The life of an ordinary woman, who'd been given an extraordinary gift. The Gift of Sight. This is my story and my life.

Archive for the ‘medicine’ Category

“Eye” See The Future

Really, I certainly do! No joke. Because where I’m going, everyone (so to speak, metaphorically) “knows” me, but I don’t know most of them. And this will be a trip to remember, I’m sure, in more ways than one.

In July, I’m taking the Amtrak Train with my three kids (alone) across the country from Virginia to Nevada. That’s a three day ride. My husband is flying out on the third day of our train trip and will be pulling in about eight hours after us coming in via the train.

It’s not the trip out that has me kind of already banging my head on a wall. Or the fact that I know for certain that every security person in ALL the casinos I may roam in to will be requesting my ID and asking if I am over 21. Blame that on my Dad’s genes of holding on to youth for way longer than seems conceptually possible.

It is the fact that everyone that knows Dad, knows me, and in turn knows about my having a transplant. And in affect, I will very likely be stared at, asked questions (even of the obscenely stupid kind), and will be having conversation after conversation of how it feels to have “someone else’s eyeball” (insert the eye-roll here).

No, I don’t mind my father updating friends that I know of in the complex. They too are kind of like an extension of his family and of mine. But gee! I’ll be getting “I have heard A LOT about you” from people at his bank, at the grocery stores that he frequents and whatnot. Makes me a bit jittery just thinking about how many strangers “know” me and of my life.

I’m going across the country to “get away from it all” on vacation. To see friends. To see my Dad and let him have time with his grandchildren. To meet up and reunite with cousins I haven’t seen in over twenty years. To take my kids and husband to see all the sights like Lake Tahoe and Virginia City. To have fun.

But I don’t want to have to re-explain myself and feel like a broken record. Especially to the lady at the teller area of the Bank, or the guy behind the store’s Customer Service Counter. Or even to my father’s doctors (if I happen to go to appointments with him while there). I’m there for enjoyment, not to give a live presentation of my biopic.

Yes, I went through a lot. It was a major ordeal. But it’s over with, and I deal with setbacks as they come, then move on. I don’t want to be placed back to square one with my operation when I go home. It’s one thing for me to explain things or answer questions in regards to close friends and my family. But I wish to not deal with strangers. Not when I’m aiming for a good time, filled with basically being left alone about my new “eyeball”. But going home means facing all of this quite potentially. Because my Dad tells his friends (not just in the neighborhood) at the store, and a few at his banking institution about what happenings are going on with me and the kids. And of course, being the proud Grandpa that he is, he shows the latest pictures he gets (as I can get them to him) to everyone he knows. That’s cool. But I’ll be honest. I’m tired of having my entire life laid out to all of Carson City, Minden and Gardnerville.

Does this make me out to be a bitch? Maybe. Am I getting too “closed off” when it comes to my Dad telling about my life, seeing as I DO blog about many things concerning me, my life and even my family? Maybe. Am I over-analyzing? I bet that’s a yes, but with good reason, I feel. But I think for me, it’s a humongous difference in MY telling of MY life and of MY story, than having my father telling every Tom, Deloris and Jim about my life and of my medical issues as they arise.

FaceBook & Donate Life… What A Team!

So, if you are living under a rock, then you don’t know. But if you are among the above-ground walkers, then you most certainly have heard it through Good Morning America, read it on an internet news site or within your newspaper.

Donate Life and FaceBook are teaming up to bring awareness to the need for people to sign up for Organ Donation.

Mark Zuckerberg has set up your timeline to add in your “Life Events” about becoming an Organ Donor, and to explain why you made the decision to do so. In mine, I already had taken the step of placing in it that I am a Corneal Transplant Recipient, posted the date I had received my Gift of Sight, and why I was in need of a new cornea. So, Mark… um, where’s my royalties for giving you this idea (*smug grin*)?

To learn more about this new addition to the timeline, and more as to why the Co-Founder of the largest Social Networking site in the world on the web had added this, CLICK HERE to read the GMA article.

FINALLY!! Something positive, good, and actually “worthy” of being on a Social Networking site, such as FaceBook has arrived. And with this, I am hoping even more so that “20 Million in 2012” won’t only be a slogan and a dream, but become a reality and even push past that goal’s number. Especially with about 113,000 Americans in dire need of organs and tissues. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands more worldwide.

