Over a year post Graft!

15 Jul

Firstly big apologies for the huge amount of time since my last update/blog.  I’ve had a tough year medically (not to do with the transplant) and once my transplant was done and I healed which happened pretty quickly other things took over and I wasnt thinking about my graft – which in a   way in probably a good thing!  I know everyone’s experience is different, but I am very lucky to be able to say looking back a year on the recovery from the op really didn’t take as long as I was expecting it to from some other things I’ve read. 

I am very lucky to be able to say that I have had no rejection episodes.  In the winter I had a horrible cold and bad sinuses which was affecting my eyes (very painful & teary), a trip to eye casualty told me that the graft was fine and it was down to being ill which was a relief – best to get these things checked out though to put your mind at rest.   I am currently not wearing glasses or contact lenses in the left eye as we were waiting for the stitches to come out to fit these.  My operated eye is much less blurry that my KC eye and the different in vision is really noticeable – but by no means is my left eyes vision perfect, but I never expected that. 

I was due to have my stitches removed this week, but I have had to put this back until the new year (stitches can stay in for up to 2 years but normally come out after a year I think).  The reason for this is I am 16 weeks pregnant with a complicated high risk pregnancy and I don’t want any stress of the procedure whilst I am pregnant (I am pretty nervous about having the stitches out and was thinking of having them out under a general anesthetic).  So, until the baby hopefully arrives the stitches will be staying put.  I’ll be going to see Mr Larkin for a check up and to discuss this in the meantime, and hopefully will be fitted with a lenses or glasses to improve sight in the left eye until next year. 

So a year on, I am really pleased that I went ahead with the graft, nothing was as bad as I expected & life has returned to a less blurry normal!  I’ll update again (I promise) after I have my follow-up with Mr Larkin. 

Emma x

2 Months and Nearly 3 Weeks Since the Graft

23 Sep

Just a quick update to let you know that everything has still been going really well.  I haven’t (touch wood!) had any problems with the grafted eye and at a follow-up appointment in August Mr Larkin told me everything is looking exactly as it should be.  I am still putting in the drops every 4 hours & I’m not sure when this will reduce again.  I’ve got a follow up appointment in October.  My eye looks really great, no redness at all now and most people who know I have had a graft can’t tell which eye I had done!  Over two months on and I am back to working as much as I need to on the computer with no problems which is great.

The vision in the eye at my last follow up was not as good as it had been at the previous follow-up – apparently this is normal though as the eye settles and the vision can vary day to day.  This is why they don’t fit contact lenses or glasses before 3 months, which completely makes sense as the vision is changing so much at this stage.  It’s been a bit of a tough year this year for me medically but as far as my transplant has gone things could not have gone more smoothly and for that I’m really grateful.

I’ll update again after the next follow-up.  Take care,

Emma x

Over 11 weeks Post-Graft

7 Aug

I haven’t written for a while as things have been going really well with my eye and so there hasn’t been a lot to say. The sight in my left eye continues to improve – it is amazing that my left eye now sees a lot better than my right eye without a lense. Also the vision itself is so different. With my right eye which has KC I see more of a halo around lights and have little clarity when i look at objects (the edges seem fuzzy), whereas with my left eye everything seems more crisp and I don’t get the haloing around lights. It’s amazing and better than I had expected it to be at this stage. The blood-shot area in my left eye keeps getting better and the red area is getting less and less. my right eye has become a little blood-shot now but I think this is because I am using it a lot as I’m back to spending the days working at home and this involved being on the computer for a lot of the day. I’m driving again (just during the daytime) as my right eye is up to the standard to be able to drive, which means everything has pretty much returned to normal.

I’m so pleased that I decided to write this blog and I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contacted me so far. It’s so good to hear that the blog is helping people around the world who are going to be having a graft or are considering the graft. I wanted to write the blog to give an honest experience and account of a corneal transplant – and although everyone’s different and my experience is only what’s happened to me, my experience of a graft has so far been a very positive on. I know how frightening and nerve wracking the thought of a corneal transplant can be – I was really scared of the unknown and the recovering from the operation. I spent a few months after being told I would need the graft thinking of excuses of why I couldn’t have it done at that time, and wanting to put it off for a while, but doing it has been a really good decision for me. Yes the operation is not the most pleasant experience (but what operation is?!), but this is only short-term when you wake up and may be uncomfortable. The first few days were not the best of my life, but only because I like to be doing things and I couldn’t as I was so tired, and the eye was sore (but nothing too awful). But other than that things have been great and they were never at any point that awful – or should I say as awful as I had imagined over the period leading up to the graft.

