Our Daily Bread mobile app. It's a few Bible verses with a story or illustration used to make a point. I was motivated to play each devo several times along with the verses with the goal of seeing what I could take from it.
I would listen to their Bible study discussion called Discover The Word. I listened to each day's programs for the month of February and March. I would usually include a video from their Day of Discovery. What great stuff.
On the secular side, I watched a screencast I subscribe to Screencast Online which provides tons of useful info about the Mac and its software.
I have more ophthalmologist's appointments for this week. I feel like I'm getting better. I hope that my eye verifies that.
That's the short version. I will try to publish more bits and pieces as I walk through this experience.
Anybody who has followed the saga of my right eye on this blog will know the difficulties I've had during the past month where the lense came completely loose from its moorings and fell to the bottom of the eye cavity.
It has been a long month. My wife and I were regulars at my ophthalmologist who I'd see as often as daily and occasionally I'd see somebody with even more specialized credentials.
I went through long bouts of really poor sight and pain where I felt like demons were behind my eye shooting mini spear guns. And all the time I took a variety of eye drops and other eye meds.
Yesterday, my cornea specialist was ready to sign off on me because of progress with my vision and with my pain. I was ready to dance and sign going down the street in our neighborhood. This chapter seemed to be coming to a conclusing.
Then I went to my retina specialst who said I had retinal detachment in my right eye and needed to be taken care off right away as in tomorrow. As I was trying to work my way through the shock, I heard the word air bubble and that they would put one permanently in my troubled eye.
The recovery period can be long and it sounds uncomfortable.
But, my thoughts keep going back to a sermon series that we had at Ada Bible Church on The Resilient Life where lessons from the Bible were studied on how to deal with times in life when you get slapped down. How do you get back up? What do you do with you situation? How can I use it? Can I get back up?
I'm trusting that God has a plan with this and that I will resume my platform here in the near future.
It was snowing hard in our part of the city of Lansing and it was accumulating on the sidewalks. Because of some pretty extensive eye surgery that I had in mid-February, I couldn't use our fairly new snowblower. So, my wife did it, with a minimum of instruction.
After starting it with the electric starter she was off. She cleaned our sidewalk of several inches and also got our neighbors to the north and south. Wow. She had never touched a snowblower before. Sidewalk looked beautiful.
I did stick my head out the door a couple of times to get some pictures.
It's been more than a week since I had a vitrectomy on my right eye. I've gone through short phases where it felt like I could see through both eyes really well. That usually lasted a couple of hours. Then came the pain and loss of vision.
I could feel the squirrels inside my head throwing spears through my right eyeball. The pain was excruciating and non-stop.
My eye doctor has been gracious in seeing me just about everyday while my eye presurre in my right eye has zoomed up. He explained that the layers of my eye were separating and to put them back together, he put a contact lens bandaid. Oh yah, he manually released fluid from my eye two or three times.
He says, it's healing. The "defect" or the area where he made the incision was getting smaller and was creating new cells. It's a waiting game, he said, where I do my eye drops. I've been taking Vicodin prescribed for after the surgery. It has helped.
What else? Gladys' back seized up on her. We've got out all the heating pads and the cold packs, pillows and the super-duper aspirin. She's driving me to the eye doctor today.
She's been a rock through all this. But rocks wilt under a lot of stress. I feel guilty for asking this, but please continue to pray for us. We will make it, but we still need the prayers. What are your prayer requests. Maybe we can swap. Here are some pictures of the past week:
I'd love to see a video of what my son-in-law says when his daughter, my granddaughter gets married. The dad in this video is pretty funny, but he makes a very important point.
There comes a time where there's a guy that will enter your daughter's life who will put a look of happiness on her face that nobody else can including you. It's a look of happiness that comes from that special relationship that comes from finding that right person.
You did that for my daughter. I've seen it. And the time will come for your daughter Gretchen. Watch this video. It will make you laugh and it will strike a chord in dads with daughters.
I started noticing it around supper time tonight that I could read something and not have it go blurry on me within a few seconds. I can read uninterrupted which is not something I've experienced in the past few weeks.
The unveiling of my right eye took place around 8:30 a.m. with my eye looking like I had just been through a big fist fight after a night to drinking hard whiskey. It felt very scratchy and it was hard to keep open. That feeling stayed with me most of the day.
Then after napping on the couch most of the day, I booted up my computer and could read everything. My vision is not perfect, but my doctor said it may improve after the swelling goes down.