If more people were to take the time to learn of the REAL facts regarding Donation, to listen to those of us that have received an organ, tissue or even skin or other transplant-able parts, and how our lives and quality of our lives are changed, saved and improved, then imagine the possibility of not needing such long waiting lists, so many people DYING as they await their miracles, or losing limbs or eyes due to awaiting for a match to come along.

If you are not signed up as an Organ Donor, please do so. It costs you nothing. It costs your family nothing. But it gives us recipients all the riches in the world with nothing (other than our children and grandchildren) in comparison. And your gift is truly a “gift that keeps on giving” long after you are gone, and you will live on in others. Get educated on the facts, sign up at Donate Life (link above), and then tell your family, your friends, and even your place of worship that you signed up to be a Hero of Hope.

North Carolina Eye Bank

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision” ~ Helen Keller

I cannot say enough about this Eye Bank, or those that work within their building’s walls. Through them, and through their expertise, because of my Donor’s wonderful gift, I have been able to keep my eye, and I can see once again out of that eye with almost-perfect vision.

Please take a few minutes out of your day, and watch this video regarding NC (North Carolina) Eye Bank*, and get a feel for their passion, compassion and their mission. And see a fellow “Corneal Transplant Brother” express his thanks to his Donor’s mother after she tells her heart-wrenching story of donating her daughter’s eyes and what it means to her.

 

If you wish to know more about the process of Eye Donation, or more about the facility, just feel free to use the contact information at the end of the video.

Here is one also for NCEB. Pretty much the same, but more expansive. And more to the story of the mother, her Donor daughter, and her Recipient.

 

“There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark.” ~ Helen Keller

 

*NC (North Carolina) Eye Bank is not paying or otherwise reimbursing the author of this blog post for promotion of ANY kind. This post is of the author’s own thoughts, feelings and views regarding NCEB and it’s mission. The views expressed in this blog post is not necessarily the views expressed or felt of the NCEB its self.

April is… (20 Million in 2012)

It’s that time of year again. That time to get people to register. To learn the REAL facts of donation.

To be one of the twenty million in 2012!

I am. Are you?

I have been a Registered Organ Donor since I turned 18. And in checking that box, I never once had a second thought in doing so.

Today, not only am I a Donor (when the time comes), but I am also a Recipient. Which in and of its self makes my signing up all those years ago even more meaningful. To me, to my family, and to whomever I will help in the future.

Not that I am hoping to die tomorrow, mind you. But I know that when it’s my time, that I in some way or ways, will live on in those that I was able to help save, or at the very least, improve their quality of life.

If it weren’t for my Hero Donor, more than likely, I wouldn’t have an eyeball in my left eye socket today. They not only saved my cornea (the window to the eye that protects the eye from outside harm and maintains a balance of eye fluid), but my entire eye. It was ravaged by a severe infection due to Ocular Rosacea, and it had a perforation (hole), and was leaking eye fluid. I lost 75% of my cornea and about 90% of my eye fluid. To say I was on “borrowed time” is quite possibly an understatement. And I knew (by admission of the Surgeon) that very likely, my eye was going to be removed. Especially if the cornea was showing signs of sudden rejection then and there while I was on the table.

My Cornea was flown in to where I had my surgery, which was performed by Dr. Alan Carlson over at Duke University Medical Center. My Donor had passed away hours before, and was thankfully a Donor, and a match for my needs. And every single day that I look in the mirror, watch my kids play and excel, see the birds and the squirrels in my backyard and do even the most mundane, everyday tasks, I am grateful and thankful. To a stranger that I will never get the pleasure and honor of meeting. And I’m grateful to their family, as well. I can only hope that one day, I can meet those that knew my Donor best and get to learn a bit about the person that gave me my life and it’s quality back. And to thank them for helping to give my children back their mother. Because NO CHILD should have to endure what my three children have had to witness and feel so helpless as to seeing the suffering of a parent in that way.

If you are NOT a Registered Donor of your organs, eyes or tissues, PLEASE, become one today! And yes, you can be specific if you choose to do so, of what you will allow to be donated. It’s a simple process. You can go to your local DMV (Dept. of Motor Vehicles), to Donate Life America, or to LifeNet.  Within those websites, you can learn the TRUE facts about Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation. Once you have read up on the process and have decided that you wish to be one of the TWENTY MILLION IN 2012, then please take a moment and join us. It’s easy, quick and it will help save lives!