Magnus has definitely helped me over the past few weeks (apart from eating my eye drops & knocking me in the grafted eye!) as from the start he has given me a reason to go out for walks, to get out of the house, and when I am feeling a bit fed up, take my mind of things. So, if possible – get a Boxer Puppy!

 I was meant to see Mr Larkin for follow up this Friday but I have moved this to next Thursday (16th) so I will update you on how this goes.

Finally here is a picture of me and my eye today, and to compare below is me 1 day after the op!

3 weeks post-graft – A&E but all ok

25 Jul

It’s 3 weeks since my transplant.  The last week has generally gone really well, apart from one big drama on Friday night….  Rich and I had taken Magnus for a walk by the river, stopping off for a drink with him at the pub on the way home, later on I was watching TV on the sofa and Magnus came up too.  He accidentally hit me in the grafted eye with his paw.  My eye was streaming and painful.  In the end, after a bit of a panick we decided to go to A&E to get checked out.  It was about 11:30pm so the idea of heading to the hospital at this time wasn’t much fun but I was really worried that I had done some damage and also worried about rejection.  I got to the hospital and went to reception, I’d taken in my paperwork from MoorfieldS so they could see when I’d had the graft and all the other info.  Within about 10 minutes I went into triage and then she took me straight through to the a&e ward where they checked my vision – amazingly I could read the 4th line down on the chart, despite the knock to the eye – Wow!  After seeing the nurse, which was kind of funny as she was asking if before my corneal transplant my vision had been good (I then had to explain that the reason for a corneal transplant is because the vision is not good!), I was told to wait on the ward.  I was then seen by a Dr within 20 minutes who gave me anaesthetic drops in the eye and then looked into the eye and said that although I had had a trauma to the eye from Magnus’s paw the cornea hadn’t been damaged – so so relieved.  He gave me 2 lots of painkillers and said I could go but to go back to the eye hospital on Saturday if I still had pain.  We got home at about 1am and went straight to bed, when I woke up on Saturday everything was fine and I want in pain.  This was really really lucky and it has made me much more cautious not to get knocked by Magnus.

1

Other than this everything with my eye is really good.  I have driven as I was told by the specialist that my right eye is good enough to drive with.  I’ve not had any pain in the left eye and the blood-shot area is going down (although it did spread more centrally after being knocked by Magnus).  All is really good though and I am loving the sunshine – I wouldn’t have said this straight after the op when I couldn’t have even had the curtains open!

2 weeks post graft – A Drop Drama!

17 Jul

I can’t believe it’s nearly 2 weeks since the graft!  The weekend was lovely and I felt so so much better than the weekend before.  It’s only when you feel better that you can appreciate it and think how you weren’t feeling great before.  Looking back I was a bit of an emotional wreck the weekend before and was crying for no reason – that was definitely the stress of the op catching up with me, plus a lot of tiredness I think!  This weekend was great though and I managed to have a normal weekend, and went to the pub for lunch on both Saturday and Sunday – things are definitely getting back to normal!  My eye is still a little bloodshot in the corner but other than that its looking good nad  Rich says its less swollen.  I can also by outside now or near to the open windows without glasses on.  On Sunday night I decided to sleep without my eye shield – although Mr Larkin told me last week at follow up I didnt have to wear it anymore I did keep putting it on at night as my eye felt safer with it on as I was worried about knocking it in my sleep.  I’ve slept without it the last 2 nights though and that’s been fine.  I;’ve just realised i never posted a picture of the now un-needed shield so I’ll do that tomorrow as its good to see it – I had imagined it would be much bigger.

Yesterday was all a bit of a drama.  I was in the kitchen when Magnus the puppy came in with my Anti-rejection drugs in his mouth.  He;d managed to swipe them from the table in the living room and had eaten the label and pierced the bottle with his teeth and swallowed the contents.  He was hicupping and had the liquid over his mouth.  I was so panicked, and called the vte straight away.  They got the vet on duty to speak to me but after taking all the details they luckily said he would be ok.  Th problem was then me having no eye drops and at this point being ready for my 2 hourly drop.  I called Mr Larkin’s secreaty but she was out of the office until today, I called Moorfields but they weren’tvery helpful and just said I should call my GP and say I was running out.  I called my local GP in a bit of a panick and they issued me an urgent prescription so everything was luckily fine, but it was a stressful half hour.  The moral of the story is to definitely ask your dr or hospital for a spare bottle of drops incase anything happens to the bottle (And to keep Boxer puppy’s away from the eye drops). 

