It’s a new year, and I am starting it off fabulously. I have had time to purge and organize my entire house over the last few weeks (only 10 years overdue!), and it’s making me feel pretty high on life, I must say. What’s better than that, though, is that last week marked three months since my surgery, and I got my independence back; I can see to drive again!
After another round of eye exams, my prescription turned out to be dramatically different than it was six weeks ago. (I tried a fresh contact in my left eye for a few hours a day last week, per the oculoplastic surgeon’s approval, but it was pretty irritating.) The optometrist did not think that I should be trying to wear contacts right now, due to the dryness in my eye/increased risk of infection, so I finally got my updated lenses in my recently-acquired glasses. (It’s free to do that at Costco if it’s under two months between exams, FYI.) I also realized that I don’t have the ability to squint right now in bright light, so in order to comfortably drive, I was going to need prescription sunglasses too. I am now FINALLY armed with two pairs of working glasses that are good enough to guide me safely around town and beyond! The world awaits! (I do still have to manually close my left eye if it starts getting dry while I’m driving, since I can only control it in conjunction with the right eye, but it’s better than nothing. Alternatively, I just take advantage of sitting at stoplights to do a few conscious, slow blinks with both eyes. I still occasionally need drops during the day, but I try not to use the thick drops right before I drive, since they add a little blurry cloud over my view.)
Thinking about how much driving I typically do in my life made me realize once again how grateful I am to all the many friends who went out of their way to deliver me and my kids from our mountain home to my appointments and their schools everyday…for THREE WHOLE MONTHS! My husband pulled double-duty that whole time too. My appreciation for everyone’s support does not end.
I am still glad that I chose to get my gold weight eyelid implant. My eye is much more comfortable throughout the day than it used to be. The 1.4 gram weight was a compromise between a lighter weight that wouldn’t be effective enough, and a heavier weight that would create a more obvious droop when my eye was open. There’s a little bulge where the weight is, but it’s not bad at all. The eyelid does not snap shut like the other, but requires a conscious closing every once in awhile to help spread moisture across the cornea. (It takes-2-3 seconds to fully close.) The weight is most effective with gravity, so when lying down with my eyes closed there’s still a little open slit. I haven’t taped my eye shut at night since I’ve had it, but I do put thick Systane drops in before I go to bed. (I should probably put ointment in sometimes to be extra protective, but it’s annoying to wake up with that much blurriness, especially if I have to drive somewhere first thing.)
In other exciting news, in my newly / fabulously cleaned and organized home workshop I have returned again to making my Rugged Grace jewelry. My eyesight is still a little iffy for detail work, so it takes a bit longer, but I’m pretty happy to be back at it.
I’m not done with the exciting news; I learned that I am getting discharged from physical therapy next week! I’ll still continue with a home exercise plan, but my balance has improved tremendously. I still have very slight coordination issues and weakness in my left leg, and decreased sensation on my right side, so I will have to focus on certain exercises to address that and avoid injury if I plan to run long distances again…which, of course, I do (eventually). By the way, my physical therapist, Nathan Ziemba at Dignity Health/Dominican Rehab in Santa Cruz, was awesome.
I’m STILL not done with the exciting news; though I’ve been enjoying long walks on the beach these past few weeks, I’ve been waiting for the right moment and mood to feel ready to go out for a run. It came today! I ran two slow and beautiful coastal miles with my son, and it felt GLORIOUS. I am taking it slow for sure, but I am SO excited for all the miles ahead…
Healing continues with scars, nerves, face, etc. Here are some current photos to see the progress. General symmetry is somewhat improved in my face, but there is still no muscle function, and therefore still some droop. Because the muscles on the working side are doing all the work they’re getting tighter and starting to pull everything else in that direction. So…I should probably do more preventative massaging than I’m doing. When I look in the mirror I hardly notice much of a difference with the gold weight in my eyelid. The photos seem to emphasize it more. The eyelid scar is not at all noticeable. The bottom lid continues to droop because of the paralysis. The weight adds a little droop over the top of the iris, which I don’t mind, but the saggy skin above the eyelid is what seems to draw the most attention to the asymmetry. I am continuing with 1x/week acupuncture after tapering down from three to two visits per week after the first two months post-op. My ability to detect temperature is starting to return to my right side, and the sensitivity issues have improved somewhat.
So, at the start of this new year and three-month post-op mark, I feel quite fabulous and excited about the opportunities ahead. I have more freedom and flexibility with my ability to drive again and with working solely from home now. I am looking forward to continuing to grow in every area of life, to continue building strength and connection, and to remaining mindful and agile, so that I can make beneficial choices each day. While I am still waiting for the muscle function to return to the left side of my face, life marches on, still always full of love and beauty to be found. My eyes are always open to soak it up (especially my left one! Ha!). Cheers to a new year of adventures of all kinds. I’m grateful. I’m mindful. I’m agile. I’m ready.
(This post needed a theme song. Click here to enjoy.)