He shared with me everything he did in my eye and I'm impressed and thankful. I have an appointment tomorrow and will probably have several more to ensure that it's healing properly.
For the past two weeks my vision has been greatly diminished by the lens in my right eye that was floating loose. In the process, I stopped driving and was careful when walking in public.
Today, I had srugery to correct that. My eye surgeon spent two-and-a-quarter hours draining the vitreous fluid from the eye, fishing the bad lens out of that eye, putting the new one in and then refilling it with saline solution.
I woke up not remembering anything beyond the pre-op section of the hospital and waking the in the recovering room.
The test comes tomorrow when I go back to my doctor to have him remove the patch over my eye. The prayers and best wishes of a lot of people were momentous. More tomorrow.
I am really thankful to meet and get to know my granddaughter Gretchen who was born on the day that I had an eye surgery last November. It was the same eye and almost the same problem. I thank God for seeing her, her brother, my kids, their spouses and, of course my wife.
I love this photo. She has a big smile with style.
Tomorrow morning, Gladys and I go to the hospital for the surgery to have my right eye fixed. The lens in that eye is floating in the vitreous fluid and is non-functional.
When we were at Sam's Club yesterday, it felt like my vision had gotten much worse. It was like living in a movie where things are out of focus as you pass through them. My doctor will drain the fluid out of the eye, fish out the lens, put a special new one in and fill it up with new fluid. This is all outpatient.
The tumor in my brain is non-threatening, according to the doctors. It will be monitored to see if it changes.
What have I learned from all this? Yeah, I've learned a ton about being an informed healthcare consumer. Have I been scared about the possibility of losing my eyesight. I have. However, it looks like I won't be dealing with that issue right now.
One of the things that grabbed my attention during one of my several doctor visits was everything that I've used my eyes to see if my lifetime. I put as many as I could think of on my iPad while sitting in a waiting room. The list is long.
Right now, one that's right at the top of my memory is our recent family vacation in North Carolina where we had plenty of opportunity to use our grandparent muscles. I loved watching Gladys and my grandson do fingerpainting with chocolate pudding. The smile on their faces made an indelible impression that I'll always remember regardless of my eyesight. Here are some pictures of that:
I could feel the results today of a whole lot of people praying for me and my recent problems with my eyesight. I am humbled by all the people from all over who have responded to say they were praying for Gladys and I and the doctors who were trying to figure out what was going on in my head with my eyes.
First, I do have a tumor as some called it and a mass as others have called in on the lining of my brain. It's about six millimeters, but it's not interfering with my vision, according to the doctors today at Michigan State University. I have its name written down in the papers I brought home. It has "men" and "noma" in it.
I was told that I would have to have a MRI to track its growth every six to twelve months. That's the first item.
My vision loss was attributed to a lens transplant in my right eye that came completely loose from its anchor in my eye. It's floating in the vitreous fluid in that eye meaning that my right eye, right now, doesn't have a functional lens.
In the next two weeks, I will be going in for surgery to have the fluid drained from my eye, have the lens replaced and the filled back-up. This dislodging of the lens has happened twice in the last 12 years.
Right now, I'm really tired. I didn't sleep well last night. I looked in so much bright light today for testing purposes that my eyes feel like they've been through a Biblical experience.
I'm drinking a can of Diet Pepsi and pretending it's wine. I praise God for all the concern, the emails, the Facebook notes and the texts. Wow! Thank-you. I'm humbled.
This journey with my vision isn't over with yet, but this chapter is closing and we are getting ready to start a new one.
I share this Matt Redman song--10,000 Reasons--that really captures my heart and where I am in my thinking right now. I also share a couple of pictures of Gladys taken today with my phone.
I do have a bucket list which I'm rearranging. One of the things that I really enjoyed doing our family vacation in North Carolina was spending time with my two-year-old grandson Xavier. He's full of life and he loves to learn.
While there we celebrated two birthdays, my son-in-law Adam turned 32 and my wife Gladys celebrated getting one year older. My son Justin and his wife Lauren got some really fancy cupcakes to celebrate and Xavier got the chocolate one.
I want to do that again with him and maybe his sister if she's eating solid foods then.
How'd I sleep last night? Not great. At 3 a.m., I had a video tape machine playing in my head of everything I've done in my life. It was hard to not think about the future. However, I do know that the next life will be an upgrade. I'm praying that God will help me take it one step at a time.