My eye’s been a little scarcty the last couple of days but I wonder if that’s been due to me doing lots and probably not resting enough!  Today I went into London for a meeting, my eye was fine just a little bit sore when I woke up but it got better as the day went on.  I was fine in the meeting without sunglasses on although I wore them at Oaddington station and on the tube as it was really busy and I was paranoid about being knocked in the eye.  Tomorrow I move to drops every 4 hours instead of every 2 hours which will be nice – Ill keep them locked away from Magnus from now on!

*PS I am writing wihtout any lense in my right eye and I cant seevery well at all so I will spellcheck in the morning, aplogies for any mistakes

8 days post graft

12 Jul

Not much has changed in the last couple of days so apologies for the lack of blog yesterday.  I’ve been at home and yesterday and today I’ve started doing some work from home.  This has been fine but it has meant that my eye has been a bit more sore as I’ve been using the eye more.  It’s hard for me to say when people could go back to work after a graft – everyone is different and its hard for me to gauge as I work for myself from home so i’m not out for a full day and in say an office environment or a physically tiring job.  What I would say is that 8 days on I am not napping during the day any more (as I was post op) and I am able to do some work on the computer but I do feel tired and need rests from the screen.

I’ve received some amazing gifts  – a lovely client that I work for gave me an amazing  Swarovski Eye patch with a cooling pad which has been lovely when I am lying resting on the sofa (and looks very glam!).  Another friend gave me a fab girly CD book which is perfect for listening to and switching off.   I’m very lucky!  I’ll post a picture of the eye patch tomorrow as it is completely fabulous and anyone recovering from a corneal transplant should have one!!

I am still wearing my sunglasses when I go out anywhere that I could potentially get knocked into.  Today dog walk was in the pouring rain and I did feel a little bit of an idiot wearing sunglasses but i am still paranoid about getting hit (especially with all the umbrellas out at the moment!).  Also, even though I don’t have to wear the eye shield at night anymore I’m still wearing it to sleep in – my eye is still sore and sensitive and I just feel safer in my sleep with it on = only because I move around a lot in my sleep!  I’ve also realised that some people just Dont Listen, and never will…I told a lady today that I saw walking that I have had a corneal transplant (hence the glasses), she replied that she too had had laser surgery and wasn’t it great. 

6 days post graft – 1st Follow Up Appointment

9 Jul

What a great day!  I travelled in to London today for my 1st follow up appointment with Mr Larkin.  My eye was feeling good this morning, the soreness from yesterday was gone after a good nights sleep.  The train journey is was fine, although I kept my glasses on as there were a lot of people on the train and a lot of umbrella swinging.  Mum and I had a lovely lunch near Mr Larkin’s office and then went for the appointment at 1:45pm.  And things couldn’t have been better!  Mr Larkin checked the eye, asked me to read the snellen chart – I could just about read the 3rd line down!  Then he put in an anaesthetic drop into my eye and then checked the pressure of the eye (not painful and I didnt feel anything).  He said that things couldn’t be any better and everything was looking just as it should, which is great news and very reassuring!  He also said that I don’t need to use the antibacterial drops anymore (which I was putting in every 4 hours) and to continue with the anti-rejection drops every 2 hours for the next week and then change to every 4 hours for the next 3 weeks.  I’ll see him next on the 10th August.  He also said, to my surprise, that I don’t have to wear the shield at night anymore, I can swim and I can get my eyes wet (amazing news as I can wash my face properly).  I had thought this wouldnt be possible for a while – what I’d read online had suggested that you can’t swim for at least a month and couldnt get your face wet for 2 weeks…but he is the specialist and I guess as I learnt from them telling me not to wear an eye patch, things change and what you read online is not always correct in your situation.

So all in all it was a great day, I’m feeling so positive and pleased that I went ahead with graft.  I was a little tired when I got home so took it easy for a while and then took Magnus for a long walk. A couple of people I see dog walking asked to see my eye and they were really shocked how good it looks – apparently they couldn’t tell I had done anything done.

I also asked about writing a letter of thanks to my donors family and they said that I can definitely do this – I just need to send them the letter and they will send it on to the donors family.  I’ll write this tomorrow – I want to tell them how grateful I am.