Our souls go to Heaven. Not our organs. So please, share them with those that can’t live without them.

Tech Bytes For The Blind/Visually Impared

WOW! Technology has come a very, very long way, indeed!

Read the article (link below). And also watch the video of the man driving the vehicle. (within said article).

BLIND MAN DRIVES TO TACO BELL!

What do you think about this impending possibility?

I say it is a WONDERFUL tool to give to the visually impaired. More independence. More freedom. More “normalcy” like their sighted counterparts.

I’m Keeping An Eye Out! (Pictures)

To mark the upcoming date of two years and five months post-transplant, I decided it was time (and very long overdue) to give a few pictures of how my eye (and overall skin problem) is doing.

Thankfully, at this time (as of posting) my eye is looking good and my skin has actually cleared up a bit more since the shots below were taken (a week or so ago, but no more than 2 weeks ago).

All of my stitches are gone. And I will always have a “mark” near the top of the area of where my hazel color is. It also runs in to the sclera a bit (white part of the eye). The blood vessels are less now then they were at the time of taking the photos, also.

 

Rules Need To Change When It Comes To Getting A Transplant

I don’t care what type of transplant you need. Be it a heart, lungs, liver or even a cornea or tendon. Or any other type of transplant that requires “parts” from another person, living or deceased. We as Recipients have an obligation. To our Donor, their family, and to our fellow man.

To pay it forward.

But, because some people have passed along misguided information, and have made ill assumptions regarding the process of Procurement (“harvesting”, which is no longer a term used within the Transplant Community, of a person’s organs, tissues and eyes), and have instilled fear in those that have not one shred of understanding or experience with the processes of Transplantation, articles, like the one that I will provide a link for down below make getting Donor Registration to increase almost impossible.

It’s best to get it from the horse’s mouth, than from some jerk that has not one ideal notion of what Organ/Tissue/Eye Donation is truly all about, and what all is involved. From procurement to actual transplantation.

A friend of mine that I sometimes converse with, Olan B. (last name omitted to protect his privacy) had posted a link to an article from all places, Wall Street Journal. And what I had read within the piece made me angry, hurt and even a tad bit ill. Why? Because the article was wrought with lies, misconceptions and half-truths regarding Donation and what happens (according to it’s author, DICK TERESI).

Here is the link to the article in question… Please read it for yourself, and then feel free to chime in within my blog post’s COMMENTS section. What You Lose When You Sign That Donor Card

Are you angry? Upset? Do you have your blood pressure shooting up? Mine did too, and I was pretty livid myself.

And it’s because of people like Mr. Teresi, that those awaiting a solid organ, tissue or for a cornea, that people are dying, losing their entire eye or their sight (permanently), lose the ability to walk, or not have a good skin graft to help recover from burns, see such a harsh number of Donor Registry/Registration shortages. Because of the fear and the misconceptions about being a Donor.

Thanks to this man, within the comments, I have noted that there are some who have been registered to be a Donor for several years, only to retract and have their Donor heart removed from their state’s ID or Driver’s License because someone “finally had given them the ‘real’ facts of what happens to us if we donate”. Which in turn, brings the Registered Donor rate down. Then that in turn KILLS more people DAILY that are awaiting a new solid organ, or makes someone lose their SIGHT for good.

If that’s how people feel, then I say that the rules to become a RECIPIENT must change. Here’s MY idea…

I for one do NOT believe in forced registration across the board in regards to “Opt-Out” systems. In other words, you are automatically a registered Donor, who must go in to the DMV or online and check the box to OPT-OUT of being a Donor.

But, I feel that if you can TAKE from another person, no matter what it is that is donated to you, then you sure as hell can GIVE BACK! In other words, if you are NOT a donor, then if the time comes for the need of an organ or tissue, then you MUST sign up to become a Donor yourself, as part of your becoming a Recipient.

If you are ALREADY registered to be a Donor when your time comes to need a solid organ or a tissue, then you have NOTHING to worry about. But you will HAVE TO REMAIN A DONOR.

To get the REAL facts regarding Organ/Tissue/Eye Transplantation, please visit Donate Life America, or visit LifeNet. They have the real information. As does the Eye Bank Association of America.

Because of misconceptions and mis-education, stories like the following would NOT be possible…